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Trip PlannerEurope  /  Italy  /  Puglia  /  Province of Lecce  /  Santa Cesarea Terme

Santa Cesarea Terme

Beaches · Outdoor Activities · Bodies of Water
Santa Cesarea Terme is a town and comune of 3,100 inhabitants in province of Lecce, in Apulia, southern Italy.Situated on the coast at the entrance of the Strait of Otranto, on a part of the coast which comes down to the sea, the town of Santa Cesarea is one of the largest centers for thermal baths in the Salento. The use of the waters, coming from four caves, dates back to 1500. The economy of the whole town is based on the baths, which offer various facilities.There are two legends, one Christian, the other pagan, which explain the origins of the town. The pagan story says that the coastal area, which for hundreds of years was called Leuterni was named after the giants called Leuterni. Greek mythology states that the Giants Leuterni conducted a war against the Gods. They were thought to be unbeatable because they were made hard in the fire and sulfur of the area. Hercules defeated some of them, however, at the Phlegraean Fields near Naples. Other giants escaped and hid in the caves of the Salento coast, the present site of Santa Cesarea. The decaying of their bodies seeped into the ground causing the water to become sulfurous. Around the 15th century the pagan myth was replaced by another Christian story. At that time the Lido Leuterno was called Santa Cisaria, and then Santa Caesarea. The popular tradition explains that a young girl named Cisaria ran away from home and hid in the Sulfurous Cave, escaping from her father who desired her. He succeeded to find her in the cave, but sudden bursts of sulfur saved the girl from him. In both legends the sulfurous waters are caused by the decay of the bodies of evil ones. but in the Christian legend the waters become purified by the young, Christian girl, and now the waters have healing properties.
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