Recently become a nature reserve, Punta Bianca is a dazzling white spur of rock, lapped by crystal clear waters and surrounded by sandy coves. Describing the extraordinary beauty of Punta Bianca is not easy: you have to experience it by immersing yourself with all five senses in the magic of this incredible white marl cliff and its extraordinary natural habitat. In fact, the Reserve embraces a vast hilly and marine area, that is beyond Punta Bianca, including Montegrande and Scoglio Patella, protecting so an large ecosystem of 437 hectares that extends between the territory of Agrigento and Palma di Montechiaro. Punta Bianca is known for its pristine beaches, the turquoise sea, its white cliff which, although smaller, is very reminiscent of the Scala dei Turchi. But there is more: Punta Bianca is located in the center of a naturalistic, landscape and archaeological area of extraordinary importance.
The particular vegetation, consistent with the morphology and climate of the area, is mostly made up of shrubs, hedges and low trees including the dwarf palm, the Lentisk, the Euphorbia dendroides, the Ferula and other flora typical of the Mediterranean scrub. However, the presence of some plants of great biological and naturalistic interest, such as Lavatera agrigentina, Iberis semperflorens, Limonium narbonense, Echium arenarium and Iris juncea, make Punta Bianca one of the most biodiverse nature reserves in Sicily.
The birdlife of the Punta Bianca Reserve is also fascinating and varied, where numerous birds such as the lesser kestrel, the kestrel, the rock partridge, the great tit, the barn owl and the colorful European marine jay find shelter and nest. Punta Bianca is also a stopping point for many migratory birds, so birdwatchers can observe many other species including the Red Heron, the Grebe, the Shearwater, the Mallard, the Knight of Italy.
The Punta Bianca – Montegrande Reserve is also of particular importance from an archaeological point of view. In some areas of the Reserve various sites have been brought to light including a Neolithic hut village and a castellucciano sanctuary (2nd millennium BC) linked to ritual activities related to the extraction and processing of sulfur. Closely connected to the sanctuary appears, in fact, the area of the furnaces with canals dating back to the Bronze Age, dug into the rock and used for the fusion of the sulfur that was extracted in the same place and marketed during Mycenaean era. The various finds recovered during the excavations are exhibited in room 12. “Paolo Orsi” of the Archaeological Museum of Agrigento. Montegrande is probably the first “sacred industry” in the history of the Mediterranean: a sulfur deposit so large and rich that it made this area a commercial hub of primary importance in the Mediterranean from the dawn of time to the last decades of the nineteenth century.
About 5 miles from Punta Bianca, at a depth of about 19 meters, is the wreck of the Almerian, a steamship that in 1918 was carrying a cargo of sulfur bound for Liverpool and sunk by a German submarine. The wreck of this ship and a bunker from the Second World War continue to testify to the great economic and strategic value of this place even in recent times.
The view that Montegrande offers leaves you breathless: the gaze embraces, on one side, San Leone, Agrigento with its Valley of the Temples, Punta Grande and Capo Rossello. On the other side, on the coastal landscape made up of promontories and splendid inlets, you can see the superb Castle of Palma Montechiaro. A fortress built in 1358 by Federico III Chiaramonte and then belonged to the noble ancestors of the writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the famous novel “Il Gattopardo”. The white marl hill and the ancient barracks of Finance or “Casa della Dogana”, now undergoing restoration, are the elements that characterize the landscape of the Reserve. A landscape so unique and enchanting that it was chosen by some famous people from the world of entertainment as an evocative setting for video clips and photo shoots.
Punta Bianca is about 12 km from San Leone, marina of Agrigento.
It is advisable to avoid visits to the Reserve on rainy days or in the days following the rain: the roads leading to the Nature Reserve are partly unpaved and in some places become very muddy.
The place is currently accessible without limitations of days and times as the bureaucratic process is being completed which will lead to the formal establishment of the Nature Reserve.
Riserva Naturale di Punta Bianca: free access
Riserva Naturale di Punta Bianca – Monte Grande, 92100 Agrigento
The coordinates below identify the recommended area in which to leave the vehicle to continue on foot: the Point of Interest is just a few minutes away.
N 37° 11' 41.6''
E 13° 39' 49.05''
37.194888 , 13.663623
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