Puglia is a region that from north to south is wearing ever-changing clothes, and at times it seems to play challenging the collective imagination by tapping it into creating tales populated by legendary characters.
Spa and blue sea
It happens to Santa Cesarea Terme, which owes the first part of its name to the myth of Caesarea, a young virgin who took refuge in a cave to escape the incestuous wishes of his father. It is to her that, according to this legend, the unique beneficial features of chlorinated, sulfuric and iodic waters that flow out into the four natural caves connected with the sea: Gattulla, Fetida, Sulfurea and Solfatara.
The landscape is dominated by the cliff high and overhanging the sea and the green pine forest on the other side while developing within the fractions of Cerfignano and Vitigliano.
Three of the towers in the territory of Santa Cesarea look directly at the sea: Torre Minervino, Torre Specchia La Guardia and Torre Miggiano, tireless watchers of the horizon planted by the Turkish danger, while the Torre di Santa Cesarea is coming in the peaks of the pines.
Today from the high cliffs around the Porto Miggiano Tower you will admire Punta Meliso that overlooks the Punta Ristola view, last edge of earth of Cape of Puglia. And on clear days, the glimpse extends to the Albanian coast, and even the profiles of the Greek islands of Corfu and Othoni are visible.
The second part of the name of the small town, added in 1929, is due to the presence of the Terme. Known since antiquity, they were valued at the beginning of the 20th century with the inauguration of the Gattulla Spa. In the first decades of the last century are also the other symbols of Santa Cesarea: Villa Sticchi, Villa Raffaella and Palazzo Tamborino.
The two villas look like two ladies lurking in a living room, arranged opposite each other: they seem to converse among themselves with their conveniences and poisonous chatters. The first one, proven by the time it passed that had faded the facade, broke the beautiful decorations, wiped out the large dome symbol of the town peaked on the sea, looks the second with badly envied.
Villa Raffaella, already younger because it was built more than thirty years after its next door, can boast a recent lifting that made its reborn and return to its old beauty (we talk more widely in the post devoted to Sognidoro).
Palazzo Tamborino, also known as Miramare Palace, develops imposing but harmoniously on the sea side and was built in the early twentieth century by senator Vincenzo Tamborino. It was a rental property, but it was also used for casinos.
Returning to the spa, those in Santa Cesarea offer therapeutic treatments, including the most requested ones – as Dr. Rocco Bleve’s health director tells us – are inhalation, mud therapy and rhinogenic deafness.
On request you can also undergo natural medicine treatments.
The importance of the Santa Cesarea spa is due to the fact that they are the only sulfur water spas in Puglia.
Together with Adriana Calora, we visited the “Palazzo” spa where, in addition to peeking in the rooms dedicated to mud-therapy and massage treatments in the welness spa and treatments in the thermal spa, I also took advantage of myself to submit myself to inhalation and aerosol, a real cure-all for my nose often stuck!
Then we also got the chance to get off the Grotto Fetida, reopened to the public after more than twenty years of closure and can be visited every Saturday and Sunday from 14 to 15.30 and from 19 to 21 only by reservation (ticket 3.00 euros with route guided children 0 to 4 years free – info and reservations +39 0836 1920054 cash Piscina Sulfurea).
Going into the cave between rocky walls that overflow water and small potty-looking ponds and the strong smell of sulfur is really a unique experience that we repeated shortly after we went into the Sulphurous Grotto directly open on the sea.
From the bottom of the caves, the water arrives at the spas, both Palazzo and Gattulla, after being subjected to a process of eutrophication, bringing it from the 30th originates to 36-37 ° necessary for the therapeutic use along with the sludge in arthritis, dermatology, respiratory tract, trauma, or simply for aesthetic and antistress care.
The sea can also be accessed from the ladder excavated in the rock of the cliff where the Sulfurea Swimming Pool is collected with 30 ° heated healing waters.
While for those who prefer a natural swimming pool, it is imperative to dive into the blue waters of the Caicco, a historic lido overlooking cliffs and sulphurous caves.
About the rocks and the faraglioni we recommend the walk to Porto Miggiano passing through the Bagno Marino Archi which has a magnificent haven for the boats made in an ancient quarry from the high walls of tufa squared. During the journey there will be many glimpses that will take your breath away!