The Salento landscape is rich of environmental resources - on the surface, under the ground or in the depths of the sea. Here you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy alternated with rocks.
The coast is a blend of high cliffs, white sandy beaches, caves and sea caverns where the underwater environment, whether rocky or sandy, is full of life.
The "coral cathedrals", the petrified forests at the seabed, the wrecks, the enchanted caves inhabited by different animals and plants, naturalistic landscapes where diving is one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.
The Big Island or the Rabbit Island
The stretch of sea from Porto Cesareo to Torre Chianca is full of islets and reefs. The largest one is the Rabbit Island known in ancient nautical charts as “the Big Island”. Narrow and branched it expand for about 12 hectares.
The name comes from the custom to raise rabbits and other types of livestock on the island during the last century.
The island has over 200 different plants.
One of the peculiar phenomenon of this coastline is the locally called "spunnulate".
It is a karst conformation so rare that no translation is available in Italian.
Literally " spunnulate " means "collapsed". The phenomenon of the calcareous subsoil leads to the formation of numerous underground cavities. When water erosion it thins the walls of these caves until they can no longer bear the same weight of the rock, there is the collapse and therefore the "spunnulata"
Most spunnulate are like small brackish lakes, a mix of fresh water from the underground and sea water coming througt passages. This underground network allowes sea fishes to swim up to the spunnulata.
These environments are real hot-spots of biodiversity, both for the presence of brackish water, which generates microhabitat completely different from the surrounding environment, and for the rocky soil that has prevented pastures and agriculture over the years and therefore preserves the original vegetation.