During our recent trip to Puglia we visited the natural protected area known with the name of Salina dei Monaci, literally “The Saline of the Monks”. If you’re in the area, we highly recommend visiting it, ideal for a walk and it has direct access to the beach.
Easy to reach by driving along the road SP122, the saline is located just before the village of Torre Colimena, in the territory of the town of Manduria (TA). It’s been a nature reserve since 2010 and it is also included in the official list of Italian Protected Areas.
Known as the Salt of the monks, this water basin covers an area of about 250,000 square meters. In the past it was used for the extraction and collection of sea salt, exploiting the waves and sea storms, the sea water was in fact channeled and collected in this stretch of land.
Used for centuries as saline, it was subsequently abandoned. The whole area has been partially reclaimed after the Second World War and subsequently damaged by the construction of the Ionian road SP122 which was built along the coast and separated the saline from the beach. In 2007, the road was completely removed to make room for vegetation. The Mediterranean scrub and the sand brought by the wind have reoccupied the space that had once been taken away to make room for concrete.
The water is abundant in the saline during the winter months and is slightly drier in the summer. We have visited the area in August and as the photos show, the water level was still pretty high.
An area that was left to itself and abandoned in the past and that it’s now coming back to life, a little oasis surrounded by the Mediterranean vegetation typical of the Ionian coast of Salento and high sand dunes separating it from the sea. As shown in the map, you can access it via a small path that runs parallel to the beach.
It is an optimal environment for many migratory birds and therefore ideal destination for bird watchers. The most popular are certainly the pink flamingos that we were lucky enough to see and photograph.