Salento Caves

Salento is a peninsula full of numerous and evocative caves scattered here and there, which can be visited mainly by sea. They all deserve to be visited for the colors or the particular shape of the rocks, creating a beautiful journey inside them, rich in history and nature. Even those who are passionate about trips, excursions and diving, here, can enjoy beautiful glimpses of rock full of niches and cliffs.

Grotta della Poesia
“Grotta della Poesia” ©totajla via Canva

Where are the most beautiful caves in Salento located?

  • Starting from Porto Badisco, a few kilometers from Otranto, we find the Grotta dei Cervi, a natural cavity and ancient place of worship. In reality we are talking about a series of connected caves, full of Neolithic pictograms depicting hunters and prey.
  • We arrive at Santa Cesarea Terme, a place famous for the sulphurous waters of the caves which, mixing with those of the sea, have created caves with important therapeutic properties.
  • Leaving Santa Cesarea we reach Castro, where we find rocks overlooking the sea where you can swim right near the best-known cave in Salento. The Zinzulusa Cave, so called due to the presence of karst formations and stalactites (“zinzuli“, in dialect) which create a particular environment. A large opening opens in the middle of the rock, ready to welcome numerous visitors; it extends underground for 160 meters and also houses numerous prehistoric finds.
  • A little further on we find Grotta Romanelli, full of prehistoric finds, it preserves traces dating back to Neanderthal man together with many graffiti.
  • Going further south in the Leuca area, we find Grotta Porcinara, 15m high and 30m deep, which can be accessed by land. This cavity, half dug by man, is also a place of worship. Rich in Latin and Greek inscriptions, artefacts from the Bronze Age have been found there.
  • Not far away is the Devil’s Cave due to the noises due to the refraction of the wave motion inside it.
  • Grotta Tre Porte was so called due to the 3 large openings onto the sea. In this there is the Child’s Cave, a tunnel in which a bone fragment dating back to Neanderthal man was found, belonging to a child.
  • A few meters from the latter opens the Grotta dei Giganti. This cave has brought to light a 10th century burial and fragments of the Mousterian culture.
  • We then find scattered here and there, many other caves such as the Grotta del Presepe, the Grotta del Drago, the Grotta Cipollina, and finally the Grotta degli Innamorati, the Grotta della Stalla and the Grotta del Fiume.
  • On the other side, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, in the Roca Vecchia area, an important historical testimony is given by the Grotta della Poesia. It is said that a beautiful princess bathed here and was an inspiration to many poets who dedicated verses and poems to her. The walls of the cave have remained intact over the years, as have the historical inscriptions inside which, together with the crystal clear sea that surrounds it, make this place unique.
  • Another cave near San Foca is the Lovers’ Cave, so called because two lovers once found refuge there.
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