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The Sentina Regional Nature Reserve area, located in the municipality of San Benedetto del Tronto, was established in December 2004 and is a land of water and sand covering approximately 180 hectares.


This protected area is of great importance due to its varied landscapes, which include sandy areas, wetlands and dunes. This area has allowed plant species that otherwise have disappeared from the Adriatic coast to thrive, including the flowering liquorice plant, strawberry trees, Salicornia and dog rose. The Mediterranean salt steppe flourishes in these extreme, high-salinity soils.


The area is also extremely important for migratory birds and is the only coastal stop between the wetlands of the river Po delta and the Gargano area of the Apulia region.


Out of the 180 bird species in the reserve, the most fascinating are the black-winged stilt (the symbol of the Reserve), the Kentish plover, the common kingfisher, the coot, the crane, the little egret, the lapwing, the marsh harrier and the calandrella.


These areas, which are so important for the environmental and wildlife, are also home to historical, architecturally-important edifices that testify to age-old settlements. The Torre sul Porto tower is located on the coastal side of the reserve and is the only one of its kind left in this area of military structures that were built between the 15th and 16th centuries to protect the coast from pirates and raiders. Today, the tower houses the headquarters of the C.E.A., the Centre for Environmental Education, which aims to raise awareness in adults and children regarding environmental issues, especially in the reserve.


In addition to this coastal section, the reserve is full of agricultural lands and features the typical rural homes of the Marche region, set against a natural backdrop that has remained free of the development and urbanisation that characterises the rest of the Adriatic coast.

In ancient times, the area was very different from what it is today. In a document that dates back to 12 December 1538 and that is preserved among the Ascoli Piceno State Archives, the reserve area was first given the name Selva Giurata”.

It indicated a wild, wooded place full of wetlands, where if one didn’t have a special licence it was strictly forbidden to hunt, fish or gather timber. The document even set out a fine for transgressors.

Then, in the 18th century, the area was part of the Papal States. Towards the end of the same century, the lands were entrusted by the pope to the Laureati brothers under a perpetual land lease that was inherited by descendants, male or female.

Later, the property was passed on to other owners, including the Sgariglia family, which owned part of it until the end of the 1800s.

Then, starting in the nineteenth century, a small village was founded in the reserve thanks to a series of reclamation works.


We can’t wait to help you discover more about this fascinating area.

All pictures used on this page are copyrighted ©Simona Pignotti and ©Simonetta Capecci

Additional pictures can be found on Facebook: Riserva Naturale Sentina

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