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The Salento Aquarium of Santa Maria al Bagno, Nardò, Puglia

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The Salento Aquarium of Santa Maria al Bagno, Nardò, Puglia. A public Aquarium was realized in the frame of the European Territorial Cooperation Programme, ETCP, Greece-Italy 2007-2013. Such a project (acronym APREH) started in 2011 with the University of Salento as Leader Partner, Province of Lecce and Municipality of Nardò as Italian partners, and University of Patra and Municipality of Kefallinia as Greek partners. The proposal of an Aquarium had the aim to promote the archaeological and natural submarine heritage along the coastline of the Salento Peninsula and of the Kefallinia island. The Italian partnership realized an Aquarium at Santa Maria al Bagno (Nardò, Lecce), restructuring an ancient building with services, a conference room, and 4 exhibition environments equipped with a total of 17 tanks of variable volume (25 – 2,500 litres), hosting a total of 100 species of marine organisms. Four tanks were equipped with reproductions of wrecks: a Junker 88 airplane, an Italian Cargo Ship, an English destroyer of the 2nd World War, and a Roman ship of the 2nd Century b.C. with its cargo of amphorae. The official opening was celebrated on 05 June 2015. The structure is the unique public Aquarium functioning in the Southern Italy apart from Naples; it has been open to visitors only during the 13 week ends of June-August, receiving more than 7,000 visitors mainly coming from Province of Lecce and the rest of Italy. Also due to front end evaluation studies, a plan for the future functioning of the Aquarium is presented, taking into consideration its educative role, and its touristic attractiveness.

The objective of the APREH was the setting up of two aquaria on both sides of the Ionian Sea, the trans-boundary zone between Greece and Italy, for highlighting the riches of the natural and cultural marine resources and promoting the blue growth and eco-tourism concepts.

The Ionian Aquarium AIMSat:
(i) exhibiting the natural and cultural marine heritage occurring around the coastal zone of Kefallinia island and Salento area, for the benefit of the local society but also visitors (tourists),
(ii) functioning as a recreational/vocational educational center for all educational levels but also to sea users and stakeholders thus raising their interest to the sustainable sea management, and
(iii) serving as an information center for tourists, to obtain information on the whereabouts of the hidden underwater natural and cultural treasures and how they can be explored as well as information on other ongoing sea activities, such as fishing, sailing, diving etc.

The exhibition themes in the Aquarium as well as the recreational/vocational and educational activities offered by the Aquarium, are planned and prepared by the Laboratory of Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography, a member of the OCEANUS-NET  laboratories of University of Patras.

Click the following link and visit the Salento Aquarium virtually

During the wintertime Salento Aquarium is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 1pm at Santa Maria al Bagno (Nardò, Lecce) via Cesare Augusto n.7.

Please find below the list of species you can find at Salento Aquarium. In order: Phylum, Species, Name, Size and Number of Types

Annelida Sabella spallanzani spirografo M 13
Bryozoa Myriapora truncata falso corallo M 2
Cnidaria Actinia equina pomodoro di mare S 7
Anemonia sulcata anemone M 4
Calliactis parasitica (su Dardanus) attinia S-L 7
Cerianthus membranaceus cerianto S 1
Cladocora caespitosa madrepora a cuscinetto S 3
Condylactis aurantiaca anemone M 1
Paramuricea clavata gorgonia S-L 3
Parazoanthus axinellae M 15
Crustacea Balanus sp.* balani S 1
Calappa granulata granchio melograno L 4
Callinectes sapidus granchio blu M-XL 2
Dardanus calidus paguro bernardo L 1
Dromia personata granchio facchino L 3
Herbstia condyliata granchio di grotta S-L 2
Maja crispata maia M 4
Palaemon ss.pp. gamberetto comune M-L 10
Palinurus elephas aragosta M 2
Percnon gibbesi granchio corridore M 1
Portunus holsatus granchio nuotatore M-L 13
Scyllarides latus magnosa L 2
Scyllarus arctus magnosella M 5
Stenopus spinosus alifantozza rossa L 2
Decapoda indet. granchi S-M 6
Echinodermata Antedon mediterranea giglio di mare M 4
Arbacia lixula riccio maschio S-M 4
Astropecten aurantiacus stella di sabbia M 2 64
Coscinasterias tenuispina stella S 1
Echinaster sepositus stella rossa comune L 6
Holothuria tubulosa cetriolo di mare S 2
Ophidiaster ophidianus stella serpente M 3
Ophiotrix vagilis ofiura spinosa S 4
Marthasterias glacialis martasteria L 1
Paracentrotus lividus riccio femmina M 3
Parastichopus regalis oloturia di fondale S-L 3
Peltaster placenta stella pentagono M 2
Sphaerechinus granularis riccio punte bianche M 1
Stylocidaris affinis riccio matita L 1
Echiurida Bonellia viridis bonellia L 7
Mollusca Aplysia dactylomela lepre di mare S 2
Arca noae piede di capra L 1
Haliotis lamellosa orecchio di mare M 1
Mytilus sp. mitilo S 1
Octopus macropus polpessa M 1
Octopus vulgaris polpo comune M 1
Marionia blainvillea S 1
Pinna nobilis* cozza pinna S 1
Simnia cfr. purpurea ciprea delle gorgonie M 2
Tonna galea doglio L 1
Porifera Aplysina aerophoba M 2
Axinella cannabina spugna a canna M-L 9
Axinella polypoides spugna a canna M 1
Chondrilla nucula L 0
Chondrosia reniformis L 4
Disidea avara S 2
Petrosia ficiformis S 4
Spirastrella cunctatrix M 1
Porifera indet. S-M 0
Tunicata Halocinthya papillosa M 5 198
Vertebrata Apogon imberbis re di triglie L 11
Balistes capriscus balestra o porco S-M 2 65
Bavosa gattorugine bavosa S-M 2
Chromis chromis castagnola nera L 9
Coris julis donzella M-L 13
Dasyatis pastinaca razza pastinaca S 1
Dicentrarchus labrax spigola M 2
Diplodus sargus sarago maggiore S 2
Epinephelus costae cernia alessandrina S 1
Epinephelus marginatus cernia bruna S-M 2
Gobius cobitis ghiozzo L 2
Gobius geniporus ghiozzo geniporo L 2
Gobius cfr. niger ghiozzo S 1
Gobius sp.1 ghiozzo S 1
Gobius sp.2 ghiozzo M 1
Lipophrys pavo bavosa comune S 3
Lithognathus mormyrus mormora S 8
Liza ramada cefalo S-M 41
Muraena helena murena S-M 1
Oblada melanura occhiata S 1
Pagrus pagrus pagro XL 2
Puntazzo puntazzo sarago pizzuto S-L 5
Sarpa salpa salpa S-M 7
Scorpaena porcus scorfano nero S-M-L 6
Scyliorhius stellaris gatuccio leopardo S 2
Serranus scriba sciarrano M 5
Sparus aurata orata S-M 13
Symphodus mediterraneus tordo S-M 1
Symphodus tinca tordo pavone M-L 5
Thalassoma pavo donzella pavonina M 3
Tripterygion melanurus peperoncino M 1
Uranoscopus scaber pesce prete M-L 3
Xyrichtis novacula pesce pettine M 2



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