The Museum preserves one of the richest collections of Mediterranean flora and fauna.
“Station of Marine Biology of Salento” was inaugurated on July 30, 1966, in Villa Lucisani, Porto Cesareo, thanks to the will of Prof. Pietro Parenzan. He spent many years doing research on the Ionion sea and he was also the director until he passed away in 1992.
In 1977, the Board of Directors of the University of Lecce decided to acquire the Porto Cesareo Station, changing its name to "
Museum of Marine Biology".
Since 1980, there is a Board of Directors, due to an agreement between the University and the Province of Lecce. The research is guided by a Scientific board.
In 1999, the City of Porto Cesareo provided a new building for the museum. This allowed to enrich the assortment of its scientific and educational material.
There are still the original collection of Prof. Parenzan, but in new, specially designed showcases.
The marine fauna is well represented, with vertebrates (mainly fish, but also turtles, birds and mammals) and invertebrates (sponges, corals, worms, molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms).
Some of the museum's peculiarity can be considered a monk seal (Monachus albiventer); a lute turtle (Dermochelis coriacea) captured in a tuna in northern Porto Cesareo in May 1966; a two-headed shark (Prionace glauca). There’s a nice collection of papier-mache sculptures representing species and Mediterranean environments (created by the Michelagnoli Foundation in Taranto) and underwater photos. The Fishery Room and the Elephant Shark Hall have been built according to modern exhibition criteria, simulating under water invironment with blue waves on the walls and fishes hanging from the ceiling.
Free distribution of pedagogic posters to visitors contributes to teach environmental issues and ancient recipes related to fish cooking reevaluate ancient local traditions. The Museum of Marine Biology has about 11,000 visitors per year.
A lounge area welcomes schoolchildren and tourists with movies made in our marine environment for conceptual preparation before the visit.