TOURIST SERVICES OTRANTO, TORRE DELL’ORSO,
                                              SANTA CESAREA TERME

   Our tips:

   1.   Beach Clubs
   2.   Where to eat
   3.   Getting around
   4.   Sport in the Salento
   5.   Things to see

                                 Tourist Services – OTRANTO

A Brief History:

Otranto (Hydruntum in Roman days), is situated between the Valley of Idro and the Adriatic
Sea, and was for many centuries the political, cultural and commercial centre of the Salento,
which is still called “The Terrain of Otranto”. The origin of the city and its name can be traced
to the first colonisation by Magna Graecia, who made this city the most important port on the
east coast of Italy and the bridge between the eastern and western Mediterranean. Otranto
was rased to the ground by the Turks in 1480 but played a primary role in the history of the
south of Italy, especially during the Middle Ages, the crusades, the period of struggle between
the papacy and the empire, between the Byzantines, Goths and Longobards, the Normans (the
superb cathedral was built in this period), Swabians, Angevins until the arrival of the
Aragonese. The city retains more or less visible traces of the passage of all of these cultures,
especially in its works of art. Otranto is blessed with an exceptionally mild climate practically
all year round as well as having always enjoyed an inestimable patronage of the arts.

   1. Beach Clubs:

        •      ATLANTIS
                73028 - Otranto / sandy bay
                Tel: 0836-804080
        •      BAIA DEI TURCHI
                 73028 – Otranto / Alimini area/ sandy coves
                 Tel: 0836-801522
        •      LIDO ACQUA CHIARA
                73028 Otranto – Alimini / large beach
                Tel.: 338 2466059
   •      CIRCOLO ENEA
          Porto Badisco - Otranto
          Woods / equipped for free time with access to sea – rocky
          Tel.: 340 31824006

2. Where to eat:

    In Otranto:
       - Restaurant “Dal Baffo”
           Lungomare Terra d’Otranto – 0836 801 636
       - Restaurant “Da Sergio”
           Corso Garibaldi – 0836 801 408
       - Restaurant “Zia Fernanda” –
            Via XXV Aprile – 0836 801 884
    In the surrounding area:
       - Agriturismo “La Torre”
           At Orte – 0836 801 233
       - Restaurant Masseria “Gatta Mora”
           Via Campo Sportivo 33 - Uggiano la Chiesa - 0836 817936
           (About 9km from Otranto)
       - Restaurant “Il Follaro”
           Giuggianello - 333 2042168 (About 15km from Otranto)
       - Restaurant “Al Palazzo”
           Giuggianello – 329 0629988 (About 15km from Otranto)
       - Restaurant “Al Castello”
           Giuggianello – 330 517790 (About 15km from Otranto)

3. Getting Around


Autoservizi srl / Zecca
Car, bus and minibus rental, transfer service from the station/ airport/ etc, taxi
0836 802195
335 7220047

Auto 2000 – Car / Scooter Hire
0836 801218

Giannetta – Scooter Hire
0836 804658

Stefano – Car Hire
0836 801238

De Cicco - Motorbike/ scooter Hire
0836 804471

- Mr. Andrea Baldi
  339 7998073
- Scuba Diving
  0836 802740
- Leganavale (for information on hiring a boat)
  0836 801141

  Assistance:   E-mail:
                 Tel.:   0832 23 29 28

  4. Sport in the Salento



  Via San Francesco di Paola, 43 Otranto (LE)
  Tel/Fax 0836802740
  Directors: Levanto S. - Caroppo U.
  Open all year round


  Location Orte - Otranto (LE)
  Tel +39 0836 801 302
  Fax +39 0836 802 048
  Open all year round.
  Italian, Spanish and English spoken.
  Equipment for hire.


  Litoranea Otranto/S.Cesarea Terme
  Porto Badisco (LE)
  Tel/Fax +39 0836 801 302
  Open from March to October.
  Italian and English spoken.
  Equipment for hire.
   Assistance:       E-mail:
                       Tel.:   0832 23 29 28



   Via Cimabue, 27 Calimera ( LE )
   Cell. 335-8326721
   Open from January to December
   Minimum age: 18 years old
   Courses available: open sea navigation – school during cruise -
   Beginners – Pre cruise

   •   SalentoSail
   Services: Sail boat charter, with or without a skipper, sailing school and courses for sailing
   license, delivery service to transfer boats from one port to another.
   For information: +39 0832 232928


    Via De Mura . Acaya
   73029 - Vernole
   Tel: 0832.39.34.99

   5. Things to see:


Completed and opened in 1088, it is the largest church (54m long, 25m wide) in the whole of
Puglia. The façade clearly shows the imprint of Puglian Romanesque. The Renaissance rose-
window is particularly noteworthy, being circular with the divisions converging at the centre
according to the Gothic-Arab style present in Puglia during the Aragonese period. The portal is
a baroque super structure from the second half of the 18th century. The interior is divided into
three naves and has an impressive air of austerity. There are 14 polished granite columns, of
which two are monolithic. Of the magnificent capitals, two are of the Ionic order with Attic
bases. The ceiling of the central nave is coffered with gold-plated wood, from the end of the
17th century, while the main altar-frontal, in gold, is the work of a Neapolitan gold smith in the
18th century. Traces of the Byzantine age are apparent in the wall frescoes, scattered around
the interior of the temple and the crypt. The floor mosaic is of incomparable value, created by
a monk from the Abbey of S. Nicola dei Casole (a Basilian monastery about 3km from Otranto,
now reduced to ruins), between 1163 and 1166. This work of art, unique in the south of Italy,
survived (as did the cathedral) the violent Turkish invasion. It is made up of polichrome
tessera, of hard, local limestone. The stylistic inspiration is Romanesque, with some Byzantine
contamination; the theme is biblical with figures from Carolingian, Alexandrian and Breton
mythological cycles.
The three allegorical trees of the nave are a fantastic “projection” of the human story. In the
chapel of the apse in the right hand nave there are seven large cupboards containing the relics
of the Martyrs of Otranto. These are the remains of more than 800 citizens whose throats were
slit by the Turks on the Hill of Minerva (on the south east edge of the city), on the 14th August
1480, for not renouncing Christianity. Due to this event Otranto is also known as the “City of
the Martyrs”. The crypt is also of great historical and artistic value. It is from the 12th century
and has an almost Classical form with three apses and five naves. The splendid capitals are in
various different styles, from Roman to Corinthian and Ionic, and are the work of several
sculptors active in Otranto in the 10th century.


This church is found in the heart of the old city. It is one of the only few monuments of its kind
still existing in Italy. It was officiated by Greek clerics, who peacefully coexisted for centuries
with the Latin clergy of Otranto. The entrance would have originally been preceded by a
“protiro”, as indicated by the two doric columns at the much later Byzantine church of S.
Stefano at Soleto (25km from Otranto inland). The body of the basilica, in the Greek cross
form, is divided into three small naves, supported by eight columns: four in the centre,
supporting the drumless dome, with open windows in the lower part to air the mausoleum of
Theodoric; the other four are partly set in the walls. The three apses are parallel and projected
in a semicircular form. The Byzantine paintings are unmissable, especially those in the left
hand nave which are particularly visible.


The actual castle (or citadel), with the towers, ramparts and walls, is the work of the Aragonese
of Naples, after they had reconquered Otranto from the hands of the Turks (1481). Ciro Ciri
was the architect, a military engineer at the court of Urbino, with the advice of Francesco di
Giorgio Martini. During the times of the viceroyalty, a furthur rebuild of the castle and the
ramparts was completed under the Toledos (1535). The Towers Alfonsina, Duchessa and
Ippolita are all especially interesting as is the rampart called “il Fortino” (the fort). The whole
defensive system of Otranto was significantly undermined by the Napoleonic troops (at the
beginning of the 19th century).


In spite of the extensive building in Otranto, the historic centre has maintained its incomparable
urban beauty intact. The streets are all convergent, in a compact architectonic plan, on the
cathedral. They are narrow, paved in local stone and unravel themselves snaking between the
white houses. Life in the centre still pulsates to the echoes of millenia, in an incessant dialogue
between towers and ramparts, more lively on the days when there is an easterly or tramontana
wind. The wind penetrates the alleyways, pursuing relentlessly the huge, granite boulders
which were catapulted into the city during the Turkish bombardment of 1480, and have
remained there just outside the houses as a reminder of the glorious history of Otranto.


This is the centre from which radiates the religious and civilian history of Otranto. The church
was constructed for the faithful to worship at the beginning of the 13th century and was
dedicated to the Martyrs of Otranto, in memory of their faith for which they gave their lives in
August 1480. The church was built exactly on this site, on the summit of the hill where the
martyrs lost their lives, which until the classical period was called The Hill of Minerva. The
church is also known as S. Francesco di Paola.

The port of Otranto divides two different types of coastline. One goes from the white rock and
evergreen bushes of the small Gulf of Orte, where the ancient Torre del Serpe and Torre
dell’Idro still stand, seeming to still challenge the wind after centuries, to the high rocky cliff
tops of the picturesque and evocative coastline of promontories and coves to the south, until
Santa Cesarea. Here there are four thermal springs in as many caves, all connected by various
thermal establishments for hydrotherapy with radio active mud, inhalation and vapour cures.
Nearby, at the foot of the cliffs, one can find the famous caves “Zinzulusa” and “Romanelli”,
interesting to tourists and scientists due to the prehistoric material discovered in them.


The coast to the north of Otranto is no less delightful, leading from the riviera of Haethei to the
Alimini Lakes. The flora is of particular interest in this area. The maritime pine tree (pinus
pinaster) is the tree which flourishes here, between the sand dunes and the lakes, together
with the typical mediterranean scrub. The Alimini Lakes are a well-known part of the Otranto
area. They are two basins with different physiognomies: the south lake, called Fontanelle,
rises from an underground spring; its banks are rocky and the water is fresh while the other
lake “Big Alimini” is fed by the Fontanelle via a canal and is closed to the sea by the sand
dunes. On this band of dunes in front of Big Alimini, the tamarice and juniper plants mix with
the mastic tree, rosemary and myrtle. The lakes contain various fish (mullet, bass, sole and
large eels) which are caught and exported to Italian and European markets every day.


The small and delightful valley of Badisco (or Vadisco), is four miles south-east of the territory
of Otranto, sloping towards the sea creating the port of the same name between the two
headlands Punta Scuru and Capo Palascìa. Legend has it that it was the first land that Aeneas
touched on his journey to Italy. The beautiful countryside at Badisco is also an exceptionally
important area of research into prehistory. The discovery of the Grotta del Cervo in 1970, is
the most recent of many finds, significantly remains of industrial tools from the Neolithic and
Upper Palaeolithic periods in 1904. Wall paintings were discovered in the cave, which give an
impression of human civilisation in the passage from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Mesolithic
period. Some of the figures at Badisco are similar to those found in the Spanish cave “Mas

                            Tourist Services, TORRE DELL’ORSO

Torre dell’Orso is a beach resort on the Adriatic coast which can be reached by the coastal road
between Otranto and San Cataldo. During the summer months it is popular with tourists and
local people who have summer houses there or who go to the tourist villages which have been
recently constructed. There is a lookout tower on a high, rocky headland, built in 1568. The
bay is particularly interesting because of its pine woods and the mediterranean scrub. On the
southern point of the bay there is a man-made cave carved into the white, limestone cliff,
called the “Grotta di San Cristoforo”, which was possibly already in use before the 4th century
B.C. There are two rocks emerging from the sea on the southern tip of the protected bay of
Torre dell’Orso, called the Two Sisters. They are named after the legend of two sisters who
drowned there, their screams attracting the attention of a fisherman, who saw nothing except
these two, identical rocks. Disconcerted that he had never before noticed these two natural
wonders, he decided to call the place “the Two Sisters”. In August, the village organises the
“Feast of Olives”, with stalls of various gastronomic delights.

   1. Beach Clubs:

        Location Torre dell'Orso
        73026 - Melendugno
        Tel: 0832 841007
   •    LIDO OASI
        VIA RISORGIMENTO 51- Torre Dell'Orso
        73026 - Melendugno
        Tel: 0832 841674

   2. Where to eat:

   •    Taverna del Pesce
        Villaggio Malama
        73026 – Torre dell’Orso /Melendugno
        Tel: 335 6163757

   3. Sport in the Salento

        Via San Foca
        73026 - Melendugno
        Tel: 0832.83.48.94

       DIVE CENTRES: → Otranto

                           Tourist Services, SANTA CESAREA TERME

Santa Cesarea Terme is immersed in a natural wilderness, protected by a rocky headland and
extends along a flat plain on top of steep-to cliffs which plunge into the blue/emerald green of
the Straits of Otranto.
The coastal road runs along the cliff tops of this sheer and jagged coastline with the deep,
crystal clear sea below, into which are carved natural caves of varying dimensions. Santa
Cesarea Terme stands out on this spectacular and wild tract, characterised by the languid,
decorative architecture of the early 20th century.

Santa Cesarea Terme is situated on a long stretch of coast which boasts several thermal
springs. The chlorinated, sulphurous and iodic waters rise at various temperatures from four
natural caves on the sea, named Gattulla, Fetida, Sulfurea and Solfatara. The beneficial effects
of these springs have long since been known to the inhabitants of the area, but were not
acknowledged scientifically until the end of the 19th century, but really since the beginning of
the 20th century, when the Gattulla thermal spa was established in 1910.
The baths and the thermal mud are particularly good for rheumatic pains, skin conditions,
respiratory problems, after traumas as well as for appearance and antistress.

But Santa Cesarea Terme is not associated only with thermal cures, medicine and health; the
village also offers many activities for amusement and entertainment including: dance,
swimming, horse-riding, diving in the crystal clear sea, trekking and long walks in the clean,
uncontaminated air of the Salento.
(information: ).

   1. Beach Clubs:

       •   GLI ARCHI
           Via Fontanelle
           73020 - Santa Cesarea Terme
           Tel: 0836 944214

   2. Where to eat:

       •   Restaurant “Conchiglia San Giovanni”
       •   v. Prov. Cerfignano
           73020 - Santa Cesarea Terme
           Tel: 0836 949810
       •   Restaurant Masseria “Gatta Mora”
       •   Via Campo Sportivo 33 - Uggiano la Chiesa - 0836 817936
           (About 10km from Otranto)
       •   Restaurant “Al Palazzo”
             Giuggianello – 329 0629988 (about 13km from S.C.Terme)
       •   Restaurant “Al Castello”
             Giuggianello – 330 517790 (about 13km from S.C.Terme)
       •   Restaurant "Masseria Panareo"
             Via Litoranea Otranto - Porto Badisco Tel: 0836.812.999

   4. Sport in the Salento

       •   OPUNTIA (Tennis/Mini football)
           Coast road for Castro
           73020 - Santa Cesarea Terme
           Tel: 0836.94.97.40


       •   Onda Blu Diving Centre
           Excursions at sea
           Porto Miggiano – for dive boat
           Tel. 0836/949753 - 0832/340780
       •   ONDA BLU
           Santa Cesarea Terme (LE)
           Open all year round.
           Equipment for hire.

      Assistance:      E-mail:
                         Tel.:   0832 23 29 28

   5. Health Clubs:

Thermal Springs at Santa Cesarea
73020 Santa Cesarea Terme (LE) - Via Roma, 32
Tel: 0836.944070 / 0836.944148 / 0836.944314

   6. Things to see:

Between Diso and Santa Cesarea Terme are the most important caves on the Salento coast, to
which are attached many legenda: “La Palombara” which accommodates hundreds of ring-
doves; the “Zinzuluza” (see Castro), with its superb stalactites and stalagmites creating the
effect of hanging clothes. The name comes from the word “zinzuli” in dialect which means
“hanging clothes”.
The most celebrated of all is the nearby “Grotta Romanelli” where traces of human civilisation
have been discovered, dating back to the Palaeolithic until the Metal Age. The first finds were
the wall paintings “graffiti”, then alongside these were found surprising, scattered animal
remains of hot climate fauna, such as elephant, rhinoceros and hippopotamus, and cold climate
fauna, such as ibex and great auk and northern penguin, a bird with tiny wings which is almost
incapable of flying.

From Santa Cesarea Terme, along the most beautiful stretch of coastal road in the Salento, one
can visit: San Foca, the Alimini Lake region, Porto Badisco, Castro, Porto Miggiano, Tricase
Marina and Plain, Novaglie, Otranto, Leuca, and see other caves such as the cave “dei Diavoli”,
the “Grotte dei Cervi” and the “Grotta Grande” (at Badisco), which preserves remains of a
Neolithic village.

      Resort S.r.l. – Lecce – Italy - Tel: 0832 232928 –

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