Along the coast between Trapani and Marsala lies this evocative landscape of saline (shallow salt pools) and decommissioned mulini (windmills). The salt from these marshes is considered Italy’s finest and has been big business for centuries; today, only a cottage industry remains, providing for Italy's more discerning dinner tables. The best time to visit is summer, when the sun turns the saltpans rosy pink and makes the salt heaps shimmer. In winter, the heaps – covered with tiles and plastic tarpaulins to keep out the rain – are considerably less picturesque.
The most attractive stretches of coast are protected within two wetland preserves: Riserva Naturale Saline di Trapani e Paceco to the north near Trapani, and Riserva Naturale di Stagnone to the south near Marsala. The latter encompasses San Pantaleo island – home to the noted archaeological site of Mozia – and the larger Isola Lunga, which protects the shallow waters of Stagnone lagoon.