Did you know that in the heart of Salento there is a location with a thermal park that dates back to the second century BC? Santa Cesarea is located in the province of Lecce, also known by the name of Terme, precisely because its economy and tourism are based precisely on this attraction. The place, in fact, has thermal springs of sulphurous-salty-bromoiodic waters. They have a temperature of 30 degrees and its waters flow from the Gattulla, Solfurea, Fetida and Solfatara caves. Then to safeguard the east coast of Salento which is rich in architectural assets and important animal and vegetable species, it was included in October 2006 in the Costa Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase Park.
Santa Cesarea, a village on the south-eastern coast of Salento
Those who have visited this place consider it rich in magic: from the waterfront to the ancient liberty villas. The historic center also has the Mother Church of the Sacred Heart, very ancient and dating back to the fourteenth century. Thermal baths are located in the lower part of the town, active since the mid-nineteenth century, when the healing properties of the sulphurous water springs were evident. Striking is the rocky cliff, overlooking the sea, full of prehistoric stacks and caves.
History and legends of the thermal waters of Santa Cesarea
The legend or tradition on the waters of Santa Cesarea dates back to the fifteenth century: it is said that a young virgin had fled her father who wanted to do her violence. She found refuge in one of the caves where today the waters of the baths gush out. She remained there for her whole life and according to the Christian tradition, the waters became sulphurous because her father drowned there. But there is another legend on the ownership of these waters: the killing by Hercules of the Leuterni, giants. From their bodies emanated those substances that made the waters sulphurous.
From these legends to the recent history of the city: which soon became an important reality in the tourism scene thanks to its establishment and wellness centers. The thermal baths and muds are particularly suitable for arthro-rheumatic, dermatological, respiratory tract and traumatic diseases, as well as for aesthetic and anti-stress treatments. The Sunday Times also placed Santa Cesarea among the Italian places to visit.
Not just baths, what to visit in the city
There is a lot to visit in Santa Cesarea. From the Mother of the Sacred Heart church, built in the 14th century on the site where according to tradition the Virgin Cesaria died. And then Villa Sticchi, one of the most important expressions of the Moorish style, a genre common in the nineteenth century in some seaside resorts of Salento. The building was built by Giovanni Pasca, the first concessionary of the thermal exploitation of Santa Cesarea. And yet Villa Raffaella, which dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century as the summer residence of Baroness Raffaella of the Lubelli family. The suggestive Palazzo Tamborino sheer from the cliff.