Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy
Photo credit to Sebastiano Piazzi
This town is at the farthest point on the heel of Southern Italy. The region is known as Puglia.
Santa Maria di Leuca, often spelled simply Leuca, is a frazione of the comune of Castrignano del Capo, in the Salento peninsula, southern Italy. A part of the town once belonged to the comune of Gagliano del Capo.
Santa Maria di Leuca is famous for its iconic lighthouse. With its height of 47 metres, and position at 102 metres above sea level, is the second most important lighthouse in Italy, after Genova. Next to the lighthouse is the large Sanctuary, or Basilica, De Finibus Terrae ("End of the Land", 1720-1755), built to commemorate the passage of St. Peter here during his travel to Italy. It is devoted to Saint Mary (from whom the town gets the name Santa Maria di Leuca). It lies on the former site of a Greek temple dedicated to Athena. The edifice has a fortified structure, and during its existence it sustained several assaults by Algerian pirates. In the same site, a Corinthian column was erected in 1939 to celebrate the construction of the Apulian Aqueduct (Acquedotto Pugliese). The basilica is connected to the port through a 284-step staircase.