Porto Cesareo, Province of Lecce, Puglia

This town along the Ionian coast on the Taranto Gulf appears today as a typical southern fishing village, with narrow alleys, whitewashed houses, bougainvillea and flower vines, and a lively harbor full of seafood restaurants. It is today an enchanting tourist resort, with over 17 km of beaches and a little offshore a myriad of small islands, the largest of which is the Isola dei Conigli. The area is the seat of a marine park and sanctuary.


  • Altitude: 3 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 4500 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 73010
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0833
  • Patron Saint: Beata Vergine Maria del Perpetuo Soccorso and Santa Cesarea, celebrated on 23 August


As shown by archeological findings on the Penisola della Strea, the area was inhabited in prehistoric times, then Greek mariners settled where today is the "Scalo di Furno". The Romans called it "Portus Sasinae", and enjoyed a certain importance. With the fall of the Roman Empire it was almost abandoned, until around the 10th century AD a group of Basilian monks bestablished an Abbey which brought back civilization to the territory.

From the 15th century it was under the lordship of the Orsini del Balzo, then passed to the Acquaviva, and it became a busy trade center of grain and oil. To protect the coast from pirates and invaders, a Tower was built, which is one of the most beautiful of all the towers of the Salento coast on the Ionian Sea. In the 18th century a tuna plant was established, which gave work to the fishermen of the place. At the time the fiefdom was acquired by the Muci family, who maintained an important economic leadership also after the abolition of the feudal privileges in 1806.

What to see

  • The Tower of Porto Cesareo porto-cesareo tower
  • The Tower of Torre Lapillo
  • Two important natural reserves, the "Palude del conte e duna costiera - Porto Cesareo" and the regional park "Porto Selvaggio e Palude del Capitano"
  • The Museo Talassografico, in the center of the town hosting a collection of Mediterranean marine fauna.

Where to stay

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