A breathtaking journey through the most beautiful beaches of Salento, surrounded by a surprisingly rich nature.
The Marine Protected Area of Porto Cesareo was established in 1997 and covers approximately 17,000 hectares and over 30 km of coastline. It stretches along the coasts of Porto Cesareo and Nardò.
The coast of the Marine Protected Area runs from Punta Prosciutto in the north to Torre Inserraglio in the south, with stretches of sandy coastline interspersed with rocky sections, islets and reefs.
A curiosity: this Marine Protected Area is one of the few that despite its size can boast a precise mapping of the seabed, which allowed to identify 15 different habitats and several species of flora and fauna.
Also the surrounding hinterland has great environmental value. There are two Regional Protected Areas there: the Regional Reserve of "Palude del Conte e duna costiera - Porto Cesareo" and the Regional Natural Park "Portoselvaggio – Palude del Capitano."
Not only is the sea of Porto Cesareo important for nature, but it’s also a fundamental driving force for tourism, thanks to its sandy seabed, low for tens of metres, and its transparent waters.
The coast is characterized by numerous promontories, islets and reefs, among which the Big Island, also known as the "Island of rabbits", is particularly important. This nickname rapidly established itself decades ago when in the fifties a breeding of wild rabbits was started and then abandoned.
Porto Cesareo itself, as a smalltown, has no beaches to be recommended. The beaches are not far from town, though, and they stretch for kilometres, ranging from Porto Cesareo to Punta Prosciutto, passing through Torre Lapillo. It’s one long stretch of sand that runs between lidos and free beaches.
They are wonderful places: in some areas Torre Lapillo is a bit ‘overbuilt’ but, as it’s in a gulf, there’s the plus of the waters being always crystal clear and calm.
Punta Prosciutto has the reputation of being the most beautiful beach of Salento: it starts from the area of Torre Castiglione and continues to the north, with a rocky stretch, Punta Grossa. Then, from Punta Grossa to Punta Prosciutto, there are only beaches with white sand and very high dunes. This area is wilder than Torre Lapillo.
These are wonderful places you should not miss during your holidays in Salento! It takes an hour or so from Morciano and the road is smooth.