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MedArtSal: Cervia and Marsala Saltpans towards product diversification

"In Cervia and Trapani we were finally able to see the outcome of the long work carried out within the MedArtSal project. Concrete goals, which start from tradition but at the same time show a way to a sustainable future".  

This is how Francesca Etzi comments on the events presenting the final results. The MEDSEA engineer, together with her colleague Manuela Puddu, followed the coordination of MedArtSal in Italy, Lebanon, Spain and Tunisia together with the other international partners.  

The Cervia saltpans used the project funding for the restoration and creation of nests in favor of the large avian population living in its wetlands and, thanks to the purchase of a special oven, the production and sale of a very refined smoked salt.  

In Marsala, the subgrant was instead used to restore the traditional embankments that separate the Ettore & Infersa salt pans from the sea. The engineering techniques are based on a circular economy approach and on ancient construction traditions, in particular the use of local tuff blocks. The project was also able to recover the existing blocks and complete the route with around 5,000 new ones. The embankment section was enlarged with material recovered from cleaning the bottom of the tanks, making the embankment passable by electric vehicles. The restoration of the walkway will become a route accessible to tourists from April to October. 

The events in Cervia and Trapani, held in September, were accompanied by workshops in which the main theme was that of diversification. In fact, both during the preparatory phase of the project and in the more markedly implementation phase, it emerged that the fate of the Mediterranean salt pans can no longer be based solely on harvesting. While the Cervia workshop, thanks to various experts, explained the numerous applications of salt in the gastronomic sectors (with a focus on the relation between saltpans and schools), the one in Trapani explored the link between saltpans, the environment, health and tourism, a synergy that could lead to excellent results both in the protection of natural resources and in the economic prosperity of companies. 

Antonio d'Ali Staiti, project manager for the Ettore & Infersa salt pans explains: "The sea saltpans, and the medium-small ones in particular, must be able to combine the salt production, essential to their essence and environmental integrity, with diversification of their proposal in an eco-tourism, health and gastronomic key. MedArtSal was instrumental in restoring the embankments. Not only have we completed a long-contemplated project, but we have done it according to traditional principles, entirely sustainable, and using local workers for the implementation". 

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