Adriatic coast, in Salento, is for sure the most interesting coastal part, both from a naturalistic and a panoramic point of view.
San Foca’s coast
San Foca is only 3km from our agriturismo. There you can find San Basilio beach –in the north side of San Foca- wonderful lido by day, it turns into “mamanera” at night, one of the most important reference point for international raggae festivals.
Going along towards the Southern area, you will find a beach named “Caciulara” because of the abundance of “Caciuli”, fishes in dialect. There you can appreciate “Isulasce” –from the dialect, literally tiny islands- which are actually characteristic rocks and at the same time the real distinctiveness of this place, among these for example “Lo scoglio dell’otto”. In San Foca there are also “Fontanelle” beach and “Li Marangi” beach. The former is named after an ancient source of fresh water.
Roca vecchia and Grotta della Poesia
Continuing along the South, your itinerary will bring you to Roca Vecchia where you will have the chance to appreciate one of the most amazing places in Salento : “Grotta della Poesia”, literally “Cave of Poetry”. National Geographic listed it between the best ten natural pools in the world. So it’s no surprise that hundreds of tourists everyday dive into its crystalline water. Grotta della Poesia is located in an archaeological site where they have found ancient remains dating back even to Messapian age (IV-III b.C.).
Torre dell’Orso e Sant’Andrea
Leaving behind Roca Vecchia you will get to Torre dell’Orso, one of the best known beaches in Salento where you can admire the most famous stack known as “Le due sorelle”. And if you want to taste one of the typical dessert, don’t miss the chance to eat a “pasticciotto” at “Pasticceria Dentoni” located right in front of the beach.
Following the path you will arrive in Sant’Andrea, where you can enjoy a breath-taking panorama framing the so called “Tafaluro” a rock also known as “La sfinge”, due to its similarity to the most famous Egyptian construction. In Sant’Andrea you will have the chance to spend a pleasant night listening to some good music in front of the sea at “Babilonia”, a popular bar-pizza restaurant.
The next stop will be Otranto, but before you get there you will find the famous beach “Baia dei Turchi”, literally “Turk’s bay” whose name reminds Otranto’s history. Otranto is the most Eastern small town developed around the Aragonese castle, where tiny streets and alleys are full of traditional shops and everything is enveloped in an Oriental atmosphere. This halo dates back to 1480, when Turks besieged the city and killed more than 800 inhabitants who did not want to convert to the Islamic faith. The crypt of the amazing cathedral of Otranto preserves the memory of this fight, there you will have the chance to admire a breath-taking mosaic.
Porto Badisco and Santa Cesarea
As soon as you pass Otranto, the coast starts to change its gradient, from the most Eastern point it reconnects to Leuca, the most Southern tip. The first place you’ll meet is “Porto Badisco” : legend goes that it has been the first Aenea’s dock in Italy –from Virgil’s Aeneid-. Being a kind of bay, it is shielded from the wind and for this reason a valid alternative to San Foca on windy days.
Going along the coastal street you will find Santa Cesarea Terme whose hallmarks are the high and rocky coast and the thermal baths. The latter, thanks to their sulphurous springs, have important healing effects.
Continuing towards Santa Maria di Leuca don’t miss the chance to stop at “Ponte Ciolo” before you get to the southmost tip of the heel of Italy where Adriatic and Ionian sea meet.