The ancient village of Santa Cesarea is located almost at the end of the Salento peninsula, overlooking, among wild cliffs, on the Otranto canal. On a terrace overlooking the sea, the town enjoys a mild climate all year round, mild in winter and cool in summer.
The urban development started at the beginning of the twentieth century: it is possible to admire the villas of the rich salentine bourgeoisie, with the original architectural structures born from the fusion between the Arabic influence and the Lecce Baroque.
Santa Cesarea owes its fortune to the sulphurous springs, which favored the birth and development of a thriving thermal activity.
In this sense, there are two other places of particular attraction: the Great Sulfur Pool, which captures sea water and mixes it with that which springs from thermo-mineral springs; the Bagno degli Archi, from whose waters emerge characteristic tufa monoliths that make up a very suggestive landscape.
Since October 2006 part of its territory is part of the Costa Otranto Park, Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Trifase, established by the Puglia Region in order to safeguard the eastern coast of Salento, rich in valuable architectural heritage and important animal and plant species.
Healing properties of the waters
The chlorinated, sulphurous and iodic waters of the thermal springs of Santa Cesarea Terme flow, at variable temperatures, into four natural caves, communicating with the sea, called: Gattulla, Fetida, Sulfurea and Solfatara.
It seems that their beneficial effect was known from ancient times to the inhabitants of the area. A Christian legend tells that the virgin Cisaria, taking refuge in a cave to escape the incestuous cravings of her father, transmitted her purity to the waters. Their scientific exploitation dates back to the late nineteenth century and, above all, to the early twentieth century when the Gattulla Spa Establishment (1910) was inaugurated.
The thermal baths and muds are particularly indicated for arthro-rheumatic, dermatological, respiratory tract diseases, as well as for aesthetic and anti-stress treatments. They are also treated skin diseases, locomotor apparatus, respiratory affections, diseases of urinary and gynecological origin.
How to get to Santa Cesarea Terme
By car: S.S. 16 Lecce-Otranto and detour to Maglie for km 19 on S.S. 497.
By train: Lecce-Gagliano del Capo line, Poggiardo station, 8 km.