Heart of Salento perfect for sea lovers
Santa Maria di Leuca (or "Lèviche" in local dialect) is a fraction of Lecce that has about 1.000 inhabitants. It is located between Serra di Vereto and the adriatic coast, 121 meters above the sea level, mostly covered in pinewoods and olive groves with the typical mediterranean climate: winters are far from cold (10°C) while summers are particularly hot and humid (35°C-37°C). Santa Maria di Leuca owes its name to the white rocks that overlook the sea ("Leuca" comes from the greek word "leucòs", meaning "white"). It is also known because of two famous legends according to which it was the first italian landing of Enea and San Pietro: the first was running away from Troy, the second came from Palestine.
The most representative elements of Santa Maria di Leuca are the nineteenth-century villas built with different styles. This fraction still has 40 villas (built by the architects Ruggeri and Rossi) that unfortunately did not preserve their original appearance: during the war, almost all of them were damaged and some of them were deprived of their metallic elements that were used to produce arms. It is impossible not to visit its important religous structures: the eighteenth-century Basilica of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae; the church of Cristo Re, right at the centre of Leuca's marine, which hosts an important statue of the Virgin Mary.
Santa Maria di Leuca is a beach and fishing locality set in the bay between Punta Ristola and Punta Meliso, in a magic location where the Adriatic sea meets the Ionian sea. It is situated on a coastline where cliffs alternate with small sandy inlets. Its numerous grottos are a real paradise for the underwater tourism. Almost all of the coastal canyons are reachable by boat and the many evidences that were found here testify that men have been establishing in this area since the Paleolithic.
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