Santa Maria di Leuca is the maritime area of Castrignano (province of Lecce), in the southern point of Salento where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet.
The name comes from the Latin Leukos (light, bright) and the religious Sanctuary, once the site of a Temple of Minerva.
As reported by a Latin inscription placed on the Sanctuary, Saint Peter arrived on the shores of Salento in 43 after Christ (exactly ten years after the death of Christ) and evangelized the area by renaming it “Santa Maria di Leuca”.
Do you want to know something more? Read the article below!
Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Leuca
Santa Maria di Leuca from the Romans was considered as the place where the land was finished.
This is why the Sanctuary was called “De Finibus Terrae”.
The sanctuary was consecrated by Pope Julius I on August 1, 343 A.D.: it has long been and still is a place of pilgrimage.
The Sanctuary has been devastated a lot of times, especially by the Turks and Saracens, and has been rebuilt more or less following the same perimeter walls.
The lighthouse of Santa Maria di Leuca
E’ stupendo il faro di Leuca, tra mare e mare, con accanto un santuario, mèta di pellegrinaggi, nel quale, secondo le credenze, occorre essere stati per accedere al paradiso
cit: Guido Piovene
It is wonderful the lighthouse of Leuca, between sea and sea, with a sanctuary next to it, destination of pilgrimages, in which, according to traditions, you must have been to access paradise
cit: Guido Piovene
The lighthouse is 47 m high from soil level and 102 m from sea level and it offers the possibility to reach the circular terrace and see far away places like Corfù.
From the terrace, you can reach a spectacular view, especially during the sunset, while the sky is painted with vivid colors creating an enchanting atmosphere.
Punta Meliso – Leuca’s promontory
Punta Meliso is the promontory where we can find the lighthouse of Santa Maria di Leuca and where, according to traditions, the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet.
This phenomenon is very interesting to see: it seems that currents of the two seas release both a different tonality opposing each other.
Since 2006 the area of Punta Meliso lies in a protected area, called Costa Otranto Park – with Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase, created to preserve the biodiversity and the beauty of this area.
To enjoy the culture, the beauty of these places, the famous crystal clear Salento sea and the beautiful Salento beaches, choose May or September: these places are particularly frequented in the summer, especially in the middle of August.
Do you know that, along the seafront, can be found the bagnarole, structures reserved for the women of the aristocracy of Salento, who could thus access the sea away from prying eyes and the sun?
Take a deeper look inside the bagnarole: click here!
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