Conti Vecchi Saltworks
Zona industriale Macchiareddu-Grogastu
+39 070 247032
From Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30am-1:30pm / 4:30pm-8:30pm.
Open on August 15th.
Closed on December 24th, 25th, 26th and on January 1st.
The tour lasts two hours and includes a free tour into the historical buildings (approximately 1 hour), and a guided tour by train (1 hour). Advance reservation is recommended and can be made by visitng the offical website at www.fondoambiente.it/luoghi/saline-conti-vecchi/visita.
A nature's gem within a still-operational plant
Sardinia's most long-established saltworks stretches across the 2700 hectares of the Santa Gilla basin: for almost 90 years, mankind and nature have been working in perfect synergy thanks to the far-sighted ambition of engineer Luigi Conti Vecchi who, in the late 1920s, implemented a pioneering project to reclaim the basin by building an immense saltworks and, in the process, contributing to the economic and social development of this depressed area on the outskirts of the city. There arose a flourishing, virtuous and forward-looking business: an eco-sustainable, self-sufficient chemical plant around which orbited a ‘salt community’ endowed with houses, schools and recreational facilities for the families of the owners, managers and employees who lived together in the village of Macchiareddu.
After the war, in the 1970s, the complex was sold to SIR Rumianca and in 1984, following the oil crisis and resultant industrial slow-down, it was compulsorily sold to Eni, which, over time, launched a project of industrial regeneration and reclamation through Syndial – a company that supplies integrated services in the field of environmental redevelopment – and which in 2017 entrusted to FAI the enhancement of this landscape and its cultural heritage. It is a story into which you can immerse yourself as you walk through the time-honoured executive suite, offices and chemical laboratory, which have been restored to look just as they did in the 1930s. It all adds up to a step back in time, accompanied by large-scale, evocative video-projections in the Workshop and the former Carpenter's Office that re-trace the history and operations of the saltworks and the landscape, which we explore on board a dedicated convoy that meanders along a route taking in saltpans and white mountains of salt, in surroundings that are as unusual as they are memorable, being home to hundreds of pink flamingos.