The tip of the Boot, at the crossroads between East and West
Because of its position at the crossroads between West and East, Santa Maria di Leuca has been a bridge between the two seashores for centuries. Located at the southernmost tip of Salento, it is named after the church, also known as Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae. It stands on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Minerva. On the same promontory is the 47-metre-high lighthouse. The church, fortified in the 18th century to defend it from Saracen attacks, stands out against Apulia’s blue sky.
A little further down is the town centre, with a seafront lined by Art Nouveau and eclectic, Moorish-style villas. You can admire the blue pagoda roof of Villa Episcopo, the red towers of the neo-Gothic Palazzo Mellacqua, the red and yellow striped dome of Villa Meridiana, the Egyptian-style Villa Mariuccia and the Moorish-style Villa Daniele.
But Leuca’s history is much older and linked to the many caves along the coast, inhabited since Neolithic times. You can take a boat trip to explore the Giants’ cave, Devil’s cave, Crib cave and Dragon’s cave. Leuca’s seabed is a paradise for divers and snorkelling enthusiasts, while visitors who enjoy trekking or mountain biking can enjoy many inland adventures.