Discovering Castro and Santa Cesarea Terme

We continue our journey on the Adriatic coast of Salento to discover two unmissable places: Castro and Santa Cesarea Terme.

Santa Cesarea Terme is a small village in the province of Lecce located at the mouth of the Canale d’Otranto. The town, built in the 19th century, is situated on a cliff overlooking the sea. The town is known both as a seaside resort and as a spa because of the presence of four grottoes (Fetida, Gattula, Solfatara and Solfurea) where the beneficial waters containing sulfur, iodine, lithium and salt reach a temperature of 30 degrees. The spa of Santa Cesarea was inaugurated in 1910: its waters and sludge are suitable for treating the most common arthralumatic, dermatological, respiratory and aesthetic diseases.

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Santa Cesarea Terme is also known for the presence of churches (the most famous is that of the Sacred Heart of the fourteenth century) and sumptuous vintage villas finished in Lecce stone and adorned with frescoes.

There are also many nightclubs such as the Guendalina and Malè.

Just a short distance from Santa Cesarea, we find Castro, a village halfway between Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca, set on the Salento cliff and considered one of the most beautiful tourist centers on the east coast. The town is distinguished by being divided into two distinct parts: Castro Marina, fishing village close to the sea, and Castro Superiore, a historic village built in the Roman times (Castrum Minervae). Castro has maintained its importance throughout the Middle Ages preserving its beauty in architectural works such as the Aragonese Castle of the sixteenth century, the Byzantine Church of the tenth century.

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The town offers visitors a wide view of the sea and is a favorite place for dives with its rich seaside and submerged grottoes. The most famous is the Zinzulusa Cave, one of the most spectacular Karst phenomena of all Salento. The name comes from Zinzuli, rags in Salento, how stalactites and stalagmites of the cavity appear.

GROTTA-zinzulusa

Zinzulusa, discovered in 1793 by the local bishop Antonio Francesco del Duca, was inhabited by man in prehistoric times. Ideally it divides the cave into three zones (entrance, crypt and bottom), and has both marine and spring waters of a very intense blue. You can visit the cave thanks to a guided tour service.