Located on the northern Adriatic coast of Salento, not far from Carovigno and San Vito dei Normanni, the Protected Marine Area of Torre Guaceto stretches for 8 km (5 mi) between Punta Penna Grossa and the cliffs of Apani.
The reserve's landscape is characterized by coastal dunes, with some tracts of gray dunes reaching a height of 15 meters (50 feet).
South of Torre Guaceto's coastal watchtower, the shore is linear, consisting mainly of clay cliffs. But near the tower towards the northern side, the coast unravels into a series of crags with jagged edges, creating a fretwork of small inlets. However, continuing towards Punta Penna Grossa, the shore becomes a sandy beach with shallow waters.
Patches of rocky seafloor are ideal for sea-watching and snorkeling, while areas of soft, sandy seabed are covered with Posidonia oceanica (Neptune Grass) and Coral biocoenosis (biotic communities known as Apulian pre-corals). Torre Guaceto's beach is also accessible to disabled people thanks to a ramp running down to the water.
Fields of Posidonia oceanica (Neptune Grass) are one of the most characteristic habitats of Torre Guaceto's sandy seabeds between a depth of 3 and 25 meters (10 to 82 feet). Here, immersed in the blue water, patella sea snails, beadlet anemones, sponges and other types of anemones find shelter between kelp, red algae and sea lettuce. It's also worth mentioning that the marine reserve is home to the Pinna nobilis (noble pen shell or fan mussel), a large bivalve mollusc at risk of extinction.
The protected area is easy to get to, thanks in part to the port and to the airport in Brindisi. To reach the Visitors Centre by car, take the S.S. 379 (State Highway) Bari -Lecce, exit at Serranova and continue on that road. Otherwise, take the exit for Torre Guaceto-Punta Penna Grossa and follow the coast until you reach the Punta Penna Grossa Visitors Centre.
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