The marine protected area of Torre Cerrano

We are at the environmental education center le Fantine in Campomarino, headquarters of our association “ambiente basso Molise”. Here we have moved all our activities, mainly consisting of monitoring our territory. We host students, associations and anyone who wants to come and visit this very special place. The site is of Community Importance (SCI) and used to be called the flooded forest, due to its frequent flooding following intense rainfall, a spectacle that cannot be missed. Visitors should come here to see the various animals, especially birds, that come when the water is abundant. Here you also have the king of the forest: a large white ash tree that is more than 250 years old.

The Torre del Cerrano Marine Protected Area is located on the Adriatic coast in Abruzzo, the “green region of Europe,” under the Teramo province, between Silvi and Pineto. The Marine Protected Area was established by the Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare and recognized as a Special Area Of Conservation (SAC) by the European Union, hence, integrated in the Natura 2000 Network.

The seaward sector of the protected area, shows two main environmental features closely related to each other: the typical Adriatic sandy seabed, which extends over the largest portion of the area, and the bottom reefs, formed by the semi-submerged boulders of the ancient port of Atri and some outcrops of conglomeratic geological formations.

The area is home to a good number of both pelagic and benthic marine animal species and some diverse plant species. In the underwater environment of the protected area it is easy to come across a variety of species of fish and mollusks, which inhabit the sandy seabed.

On the mainland portion of the protected area, it is worth noting the presence of sandy dune ecosystems that create an exclusive environment: a link between sea and land. In addition to their value for biodiversity, the dunes are an effective barrier from erosion, salt spray, and wind in the backdune areas. In the innermost dune area, we find a pine grove. Thanks to its favorable microclimate during the summer season, the pine grove hosts several animal and plant species of high naturalistic value.

The protected area is named after the “Cerrano Tower,” which dates back to 1568, and is one of the oldest coastal towers from the historical Kingdom of Naples. Nowadays it is one of the few intact examples of the kingdom’s intricate network of coastal fortifications, aimed at defending the land from the frequent attacks by Turks and Saracens from the sea.


February 28, 2023
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