Santa Maria di Leuca: A Journey to the Ends of the Earth 🇮🇹✨

Santa Maria di Leuca - Apulia

Discover the southernmost point in Salento, Santa Maria di Leuca, a hamlet of Castrignano del Capo in the Province of Lecce. This picturesque town enchants visitors with its ancient history, colorful landscapes, and serene atmosphere.

At the heart of the town lies the Basilica of Santa Maria De Finibus Terrae, which translates to “at the ends of the earth.” This beautiful church has been a sanctuary and a fortress throughout history.

The famous lighthouse, standing 157 ft tall and 335 ft above sea level, shares the promontory with the Basilica. Stroll along the charming coast, adorned with oleanders and Art Nouveau villas, and take in the vibrant atmosphere of Marina di Leuca, nestled between Punta Mèliso and Punta Ristola.

The 19th-century villas, despite their turbulent past, remain a popular tourist attraction, open for interior visits in May.

A visit to Leuca offers a deep dive into a rich history marked by rupestrian settlements, crypts, churches, castles, hundred-year-old olive trees, hidden coves, and inlets. The town’s mesmerizing blue sea invites fishermen and tourists to explore nearby grottoes, such as dei Giganti, del Presepe, del Diavolo, and del Drago, which were Neolithic Era settlements.

Today, local tourism groups organize boat tours and underwater excursions to these grottoes. The Grotta del Diavolo, or Devil’s Grotto, is named after an urban legend of demons inhabiting the cave, while the Grotta del Presepe is famous for its stalactite formations resembling a Nativity Scene.

Santa Maria di Leuca is part of the Otranto Coastal Park – Santa Maria di Leuca and Tricase Forest, created to preserve the plant, animal, and architectural treasures of the Apulian coast.

Located about 43.5 mi from Lecce, Leuca embodies Salento’s essence with its distinct fragrances, sounds, and colors. Experience the Taranta music, savor the flavors of tomatoes, olive oil, and oregano atop traditional frise, and marvel at the blending blues of the sky and sea.

Embark on a unique journey to Santa Maria di Leuca and immerse yourself in the charm of “the ends of the earth.”

error: © Palazzo Terra d'Otranto
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