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Conti Vecchi Saltworks

Conti Vecchi Saltworks

A journey in search of white gold, at the gateway to Cagliari

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Saline Conti Vecchi eng
Overview

An extensive wilderness and a site of industrial archaeology, within a still-operational plant, combine to tell the story of salt, complete with vintage backdrops, immersive projections and a route encompassing salt pans, mountains of “white gold” and wild fauna.

Entrusted to FAI on a loan-for-use basis by Ing. Luigi Conti Vecchi SpA (Syndial Eni) in 2017

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.

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Visitor information
Opening hours

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:

10 am - 5 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday
The trains leave every hour, starting from 10.30am. The last train leaves at 3.30pm.

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:

  • from 3 March to 31 May: 10am - 6pm.
    The trains leave every hour, from 10.30am. The last train leaves at 5.30pm.
  • from 1 June to 31 August: 9.30am - 12.30pm and 4.30pm - 8.30pm.
    The trains leave at 9.30am, 10.30am and 11.30am in the morning and at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm in the evening.
  • from 1 September to 31 October: 10am - 6pm.
    The trains leave every hour, from 10.30am. The last train leaves at 4.30pm.

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.

How to get here

By car

  • From Cagliari, on the SS 195 “Sulcitana” highway. Follow the signs for Pula and then for Macchiareddu, then proceed to the destination.
  • From Olbia/Sassari/Nuoro, take the SS 131 “Carlo Felice” highway towards Cagliari; turn onto the SP 2 “Sestu-S.Sperate” road; follow the signs for Assemini and then for Macchiareddu.
  • From the airport, take the SS 391 highway, then the SS 195 Racc/E 25. Follow the signs for Assemini and then for Macchiareddu.
Parking

This property has indoor parking spaces for cars and bicycles.

Tickets
  • FAI members: free entry*
  • Adults: €8
  • Children aged 4-14: €3
  • Children aged 0-3: free entry
  • Students aged 25 and under: €5
  • National Trust members, residents of the Assemini Local Council area and employees of Syndial and Ing. Luigi Conti Vecchi S.p.A.: free entry*
  • Family: €20. Allows entry at reduced rates for family groups composed of 2 adults and 2 children (4 - 14 years of age).

*with the exception of specific events, when the additional event charge will apply.

During events the price may be subject to change

Guided Tours

Guided tours are available for groups, as are special visits; prior booking required. For information and bookings: faisaline@fondoambiente.it

Guided tours are also available for schools. For information, www.faiscuola.it.

Accessibility

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.

Cafeteria

There are vending machines offering hot and cold drinks and ice creams.

Shopping

Purchases from the bookshop make a tangible contribution to supporting the work of FAI.

Wi-Fi

Free wi-fi is available at the Conti Vecchi Saltworks.

Useful advice

A changing table is available.
Comfortable shoes are recommended.

Venue hire and events

Choose the Saltworks for your events

“Salt-infused” events at the Conti Vecchi Saltworks in Cagliari

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!

For information
Conti Vecchi Saltworks (Saline Conti Vecchi)
faisaline@fondoambiente.it

Choose the best space for your event
CONFERENCE ROOM

Conferences: 120 people
Lunches and Dinners/buffet: 140 people
Dimension: 163 m2

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