Santa Maria di Leuca The Town Between Two Seas

“From the eastern sea,
Curving in an arc,
The thick foaming waves break
Against their opposing rocky masses.
Hidden from sight,
Sheltered behind its double seawalls,
Lies the internal port,
From where the hilly land rises
Towards the far-off temple.”

So wrote Virgil in the 3rd book of The Aeneid,
describing the hero's approach to the Japigo promontory, home to Leuca...

  • What are the local restaurants like?
    A brilliant mix of traditional and modern Italian cooking using locally sourced ingredients including fantastic fresh fish caught by local fisherman.
  • What is the local weather like?
    Being positioned in the centre of the Mediterranean the weather is good all year round, winter months bring cooler temperatures but jumper as oppose to coat weather. Summer brings beautiful balmy conditions.
  • What are the beaches like?
    Santa Maria di Leuca is principally, about the sea. The sandy beaches at nearby Felloniche, Posto Vecchio, Torre Vado and Pescoluse are excellent for families and well-equipped with lidos, bars, restaurants and other facilities, while the more dramatic stretches of coastline, as described by Virgil, feature rocky cliffs pierced with around 30 Karstic grottoes. The best way to truly these fascinating geological formations is by boat and there is no shortage of local sailors ready to take you out to sea off the coast where the world ends!
  • What is the history of the town?
    Beside Virgil's description, Leuca has long been mentioned in history: Thucydides, Sallustius, Strabo and Horace all mentioned the town in historical and literary texts, while documents attest to St. Peter sojourning there on his way to Rome. The town’s name comes from the Greek Leukos, meaning light or luminous, while the appendage of Santa Maria refers specifically to the religious sanctuary built on a site high above the harbour, once home to a Temple of Minerva. Legend has it that the temple crumbled to the ground as St. Peter passed through… The sanctuary, also known as the Basilica De Finibus Terrae (Leuca was where the land ended for the Romans), was consecrated by Pope Julius I on 1st August 343 AD. It has long been a place of pilgrimage and is particularly busy around the middle of August each year. On 14th August the statue of the Virgin is collected from the sanctuary and taken to the Church of Cristo Re, where she remains for the night. On 15th August, the Catholic festival of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the statue is paraded through the streets and down to the port. Here it is placed on board a specially festooned fishing boat which, accompanied by a flotilla of well-wishers, chugs across the sea to the port of San Gregorio and back. Once the statue is safely back in the sanctuary, it is time for the fireworks and general partying to begin.
  • Can we book a year in advance?
    Yes we welcome and recommend early bookings, especially around the peak months as the area is very popular with Italian nationals.