Laguna dei Fenici rooms and breakfast

The Stagnone

Created in 1984, the Natural Reserve of the Stagnone Islands stretches from Cape San Teodoro to Cape Lilibeo and includes the isles of Motya, Santa Maria, the Schola (School), so called because of the school of Rethorics it is believed to have housed in Roman times, and the Isola Grande (Great Island), better known as Isola Lunga (Long Island), which separates the lagoon from the Mediterranean Sea.

The lagoon of the Stagnone has very shallow waters, from a few centimetres to a maximum depth of 3 meters. Therefore, the high temperature of the water allows the proliferation of particular animal species: anemones, murex, used by the Phoenicians to make the famous red dye they exported throughout the Mediterranean, and the Posidonia Oceanica (known as Neptune Grass), a plant that only grows in totally clean waters and that houses a variety of animal and vegetal species.

Numerous species of migratory birds find repose along the shores of the lagoon already in July, but it is with the beginning of the autumn that the lagoon is taken over by flocks of ducks, teals, baldicots, garganeys, etc. It is also possible to admire beautiful flamingos, regal Herons, Cormorans, Kingfishers and even Ospreys skilfully diving into the sea.

Until a few decades ago it was possible to walk the so-called Phoenician Road, a thin stretch of land which connected the island of Motya to the mainland. In recent times, however, the road has been submerged, due to changes in the tidal patterns. Motya is nevertheless easily accessible by boat in just a few minutes and a regular service connects it to the mainland.


Numerous archaeological digs on the island of Motya have revealed the remains of the Phoenician city once built on it. The best artefacts unearthed during the excavations are preserved in the Whitaker Museum, also on the island. Among these is the statue known as the “Motya Youth”, an exquisitely detailed, life-size statue of a young athlete discovered in 1979. It has been debated whether the Greek marble sculpture, made in the V century B.C., represents an athlete, a charioteer or a divinity, nor it has been so far explained why a Greek artwork has re-emerged in a Phoenician province. The most likely explanation is that the Greeks too inhabited the island of Motya, a theory supported by the presence of the statue and the House of the Mosaics.

A stroll along the coast of the Stagnone will bring you to another picturesque sight: with their multi-coloured tanks, the ancient windmills and the blinding white mounds of salt, the sea-salt mines create a remarkably suggestive scenario.

The shallow waters and the steady winds that characterize the lagoon make it an ideal spot for water sports such as wind and kite-surfing. Numerous schools organize courses for amateurs and experts alike, and can also provide the equipment if necessary.

Few things can compare to the experience of going out for a ride or for a paddle around the Stagnone at sunset, taking in the sight and admiring the wildlife without disturbing this enchanting tranquillity.

Laguna dei Fenici Rooms and Breakfast - C.da Birgi Vecchi n. 116/117 Marsala - Tel. (+39)339-7277136 /(+39)320-9740609 - Email
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