The origins of Santa Maria di Leuca
The presence in this last flap of the italian peninsula,which wedges itself in the ionian and adriatic sea, dates back to the Bronze Age. Of that period there are in fact, the archaeological finds of various excavations , begun by Ulderico Botti in 1871 and ended by the University of Lecce almost a century later.
The name “Santa Maria di Leuca or De Finibus Terrae” comes from the place called by the Greeks “Leucos”, white ground enlightened by the sun, called by the Romans “De Finibus Terrae”:that is , the borders of the earth, in order to indicate the extreme limit of the “Cives” (Roman citizens), beyond which the “Provinciales” (the settlers) began. Today we tend to call it the “Madonna of frontiers” as the extreme tip of Italy where Maria opens her arms and eastward to break all barriers and make the whole world to be God’s people.
There is a legend narrating that Santa Maria di Leuca (or perhaps Porto Badisco) was the first landing of Aeneas. Later St. Peter landed here , when he arrived from Palestine , and began his work of evangelization, on his way to Rome where he founded the Church. So Leuca looks its name of “Santa Maria di Leuca”. The passage of St.Peter is also documented by the 1694 Corinthian column erected on the square of the Basilica , recently renovated. Pearl in the far corner of Italy, it lies in a stretch of coastline alternating cliffs and small sandy coves. There are numerous caves of great historical and natural interest and its seafloor is a real paradise for diving.
It has a hinterland full of history and culture, beautiful landscapes, magnificent and colorful XIX century villas declining towards the sea. A staircase of 284 steps links the Basilica and the above port becoming a frame for the Apulian Aqueduct, which ending at Leuca, flows in to the sea: the contruction of this work began in 1906, and then , with the beginning of the first world war, the works on it had been stopped and started again only after the conclusion of the war. Therefore the Apulian Aqueduct reached Leuca in 1939, when the work was completed. The monumental staircase and the Roman column which marks its ending were sent from Rome by Benito Mussolini.
Which places you should visit in Santa Maria di Leuca:
- Punta Ristola e Punta Meliso
- Cascata monumentale di Leuca
- Grotta del Diavolo, Grotte Porcinara, Grotta tre porte, Grotta del Drago, Grotta della stalla, Grotta del Presepe, Grotte Cazzafri
- spiaggia di marina di S.gregorio
- Madonna delle Rasce
- erma antica
- santuario di Leuca e il faro
- Canale e ponte del Ciolo
- Torre dell’omomorto
- Parrocchia cristo Re Leuca
A little suggest from us: do snorkeling and explore the sea-floor, a very incredible experience.Taste typical and local products, in A Locanda ti Marchese you could taste typical salentine cousine, we are waiting you!