Italy’s first coral reef discovered

Diving in the Maldives? No, Puglia is the place to go

Italy has many hot spots for travelers. From North to South, it´s almost impossible to see it all in only one holiday season. If you are an Italy lover, now you’ll probably add another location to your Italian bucket list: Puglia.

italy first coral reef puglia

This is the region of the “heel” of Italy’s boot when we look at it on a map. It is bleached by the sun with thousands of kilometers of the Mediterranean coast in Southern Italy. Now Puglia can add another wonder to its beauties: a coral reef in the Adriatic Sea near the town of Monopoli. Diving in it makes you go through an experience like the Maldives, The Local says.

And what’s so important about this news?

Well, it´s the FIRST coral reef on the Italian coast, and it is more similar to the ones found near tropical islands, like the Maldives or the Caribbean. They are between 90 to 180 feet below sea level (30-55 meters)  and are reefs with low levels of light.

Researchers from the Department of Biology of the University of Bari first estimated that the reef was 2.5 kilometers-long, but an updated estimation takes it to at least 135 kilometers-long, what makes it comparable to the reefs of Australia.

This depth creates unique conditions for marine life as well as unusually vibrant colours. “Our barrier lives in dim light and therefore the madrepores constitute these imposing structures of calcium carbonate with the absence of algae”, says Giuseppe Corriero, the researcher leading the discovery.

The conditions also mean the corals are coloured in muted shades of orange, red, or purple, he explained.

Following the discovery, regional and port authorities are planning to create a new protected marine area off Monopoli.

Looking to explore underwater, elsewhere, in the meantime? Check out this list of the best diving sites in the world, by CNN Traveler.

Want to see how the Italian coral reef is? Check it out on this video.

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