The Margherita di Savoia Saltpans sit on a plateau of the Tavoliere delle Puglie overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
The largest saltpans in Italy, and one of the most extensive in the entire Mediterranean basin, it's made up of a vast expanse of still water divided into pools for the production of sea salt.
In times past, this was the site of Lake Salpi. The lake's salt deposits were exploited in the Neolithic period, and later by the Greeks and Romans. Interest in this salt was driven by economic motives, but also by the therapeutic value of the bittern, or “red water,” which was used in spa cures.
Over time, the structure has been updated in line with the development of new salt-extraction techniques. The buildings constructed by Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies in the first half of the 19th century are important examples of industrial archaeology and well worth investigating.
Make sure to visit the Historical Saltpans Museum, housed in an old salt warehouse near a 16th century tower known as the Torre delle Saline.
The local flora, which includes plants like samphire and fleshy cacti, is particularly well suited to the area's high degree of aridity. As for the fauna, this is an ideal habitat for a variety of aquatic birds such as cranes, little egrets, black-crowned night herons, and squacco herons.
To reach The Margherita di Savoia Saltpans, take the highway 159, a road which overlooks the blue Adriatic Sea. The Visitors Centre is at Via Africa Orientale 50, while the fascinating Historical Saltpans Museum is in the town of Margherita di Savoia, at Corso Vittorio Emanuele 99.
The Saltpans Museum, the only one of its kind in central-southern Italy, occupies an old salt warehouse. The collection is divided into four sections and features about 1,000 artefacts of industrial archaeology, including evaporimeters, electrical instruments, and weights. The exhibition continues outdoors, with power generators, railway wagons, and other artefacts.
Open around the clock
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Coatroom, Educational Activities, Groups Reception, Guided Tours, Multimedia Hall, Recreational Offers, Toilet Facilities and Showers
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