Oasi Naturalistica di Torre Guaceto

Oasi Naturalistica di Torre Guaceto

The Oasi Naturalistica di Torre Guaceto lies about 15 km north of Brindisi and consists of a marine protected area and a state nature reserve. These areas cover, respectively, about 600 ha of sea and 1,200 ha of land, and are managed by the WWF. The reserve protects a freshwater wetland surrounded by Mediterranean scrubland and separated from the sea by sand dunes. The sea section runs from
Penna Grossa to the Apani rocks, covering about 5 miles. The outer barrier is the point where the sea reaches a depth of 50 m, about a mile off the coast. The pools of water in the wetland, filled with vast reed-beds of Phragmites australis, are fed by freshwater springs that drain here from inland zones (‘guaceto’ literally means ‘place of freshwater’).
The dunes, rising 10 m and extending for about 800 m, are the result of thousands of years of the movement of the sea and wind. They are also the realm of pioneer plants. The scrubland, especially common in the northern reaches of the reserve, has holm oak, Aleppo pine, juniper, mastic, various forms of cistus, myrtle, thyme and squill, a geophyte that can survive fires because it has an underground bulb that is rich in nutrients.
Finally, the rocks are home to Aglium commutatum, known locally as sea garlic. In terms of animals, it is worth listing the badger, which digs visible dens in the dunes, the weasel and the fox.
The wetlands also provide a nesting area for a large number of migratory birds, like the grey heron, little egret, moorhen and marsh harrier. The sea is rich in animal life and you might see dolphins and the loggerhead turtle. Sometimes, quite far off-shore, you can see rorqual whales.
The protected area, open all year, also has various guided activities led by experts: cycle-trekking, walking and, only in the summer, sea-watching, which is done using a mask and fins.

How to get there
Oasi di Torre Guaceto: take the SS379 Bari-Brindisi road and exit at Serranova going towards Punta Penna Grossa.

Useful addresses
Riserva naturale dello Stato e Area marina protetta di Torre Guaceto visits and information: Consorzio di gestione di Torre Guaceto contrada Serranova 26 Carovigno tel. 0831989885.

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