The Pond of Cagliari, also known as Santa Gilla lagoon, it is by extension and importance of biodiversity one of the most important wetlands in Europe.
During your luxury holiday in Sardinia you can't miss a visit to Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, a city rich in history enclosed between two ponds, the pond of Cagliari and Molentergius Wetlands .
The pond is located along the initial stretch of the west coast of Gulf of Angels, not far away from the city.
Its natural boundaries radically changed over the last decades due to the numerous land reclamation projects for the urbanization of surrounding areas, the construction of infrastructure and the expansion of agricultural and industrial areas.
To the south it is bordered by a strip of land along the highway 195 Sulcitana, which separates it from the Gulf of the Angels.
To the west it is delimited by the industrial area Macchiareddu and agricultural and residential settlements belonging to the municipality of Capoterra.
To the north it is bordered by the mouths of the rivers of Campidano and Cixerri plains.
To the east it is bounded by the infrastructures of Cagliari ( industrial area, roads , railways, airports ) and the low hills of the town and Elmas.
In the first half of the twentieth century the pond occupied an area of about 40 km2, while currently it reaches 13km.
The topography of the pond is heterogeneous and we can distinguish five main areas, that is :the lagoon of Santa Gilla in the eastern part, which is connected with the Gulf of the Angels by Sa Scaffa channel, the mouths of Flumini Mannu and Cixerri in the norhen part and the area of the salt with salt evaporation ponds expanding until the coastal strip in the southern part.
The pond of Capoterra is separated from the saline by a strip of land that links the pond to the industrial area through a jetty.
Sa Illetta is a strip of land that was originally part of the island of San Simone, who was later linked to the mainland by a strip of land in the area of Macchiareddu.
This area has changed dramatically in recent decades due to the construction of the harbor and the diversion of highway Sulcitana.
The vegetation of the pond is not very important from the point of view of the landscape, because it constituted by herbaceous species.
However, it is fundamental for the maintenance of biodiversity since it goes to form the ideal habitat for animal species that inhabit the pond.
In addition to providing the main sustenance for many species of birds, the dense vegetation that covers the sides of the pond is the perfect place to build nests and hide eggs.
Due to the presence of different physical environments, ( different salinity etc. . ), there are different types of flora that can be reduced to three basic types :
halophyte vegetation psammofila
The vegetation is mostly located in the northern part where the water is slightly salty due to the emissaries who flock in the pond.
The vegetation of this area is represented by the reeds, cattails and rushes.
We must point out a small olive grove in Sa Illetta: the olive tree is the perfect plant for saline soils .
The halophilic vegetation is present in the pond, especially in the outer zones and in the areas where flooding is temporary and it raises the level of salinity.
Among the most common species there are the Alimo, the Ruppia cirrhosa, the Potamogeton pectinatus , the Ruppietum maritimae and the Potamogeton natans, whch are idofite halophilic plant.
These plants represent sustenance for many species of animals (such as Ruppia for pink flamingos).
Psammophile Vegetation is located in a sandy coastal strip and other points of the pond, often in association with halophytes .
The fauna of the pond is composed of birds, while mammals are not closely tied to the habitat of the pond.
Birds are then the most important elements of the pond.
There are numerous species of birds, both resident and migrant : Santa Gilla and Molentargius pond hosts the beautiful pink flamingos, a true pride of Cagliari.
Pink flamingos main food is the brine shrimp, a crustacean very common in the ponds of Cagliari. Their diet is also constituted by small molluscs and arthropods and some of hydrophytes plants (rush, wigeongrass etc. . ) .
For many years, the flamingos have frequented the pond without reproducing because of nest predators, mainly seagulls, and because of the anthropogenic pressure.
In addition to pink flamingos there are many other animals in the pond divided into species that nest and species that do not nest.
The rarest species are herons, cormorants and coots.
The fauna is a treasure recently enhanced by the project "Life Nature Gilia '96", which involves the municipalities of Cagliari, Assemini, Capoterra and Elmas and plays an important role in monitoring and studying the phenomena that occur in this ecosystem.
From the geological point of view, the pond is set in a depression that is part of the pit of Campidano plain; the pit formed in the Quaternary.
The depths are generally low since the maximum depth is 2.5 meters.
However in recent years, due to the alteration of the mouths of the rivers, there was a phenomenon of sedimentation that led to the raising of the seabed.
The salinity depends on the areas of pond. Unfortunately, the Santa Gilla lagoon ecosystem is seriously threatened by several factors including the construction of infrastructure of various kinds and the discharge of industrial substances in the rivers.
The history of the pond is related to its incredible abundance of fish and its location that makes it suitable as a port for trade.
There were found traces of settlements from the Bronze Age to the Punic and the Carthaginian period.
In Roman times the settlement near Santa Gilla lost its importance and it became a suburb of Karalis.
In the Middle Ages because of the demographic regression, the settlement became the center of Santa Gilla.
The island of San Simone was not connected to the mainland; the connection to the island by a bridge of planks and boats is one of the transformations that took place in the sixteenth century along with a series of interventions that were going to change the depths of the pond.
In this period there was a development of agricultural activity on the island of San Simone. In the nineteenth century the ecosystem suffered severe damage due to the use as industrial landfill.
However the real degradation began after World War II with the discharge of slurry from industries that caused the demise of the fishing and seriously harmed flora and fauna.
During your luxury holiday in Sardinia you should discover this beautiful ecosystem, a natural pearl of South Sardinia.
It can be accessed from different points, but the main one is the road passing through the industrial area of Macchiareddu in Assemini.
The road that runs along the incinerator on the left side, marked with a sign indicating the project Gilia, has a wooden fence 1.5 km long and leads directly to the pond.
Santa Gilla lagoon is easily accessible from luxury villas selected by Luxury Holidays in Sardinia and it's less than an hour's drive; it is the perfect destination for a stopover on a tour of Cagliari.
Among the many services available from our Villas
there are transfer services to Cagliari to discover its history, churches and monuments without the anxiety of the parking lot!
The pond is one of the beauties of Sardinia selected for you and for your luxury holiday in Sardinia; the magic of this place is perfect to give you the relaxation and serenity you are looking for from your next luxury vacation with us at Luxury Holidays in Sardinia.