Hydra Boat Excursions at Otranto from Salento

Santa Cesarea Terme and Porto Miggiano

Despite the unique properties of its healing waters (dating back to the second century B.C.), construction of Santa Caesarea’s urban center came very late due to its geographical isolation in the harsh rocky territories of Salento. Only after the construction of a main road in the nineteenth century did Santa Caesarea begin development of its famous spas and bathing pools.

The famous mineral waters and mud baths are an important component in the city’s development and economy. These healing waters flow from four separate caves: “Gattulla”, “Solfatara”, “Solfurea” and “Fetid”.

Pagan myth links the creation of these mineral waters to the decomposed bodies of the Leuterni giants killed by Heracles.

Instead, the Christian version tells the story of Caesarea (also called “Cisaria”), a devout Christian girl who chose monastic life to escape her evil father and his incestuous marriage proposals. After Caesarea rejected the demands of her father, he followed her into the sea to kill her. However, Caesarea escaped into a cave and was saved from the flames that engulfed her father instead. His body was swallowed up by the waves.

“Villa Sticchi” represents an important example of the Moorish style, a popular genre of architecture during nineteenth century Salento. The building was constructed by Giovanni Pasca, the same man who opened Santa Cesarea’s thermal waters to visitors, between 1894 and 1900.

Porto Miggiano is located in Santa Cesarea Terme. Here visitors can observe “Torre Miggiano” – a famous tower built to protect Salento’s shoreline. The tower was crafted by local minors who relied on quarries in the area for construction materials.

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