Not only historical centers full of culture, far more than sea with beaches and cliffs accompanied by beaches facilities, Salento is a land that hides and guards wild areas, where nature is impetuous, of great impact on the mind and on the soul, not just to sight.
Above all, Salento is a sub-region that welcomes, among other things, many protected areas and regional parks created specifically to protect the wild essence and the flora and fauna of different territories.
Here is a list of places for lovers of places of unspoiled and authentic nature, in Salento.
Also see the best and wild beaches of Salento
Parco Naturale Regionale Bosco e Paludi di Rauccio
Known to the natives as “Parco di Rauccio”, this protected natural area is also host to activities for lovers of biodiversity that are held throughout the year.
This parl extends over 1600 hectares along the Adriatic coast north of Lecce and its strange name derives from the name of the ancient owner of the Fortified farms once found here, Raguccio Maresgallo.
Biodiversity here preserved is vast and its panorama is in some way specular, the negative of that of Porto Selvaggio (listed below), because it kisses the other coast, the Adriatic one, with colors of a softer green and blue, more lively, less intense and dark.
Riserva Naturale Le Cesine
Also on the Adriatic coast we find the wonderful Cesine natural reserve, a WWF oasis.
These 348 hectares of marshy nature are home to various habitats that make it a remarkable treasure trove of biodiversity: ponds, Aleppo pine woods, holm oak woods and coastal marshes.
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Bauxite Querry in Otranto
We have also talked about the Otranto bauxite quarry in our list of the most surreal landscapes that you can only admire in Puglia; see them here.
The quarry is a bauxite mineral deposit, no longer operational since 1976, where an emerald green lake of surreal intensity has formed, like the rest of the panorama that opens up to the visitor’s eyes.
The waters that, through infiltrations into the ground, have filled this quarry, have created over the years a new lake ecosystem and an alternation of very strong colors that turn violently from red to green.
You can reach this area by car, going from Otranto to Santa Cesarea. The car cannot (fortunately) reach the quarries. It is necessary to leave the car at the end of a dirt road and proceed on foot.
Area naturale marina protetta Porto Cesareo
Even the well-known locality of Porto Cesareo, loved for its beaches equipped for all tastes, has a wild and protected marine natural area in its biodiversity.
Frequented by snorkelers, the protected marine natural area of Porto Cesareo allows you to admire intensely colored species of plants and animals.
Porto Cesareo also hides the wild (and protected) area Palude del Conte and Duna Costiera, which ends in the south with Torre Inserraglio and in the north with Punta Prosciutto.
The alternating scenarios present very high dunes and white and gold beaches, while in the south there are low and jagged rocks.
In both scenarios, in front of you stands the intense blue sea of the Ionian and behind you the intense green of the deepest Mediterranean scrub.
Parco di Porto Selvaggio
The Porto Selvaggio and Palude del Capitano Regional Natural Park is an area of rich Mediterranean scrub, a protected area also included in the FAI (Italian environmental fund).
This area is also very popular with those looking for rocky sea areas, where the smells of the Mediterranean scrub accompany diving, walking and exploring the hidden bays and basins.
To get to the sea, you need to wear comfortable shoes and bring “light luggage”, because the downhill journey on the outward journey and uphill on the way back is challenging for those who are less fit.
But the destination is well worth the journey, because the sea is in a spectacular blue.
Isola di Sant’Andrea
The full and official name of what for the locals is the magical place of “Sant’Andrea Island” is the Isola di Sant’Andrea – Litorale di Punta Pizzo Regional Natural Park.
The wonderful marine scenery of Punta Pizzo can be reached from here by crossing a pine forest rich in smells of myrtle and rosemary. The sea is of a transparent color. Going south, the sand gives way to the rocks of Punta della Suina, also of considerable beauty, certainly better known to the regulars of Salento.