Santa Maria di Leuca is a town full of suggestions, different souls, history and inspiration. Let’s get to know it better
Santa Maria di Leuca is a very suggestive point of interest in Salento.
About 80 km away from the city of Lecce, the path to reach it is rich in beauty, which runs along from the coast that sees the Ionian Sea flowing on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other, or from the florid and Mediterranean hinterland.
Santa Maria di Leuca is an apex, a limit that unites the two souls of Salento, the one linked to the Ionian Sea and the one linked to the Adriatic.
Well, actually the Ionian and the Adriatic are not just two seas that bathe the Salento from two sides, but they are two different ways of experiencing the sea that have, in some way, over the centuries, also marked two different ways of being in the world among the inhabitants of the territory.
Rocky and iridescent the Adriatic, emerald green and restless being exposed to different winds;
blue, almost always calm and accompanied by sandy beaches, the Ionian.
These are the two souls of Salento and they meet here, in this mother-city that brings together the soul of those who live and those who travel here.
What to see in Santa Maria di Leuca and surroundings: the hotspots of the town
- Chiesa del Cristo Re, a Romanesque-Gothic church in the center of the town.
- Basilica of Santa Maria De Finibus Terrae, located on the Japigeo promontory. It is said that this Basilica was in ancient times the temple of the goddess Minerva transformed into a place of Christian worship by St. Peter, who stopped here during his journey to Rome.
- Marian Column (right on the square in front of the Basilica)
- Leuca lighthouse, 102 meters high, 48 of which are above sea level
- Porto Vecchio, to be reached from the Basilica through a beautiful walking path, which winds through two flights of stairs of 300 steps each until reaching the
- Roman column
- The Art Nouveau villas, many of which stand out in beauty and can already be seen from the driveways as you approach the city. They tell an alternative story to that of the Baroque for which the artistic Salento is known.
From a naturalistic point of view, Santa Maria di Leuca is particularly appreciated by lovers of scuba diving and paleontology.
Its marvelous “caves” unite lovers of nature excursions and ancient history.
The outposts that we suggest you see are the Caves of Rada, the Caves of Ponente and the Caves of Levante, the Grotta Porcinara and the Grotta del Diavolo, among the most famous and accessible by land.
Then there are the Grotta del Fiume, the Grotta Treporte, the Grotta dei Giganti, the Grotta della Stalla, the Grotta del Drago, the Grotta Grande del Ciolo.
A territory that combines intense green and the blue of the sea
The territory and the city of Santa Maria di Leuca is often and for obvious legitimate reasons associated with the sea. It is actually also a very green area, with a dense Mediterranean scrub.
A similar scenario is present in the charming villas that you can rent for your stay, such as Villa Le Macchie, whose swimming pool is literally protected and embraced on one side by the dense (private) forest of Mediterranean pines and on the other by the sea.
We know well that the Salento area is also linked to olive trees in the imagination of those who love to travel and get to know the city and nature.
In fact, the “wild” nature of the pine forests is joined by that more reassuring and “orderly” landscape of olive groves, in this case the most resilient ones that have resisted and still resist the terrible Xylella epidemic of recent years.
We see beautiful ones accompanying the landscape of Villa Maria, with a minimal, retro and clean style and with shabby and vintage details that will leave lovers of the kind enchanted.
Santa Maria di Leuca and surroundings will allow you to experience aspects of Salento that are impossible to feel and see clearly elsewhere: from the dichotomy between classic and modern, wild and anthropic … Adriatic and Ionian.