At the bottom of the heel where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea, named “finibus terrae” (end of the earth) by the Romans, Santa Maria di Leuca is a beautiful harbour town with a long esplanade and beach. It is part of the Regional Park “Costa Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca e Bosco di Tricase”.
Santa Maria di Leuca is famous for its 47 metre high lighthouse and the Basilica built to commemorate St Peter’s visit during his travels through Italy. The Basilica is connected to the port by a 184 step staircase.
Leuca is also home to a man-made waterfall, built at the end of the Puglia aqueduct. Started in mid-19th century, the aqueduct was finally completed in 1941 with Leuca being the southern most point.
Principally though Santa Maria di Leuca is about being a holiday resort. The sandy beaches, in the town itself and also close by Felloniche, Posto Vecchio, Torre Vado and Pescoluse are excellent for families and well-equipped with lidos, bars, restaurants and other facilities.
From the centre of Leuca the sandy beaches become more dramatic stretches of coastline, with rocky cliffs that are home to the numerous grottoes marked with Latin and Greek inscriptions. The best way to truly appreciate the coastline here is by taking a boat trip from the harbor. Boat trips are available from June to September, departing from the little porto. Piccola Nautica runs boat trips and also hires out boats.