Le Cesine (english version) | WWF Italy

Le Cesine (english version)

L'Oasi WWF Le Cesine (Le) rel=
L'Oasi WWF Le Cesine (Le)
© WWF Italia/F. Montinari
Last surviving portion of a vast wetland that covered the area from Brindisi to Otranto, Le Cesine today comprises sand dunes, marshy areas, canals, mixed woodlands and Mediterranean maquis.
One of the best preserved wetlands of Southern Italy, the National Nature Reserve Le Cesine is the last surviving portion of what was once a vast wetland area ranging from Brindisi to Otranto. The WWF Oasis Le Cesine is located on one of the main migratory routes and offers resting and breeding sites for many species of birds. The Le Cesine Nature Reserve extends for 380 hectares.

Flora and Fauna

A largely sandy coast extending for 6 Km with small pebbly and reef stretches including many sand dune plants (European sea rocket, prickly saltwort, field eryngo) while among the sandy banks, besides seagulls and many sandpipers it is also easy to observe the beautiful Eurasian oystercatcher and, at sunset, the red fox.
Vegetation in the forest areas consist mainly of Aleppo pines, holm oaks and the Mediterranean cypress; eucalyptus trees can be found bordering the footpaths. In the inner avenues of the nature reserve grows the very rare kermes oak.
The farmland of the nature reserve is extremely important for the common stilt, the glossy ibis, the stork, and cranes that find food sources here. During the winter months the ponds are visited by the common pochard, northern pintail, common shelduck and coot. Particularly interesting plant species include the many species of orchids and the saltmarsh morning glory.

Visiting the Nature Reserve

It takes about two hours to admire this beautiful nature reserve.  After a brief welcome, staff guide visitors along the nature trails equipped with observation points, hide-outs and educational panels and information boards. The trail leads through the woods and into the Mediterranean maquis right up to the observation towers. A birdwatching session completes the tour.


The Oasis of Le Cesine is a National Nature Reserve whose management has been entrusted to WWF Italy by the Ministry of the Environment; the area is regional property and has been managed by WWF since 1979.
The nature reserve is equipped with a visitor centre housed in the beautiful “Masseria Cesine”.  There are five nature trails (one of which accessible to people with disabilities), observation towers and hide-outs, a bee yard and a bird ringing station.


conctat information and opening times

Le Cesine Nature Reserve is open all year round.

Visits on advance booking on weekends and public holidays according to the following timetable:
From October 1st to May 31st tours start at 10:30 am
From June 1st to September 30th tours start at 4:30 pm

For groups and schools tours are available everyday on booking.

Birdwatchers and photographers: special conditions may apply, please contact the reserve for further details.

Phone n. +39 329/8315714
e-mail: lecesine@wwf.it

Main entrance: Masseria Cesine, SP San Cataldo – San Foca, 73029 Vernole (LE)



Located in Apulia, on the Adriatic coast of the Vernole municipality (Lecce), the nature reserve can be reached by following the new SS 611 “LIFE” starting from S. Cataldo towards Otranto (follow directions to the nature reserve).

Places to visit

Vernole (LE) with its hamlets, the Acacia medieval hamlet, the hypogean oil mill of the sixteenth century, and the secular olive trees, peculiar natural monuments of their own.

Overnight stays and restaurants

  • Ristorante Locanda del Gallo – Acaja
  • Trattoria Acaja – Acaja
  • "Puntarenas" Restaurant at Torre Specchia.
  • B&B L'Antico Palazzo, piazza Vittorio Veneto, Vernole tel +39 339 3967859;
  • Masseria Li Copertini Agriturismo Str. Prov.le Vanze-Strudà tel 340 5783155