It is the most active social nucleus in the fish industry and a holiday and vacation spot for the Palermitans. Its seabed, both rocky and sandy, is home to a large variety of fishes typical of the Tyrrhenian Sea, while Baia del Corallo (Sferracavallo) allows easy excursions of its seabed. It is renowned for its sunsets over the sea and for the typical gastronomy of its restaurants and trattorias, based exclusively on excellent “fresh fish”. In the western zone of Sferracavallo, in correspondence with the beach resorts, there’s a sandy coastal strip, which offers the possibility to those who do not like rocks and to inexperienced swimmers to take a peaceful and relaxing bath.
THE CAPO GALLO NATURAL RESERVE (SFERRACAVALLO)
The Capo Gallo Marine Nature Reserve deserves special attention. The sensation one gets when visiting this enchanted place is that of being on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, despite its proximity to a large urban area such as Palermo.
To visit the Reserve, you can use the Barcarello entrance in Sferracavallo. The first contrasting aspect is represented by the physical landscape: the sheer walls of the promontory of Monte Gallo are in sharp contrast with the flat aspect of the strip closest to the sea, which is characterized by the continuous alternation of coves and inlets where you can take a bath.
The calcareous nature of the rock, smoothed by the action of the waves, returns reflections of a turquoise color that invites the visitor to relax in the shade for a picnic, especially after a sultry day spent in the city between museums and monuments.
At the end of the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve there is also a large meadow close to the sea where you can sunbathe and swim in a unique environment.
The Gulf of Mondello is another seaside location near Sferracavallo. In the inlet of Mondello there is the small tourist port of Punta Celesi, consisting of a small quay (the seabed is sandy with depths from 0.50 to 2.00 m.). The “art nouveau villa” is a symbol of Mondello. Strolling along the streets of Mondello, and in general of the entire Piana del Gallo, one notices a large number of towers with a truncated cone or cylindrical shape, built in shapeless stones.
From Punta Priola onwards, the Addaura begins, whose marina consists of a dock enclosed by a pier and a shore quay; the seabed is sandy with depths from 2 to 3 m. Still on this side there’s the Monte Pellegrino nature reserve, famous for Christian pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia.
ISOLA DELLE FEMMINE AND CAPACI
They are located right in front of Punta Matese in Sferracavallo where you can see the island that gave its name to the homonymous municipality.
The island, which has a large sandy shore, is very popular with underwater fishermen and some bathers, who go there on organized local tours by boat or motorboat from Sferracavallo.
This Nature Reserve is a protected area of European importance due to its marine flora and fauna and its geological characteristics. For example, among its numerous caves (including marine ones), one of the most interesting from a historical point of view is the Impiso cave – or Hangman cave, located on the homonymous Pizzo, in which the remains of hippopotamuses and elephants were discovered.
Among the most beautiful caves we can list Grotta dell’Olio, which opens on the surface of the water, whose seabed is rich in fauna and colorful vegetation and houses the wreck of a Carthaginian ship with a load of amphorae. The ravine receives light from cavities that communicate with the outside. The visit to the cave is completed with the external areas, where a rich cover of algae envelops the boulders between meadows of posidonia. Outside, on the right of the entrance, there are a series of tunnels with rock colored by the red algae and sponges that grow on them.
Proceeding on the wall to the left instead, you come across a huge rock arch with a vault covered with orange madrepore. Those arriving with their own means of transport are advised to leave them in the nearby car park of Punta Barcarello (Sferracavallo), since from that point on the road is closed to traffic.