Not far from the famous archaeological sites of Magna Graecia lies the large sandy beach overlooking the Ionian Sea, on the stretch of coastline between the Bradano and Basento rivers.
Metaponto beach, already loved by the Master Pythagoras for its pleasant climate, the crystal clear sea lapping against it and the shallow and gently sloping seabed, is now a popular destination for many visitors. Along the beach there are several bathing establishments that alternate with stretches of green and fragrant pinewoods behind the dunes. In these scarcely anthropized areas, particularly near the mouths of rivers, the beach has an uncultivated and wild appearance, thanks also to the thick vegetation whose scent blends with the smell of the sea.
Behind Metaponto beach, in fact, there is a 240-hectare protected forest strip along the coast, which contains a variety of special environments, a complex of connected and integrated ecosystems that guarantee protection from the sea and biodiversity: the wetlands, stretching down to the coast, with their typical vegetation, the areas where the Mediterranean maquis dominates undisputed and luxuriant, and the coastal pine forest with its typical assortment of coastal pines.
This environmental heritage, the result of the reforestation of a difficult area behind the dunes, today performs a number of irreplaceable ecological and protective functions, for which it is protected.
The river mouths are areas of great interest to the European Union, which has included them in the Natura 2000 Network as S.I.C. (Site of Community Interest), now Z.S.C. (Special Area of Conservation). On the whole, it is a varied and rich environment in which priority habitats are identified, including coastal dunes with junipers and "sand lilies", coastal lagoons, the vegetation of glasswort and other species in muddy and sandy areas and Mediterranean flooded pastures. The bird species include the sandpiper, grey heron, black-tailed godwit, moorhen and, of particular interest, the Kentish Plover, a species that is seriously threatened by tourist pressure on the coast.
In recent years, the Municipality of Bernalda has made great efforts to ensure that the Metaponto beach represents a virtuous model of sustainable land management, promoting various campaigns to raise awareness of respect for the environment.
Thanks to this commitment, the Lido di Metaponto, for its uncontaminated waters and the services it offers, has been awarded the Blue Flag, the prestigious international recognition of the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education), since 2018.
The territory of the Municipality of Bernalda-Metaponto is equipped with an Environmental Management System and can boast of being the only one in Basilicata to have obtained compliance (right certification no. 3905299 LL-C) with ISO 14001:2015 (International Organization for Standardization).