Foce dell'Isonzo Nature Reserve is closed on Thursday.
The main terrestrial nucleus of the protected area lies in loc. Cona, in the Municipality of Staranzano, the so-called "Isola della Cona", where visitors will find welcome structures and facilities. It is surrounded by the sea, by river Isonzo, and by channel Quarantia (which represented the main mouth of the river between 1895 and 1935) and today is connected with the mainland through a dam enabling an easy access.
Like many surrounding areas, in the recent past the island underwent partial drainage and reclamation activities and was used as pastureland at first and then as cultivated land.
Only the marine area, periodically submerged by the tides and very marshy, has been spared from the changes and this enabled to start a series of initiatives of environmental safeguard and recovery.
After a general plan dating back to 1983, it was recreated on a reclaimed land which was partly used for cultivation purposes for about 30 ha, today called "Il Ripristino", a marshy area partly drying up during the dry periods. There are ongoing similar measures in an adjacent section of territory of about 20 ha, where a big information point is also under construction.
The creation of new and diversified habitats has considerably increased the already interesting biological diversity of the site, with the presence of several botanical and wildlife species.
In particular, the latter include birds, present in the Nature Reserve with about 300 observed species, out of which over 80 nesting.
Among the many species, some examples are the Common Crane, the Spoonbill, the Glossy Ibis, the Blacked-winged Stilt, the Eurasian Bittern, the Purple Heron, and the Marsh Harrier: they were all very rare species that have benefited from the measures of environmental management and recovery.
To complete the ecosystem with the aim to control vegetation through grazing on the one hand and to start eco-tourism activities compatible with the conservation of the site on the other hand; to start, two herds of Camargue white horses have been introduced, one consisting of trained horses, the other consisting of wild horses.
The Nature Reserve gives the opportunity to observe a wide range of vegetable species characteristic of both brackish freshwater and salty water.
You can observe the vegetation of the river flood plains with the poplars, black alders, and white willows. The Nature Reserve also houses one of the last stretches of plain forests which originally covered the lower Po Plain.
It is possible to observe species like the Pedunculate oak, the Common hornbeam, and the Narrow-leafed ash. The low vegetation characterizing the shoals and the tidal flats is particularly interesting: it has adapted to high saltiness conditions and includes species like glasswort and the sea aster.
Some Camargue horses have been introduced in the area. For its physical features (large hoof and moderate size), the Camargue breed is particularly suitable for the life in the wetlands. The horses are divided into two groups: one consists of trained animals used by the staff of the Nature Reserve and during guided visits; the other group consists of wild horses, useful to control the vegetation in some areas of the Nature Reserve.