Italy is home to some of the most exquisite lakes, natural hot springs, and beaches in Europe. Marina Serra, a beach in the Salento region—resembling the heel of Italy’s boot on a map—features a natural swimming pool that has served as a popular local summer holiday destination for generations.
Marina Serra’s Piscina Naturale features emerald green and sapphire blue sea water that is bordered by rugged stone cliffs. Centuries of erosion have created a shallow stone swimming pool, an ideal spot for peaceful floating or joyful frolicking for hours. Visitors love to swim beneath Piscina Naturale’s stately stone arches that are as regal as anything constructed by the Romans.
As the name implies, Piscina Naturale is not a sleek concrete swimming pool. The beaches of Marina Serra are quite rocky, so packing a pair of sturdy water shoes is a good idea if you have sensitive feet. It’s common to see Italian sunbathers, accustomed to the area, lounging atop jagged rocks near Piscina Naturale, which resemble a dragon’s spine.
Nearby Piscina Scavata is another natural swimming pool that is partially manmade. The rectangular-shaped Piscina Scavata, once a boat dock, now welcomes visitors who can enter via an old boat ramp for easy access to the water. Piscina Scavata is a family-friendly spot where grandparents and grandkids often spend the day swimming side by side.
Piscina Scavata is close to a hidden sea grotto known as Grotta Marina Naturale, a popular hangout for Italians on holiday. Grotta Marina Naturale features a natural skylight that illuminates the water, giving it a bright blue appearance. The seafloor of Grotta Marina Naturale is lined with jagged rocks, but the cozy space is still certainly worth visiting if you have calloused feet or a sturdy pair of water shoes. A visit to Grotta Marina Naturale will give you the sensation that you’re lounging in a mermaid’s parlor.
Piscina Naturale gets pretty packed in the month of August when most Italians go on their summer holiday. For a warm, sunny swim in Piscina Naturale without the crowds, consider visiting in September or October. Travelers searching for an authentic Italian beach vacation should certainly visit Marina Serra and spend a few days blissfully floating in Piscina Naturale.