The nature reserves of Puglia, a treasure trove of biodiversity

Domenico Antonacci, blogger of Amara my land | history, traditions and nature of the Gargano gives us some valuable suggestions for the summer holidays. This time he speaks of the marine reserves of Puglia ...

The Puglia , long Italian region washed by the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, is certainly characterized by its many protected natural areas that occupy, in total, an area of ​​about 250,000 hectares throughout the regional territory.
And since the summer is approaching we can only talk about the protected marine areas of Puglia, true pristine natural paradises where taking a bath at sea becomes something more becoming an almost symbiotic experience with nature.

Marine protected reserves Puglia
Tower Guaceto, photo by Tim Jokl on flickr

Starting from the north you can visit the marine reserve of the Isole Tremiti , established in 1989 and part of the Gargano National Park. Also called "pearls of the Adriatic" or "Diomedee" (from the name of Diomedes who, legend has it, here landed with his men then transformed into birds called diomedee), the Tremiti islands are formed by San Domino, Caprara and San Nicola , all with high and white cliffs overlooking the sea . The only sandy beach of the archipelago (the only group of Italian islands in the Adriatic Sea) is located on San Domino while for the rest the coast is high and rocky, of calcareous nature characterized by the presence of numerous and suggestive sea caves . We would like to recommend this trip especially to those who love to dive to know the depths of the sea ; underwater biodiversity, in fact, is very high and it is easy to observe numerous fish species and beautiful and colorful corals (a short time ago it was found one of 2500 years!). And if you do not settle down easily you can visit one of the many ship wrecks to a little depth from the surface including the famous "Lombardo", one of the boats that brought the thousand of Garibaldi to Marsala. The Tremiti Islands can be reached by ferry from Termoli (exit A14 Termoli), Rodi Garganico and Vieste (exit A14 Poggio Imperiale and then ss693) or by helicopter from the Gino Lisa airport of Foggia.

Marine protected reserves Puglia
Tremiti Islands, photo by frank_immisch on flickr

Our itinerary continues to Torre Guaceto , between Brindisi and Carovigno, a marine reserve established in 1991. A significant variety of diversified environments succeed each other in this coastal stretch of 6km and for a few hundred meters towards the hinterland. In the protected area there are wetlands that are formed with rains and which disappear in hot periods as well as some fresh water springs also seasonal. Besides the wetlands, it ranges from a landscape with strong Mediterranean characters that from the sea slips over the dunes , through the Mediterranean scrub and the marshes, up to a evergreen forest and finally to centuries-old olive grove . It is the sea that dictates the law by modeling every visible form of the landscape. The seabed is low and alternates between sandy and rocky areas.In some parts of the crag lives the characteristic Cystoseira algae and off the Torre Guaceto, from which the reserve takes its name, the presence of wide cracks allows the settling of corals ... and lobsters and lobsters are not rare! Even here there is no lack of traces of the presence of man in ancient times, so much so that in the innermost area there are signs of a Neolithic village . To reach Torre Guaceto take the A14 up to Bari and then take the ss379 towards Brindisi.

Marine protected reserves Puglia
Torre Guaceto, photo by fabcom on flickr

Finally, there is the Ionian itinerary , corresponding to the marine protected area of ​​Porto Cesareo , in the heart of Salento. Established in 1997, since 2001 it is managed by the Municipalities of Porto Cesareo. The stretch of coast of the affected area is 32 km long and is characterized by a jagged coastline, dotted with white beaches and low cliffs . Porto Cesareo, thanks to its natural harbor overlooking the nearby Isola Grande (500 meters away), is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on the Salento coast . The seabed presents a characteristic sub-tropical environment with very particular animal species typical of the warmer seas. Also for this reason it is easy to find at great depths and at a very short distance from the coast large expanses of corals. To reach Porto Cesareo take the A14 to Taranto and then continue towards Francavilla Fontana on the ss7, then Mandura on the sp54 and finally Porto Cesareo on the ss174.

Marine protected reserves Puglie
Port Cesareo, photo by Yellow_Cat on flickr

Which one to choose between these reservations ? Difficult to answer; the clarity of the waters, the great biodiversity of the seabed and the particular morphology of the coasts, are the reasons that led to the establishment of these protected areas but we want to help you, or at least we try.

1 . Do you want to get away from the mainland and immerse yourself in search of underwater emotions? Tremiti Islands.
2. Do you want to observe how the sea has been able to model a stretch of coast where different types of environments coexist without renouncing to a pristine sea? Torre Guaceto .
3. Do you want to dream of being in the tropics on beaches with white sand and fabulous sea? Porto Cesareo .

Now you just have to choose, Puglia is waiting for you!