Regional Natural Park of Costa Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

This Regional Natural Park was established in 2006. It includes some Sites of Community Importance (SIC): Costa Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca, Boschetto di Tricase, and the Oak Park of Castro. It covers an area of 7.974 acres and stretches for about 35 miles along the eastern Salento coast, as the largest of the regional parks in the province of Lecce.

The park features important botanical rarities such as: Leuca cornflower (Centaurea leucadea), Leuca basket-of-gold (Aurinia leucadea), and Puglia bellflower (Campanula versicolor). There are also Serapias spp., Ophris spp., Orchis spp., Spiranthes spp. orchids, and Anacamptis spp..

Among the tree species, there are several Mount Tabor oaks (Quercus ithaburensis) growing in their westernmost area in Europe (namely, around Tricase).

In this area, thrive several very rare mammals in Europe, like the Mediterranean monk seal.
There are also many species of rare invertebrates, small crustaceans and other marine organisms which can shelter and nourishment in submerged and semi-submerged caves – a vary rare sponge species, for instance, lives exclusively in the Zinzulusa Cave.

Among the birds, there are peregrine falcons, kestrels, and barn owls. Colonies of different species of bats are present as well inside some caves.

Palaeolithic and Neolithic remains have been found in the Zinzulusa and Cervi Caves.
Traces of a more recent past are the so-called “pajare”: fortified farms and watchtowers dominating the landscape.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


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