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.
The visit lasts about two hours and includes: a free-to-explore tour inside the historical buildings restored as they were on '30s and a guided tour on board of a wheeled train to discover the production cycle of salt and the naturalistic area.
Seats on the train are limited, reservation is thus highly recommended.
Conti Vecchi Saltworks are open to public until 6th January with the following opening hours:
The Saltworks are closed to the public on 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st December and 1st January and from 7 January to 2 March for the winter break.
They will re-open on Sunday 3rd March with the following opening hours:
These opening hours shall apply in good weather. However, should the visibility during the day make it difficult to operate safely, visits to the saltworks will be suspended.
Flat fees (Cooperativa Radiotaxi Quattro Mori - Tel +39 070 400 101). Reservations up to 24 hours in advance via email@example.com.
This property has indoor parking spaces for cars and bicycles.
*with the exception of specific events, when the additional event charge will apply.
During events the price may be subject to change
Guided tours are available for groups, as are special visits; prior booking required. For information and bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guided tours are also available for schools. For information, www.faiscuola.it.
Disabled visitors can access free-of-charge those FAI properties that are open to the public by showing their ANMIC (Associazione Nazionale Mutilati e Invalidi Civili) card.
The visitor route to the Conti Vecchi Saltworks is accessible to those with disabilities, with the exception of the Office and the Foreman's Office, neither of which is equipped with a ramp or a stairlift.
The outdoor walkways are covered in gravel
The little trains used for the guided tours do not have special equipment to facilitate access by wheelchair users. However, those with disabilities may be assisted by the companion travelling with them and by the operators, and their wheelchair can be safely stored until the end of the tour.
There are vending machines offering hot and cold drinks and ice creams.
Purchases from the bookshop make a tangible contribution to supporting the work of FAI.
Free wi-fi is available at the Conti Vecchi Saltworks.
A changing table is available.
Comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the old buildings of the saltworks at Macchiareddu, FAI is creating an industrial museum amid the old workshops, historical archives and salt laboratories, telling the tale of a clean industry with its own special environmental value: the saltworks is a natural oasis for thousands of aquatic birds including the famous pink flamingos that can be seen with the naked eye.
Here, among the still-operational saltworks and the museum spaces, we have created a 120-seat conference hall in one of the old workshops, which has been restored to make it look just like it did in the 1930s, but equipped with modern technology and systems. It now provides a wonderful venue for private and MICE events of all types.
As a backdrop for photoshoots, the saltworks is exceptionally spectacular.
A visit on the little train to the saltpans and the mountains of salt harvested at the plant – which is offered to all visitors and users of the property – is an unforgettable experience. The saltpans become redder and redder as the salinity of the water increases, accentuated by the flamingos and other large birds looking for food in the pans. The wind and the salt-laden air contribute to the creation of a unique, enchanting atmosphere that will stay with you.
Thanks to its proximity to the airport and the city of Cagliari, which offers all types of hotels and catering facilities, the saltworks is an ideal venue for impressive corporate events.
Moreover, by selecting a FAI property as the venue for your event, you are contributing to the conservation and protection of Italy's heritage. We look forward to hearing from you!
Conti Vecchi Saltworks (Saline Conti Vecchi)
Conferences: 120 people
Lunches and Dinners/buffet: 140 people
Dimension: 163 m2