Porto Cesareo: a sought-after destination in Salento

by Jul 12, 2017

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by Jul 12, 2017

Porto Cesareo (or Cisaria, as the locals say in dialect) is a spectacular seaside resort. Very fine sand, crystal clear waters, Caribbean views… even if we are in Salento, on the border with the province of Taranto, in the north, with Avetrana and Manduria and in the south with the territory of Nardò and its marinas.

The sea of Porto Cesareo: “open sea” museum

You cannot remain indifferent to a natural spectacle, because, perhaps you do not even know, here in Porto Cesareo, the seabed is a museum of ancient history and biodiversity. Just dive near Torre Chianca and admire five beautiful Roman columns of chivalrous marble and other areas, you will fantasize a past that is no longer there looking at beautiful wrecks ancient and modern.

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The friendly Caretta Caretta are the guest stars of Porto Cesareo

Among the waves and sandy coastlines of Porto Cesareo, it is frequent to pleasantly come across the Caretta Caretta, huge sea turtles protected, between the famous Punta Prosciutto and the beautiful Torre Inserraglio.
If you are a diving enthusiast, we recommend booking an excursion with local professionals: those who can better immerse themselves in this world of history and nature.
Remember that fines for entering protected marine areas in integral reserve, are very high. A bit like the sea that bathes these beautiful coasts.

How to get to Porto Cesareo: very easy from Salento, equally easy from Taranto

Porto Cesareo is reachable in a thousand ways.
Of course, we invite you to choose the means of transport that suits you best and best for your finances: whether it is by plane, train, car or bus.

Reach Porto Cesareo from Northern Italy

After having crossed the Autosole highway and arrived at the end of the Adriatic highway, it is worth taking the A14 Bologna – Taranto exit.
At Bari, continue southwards, taking the SS 16 Brindisi-Lecce. Once you have reached Brindisi, take the SS7 for Taranto and exit at Mesagne Est. We suggest you follow the signs for San Pancrazio Salentino and, therefore, for Porto Cesareo.

Reach Porto Cesareo from Bari

From Bari, take the exit for the SS 16 Brindisi-Lecce, exit at Mesagne Est, after following the direction for San Pancrazio Salentino. Then, taking the exit for Porto Cesareo, you will arrive directly at the beach.

Reach Porto Cesareo from Brindisi

From Brindisi, take the Mesagne Est exit on Brindisi Taranto.
Take the direction of San Pancrazio Salentino and you will reach Torre Lapillo, which is a handful of km from Porto Cesareo.

Reach Porto Cesareo from Lecce

If you leave directly from Lecce, the capital of Salento, it is better to take the ring road to Gallipoli; from here, take the SS 101 and continue until the exit “Nardò”.
From the beautiful Nardò, continue on the SS 174 in the direction of Porto Cesareo.

Reach Porto Cesareo from Rome, Naples and Taranto

Arrived in Bari after having crossed the motorway A14 Bologna-Taranto or alternatively through the A16 Naples-Canosa, you have to continue your march to Taranto and take the SS7 state road, which connects Taranto to Brindisi. Before reaching Brindisi, you must necessarily take the junction for Francavilla Fontana and continue for Manduria.
You will pass through the centres of Manduria and Avetrana, before arriving at the marinas of Punta Prosciutto and Torre Lapillo, a few kilometres from Porto Cesareo.

Reach Porto Cesareo from Otranto and Maglie

The same route links Otranto and Maglie.
From Otranto, take the Otranto-Maglie (a four-lane state road with traffic islands), and continue towards Lecce. At the junction at Melpignano, take the Lecce-Gallipoli fast flowing.
Exit at Copertino and continue to Leverano. Immediately after Leverano, after a few kilometres, follow the signs for Porto Cesareo and the game is done.

Reach Porto Cesareo by plane

Land at Salento Airport and continue the directions above, in the paragraph “Reach Porto Cesareo from Brindisi”.

Reach Porto Cesareo by train

You can take a Trenitalia train to Lecce from all over Italy.
Once you arrive in Lecce Centrale, you must necessarily rely on a private shuttle bus or see the routes of “Salento in bus”.

Map of Porto Cesareo

This is the map of Porto Cesareo, use it on your mobile phone navigators to reach this famous location in Salento, from Puglia, from all over Italy.

Porto Cesareo: a bit of history

In prehistoric times and in the Bronze Age, Porto Cesareo was already inhabited near the Furnu Scalo, respectively by a community of shepherds and the Greeks who venerated the goddess Thana here.
Under the Romans, this enchanting place was known as Portus Sasinæ, a nerve centre for maritime and port exchange of agricultural and food products.
Following numerous raids and the progressive abandonment, this small piece of land had become swampy. Around the year 1000, Basilian monks built an abbey here, which they owned until 1400. Later, the feud of Porto Cesareo passed into the hands of the Orsini del Balzo of Taranto, to the Acquaviva of Nardò, under which this town became a nerve centre for exchange with the maritime republics.
Then, before moving on to the house of the Muci di Nardò, who held it even after the subversion of feudalism in 1806, this land was gradually abandoned.
In 1700, a small repopulation by a group of fishermen from Taranto who came here, seasonally to fish tuna traps.
Under the Mucis, the repopulation began because they implemented an intelligent policy aimed at the development of demographic settlements: after the subversion of feudalism and towards the end of the 19th century, they began to sell their land to fishing families and, this, guaranteed a repopulation of these areas.
Settlements that became gradually stable in the early 900. The church was built in the name of the Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso on the order of Bishop Mautone; he was farsighted and asked for a larger and wider church to contain all the faithful.
Under fascism, the lands of Arneo were reclaimed and these places, from a mere port of fish exchange, became popular destinations for seaside tourism.

1975: Porto Cesareo, with the splendid beach of Punta Prosciutto, becomes a municipality

Independence from the Municipality of Nardò, which the inhabitants demanded loud and clear, came in 1975 and, finally, Porto Cesareo became a municipality in all respects.
Punta Prosciutto, a symbol of tourism in Porto Cesareo, is no longer part of the municipality of Nardò, which still boasts a large maritime area in possession.
Since 1997 Porto Cesareo has been part of the Marine Protected Areas and in 2006 the regional nature reserve “Palude del Conte e Duna Costiera” was born.

The statue dedicated to the fisherman’s wife: with the features of Emanuela Arcuri

In 2002 a statue was installed representing his wife waiting for the return of the fisherman. This statue, which takes its cue from the features of the beautiful showgirl Manuela Arcuri, generated amusement from men and harsh criticism from the female population of Porto Cesareo.
It was removed and then reinstalled with much controversy.

What to see in Porto Cesareo: protected marine areas, beautiful beaches, immortal towers

Those who say that there is nothing to see in Porto Cesareo are mistaken because there are too many things to do and admire.

Chiesa della Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso (Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help)

First of all you can admire the splendid church of the Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso that was built, next to the chapel dedicated to Santa Cesarea Vergine of 1639), in 1880 on the order of the Bishop of Nardò, Mautone.
The façade is of a unique simplicity, typical of neoclassicism and dominated by a triangular tympanum. Inside the church, minimalism and formal rigour prevail, with essential architectural lines. On the sides, two niches housing the statues of the following saints: Santa Caesarea and the Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso. Two fine works in papier-mache from Lecce, by an unknown artist, but real masterpieces.

Watchtowers: the good giants of the coast

Along the coast you can admire 4 sturdy and mammoth watchtowers or rather, three towers still intact while only one of them are the ruins because the tower was demolished during World War II.
They are:

  • Torre Lapillo
  • Torre Cesarea
  • Torre Chianca
  • Torre Castiglione (you can see the remains of what was once a watchtower).

Torre Lapillo

Torre Lapillo is also known as Torre San Tommaso. Like all the towers along the coast, this one was built as a sighting outpost.
It is majestic and indestructible, square with a staircase access. Centuries ago, at the end of the staircase, a drawbridge was positioned.
With its 16 metres per side and 17 metres in height, a large room is located on the ground floor.
Completed in 1568, Torre Lapillo communicates to the north with the remains of Torre Castiglione and to the south with the beautiful Torre Chianca.
Today, this tower, from outpost of sighting that was in the remote centuries, has become a tourist information pole: here you can find everything you need for your visits, excursions, etc..

Torre Cesarea

Located near the town centre, Torre Cesarea was also a watchtower.
Mastodontic, sublime, the largest of all, it was built as a place of superguard of the Caesarean District. It is also recognized as “Captain’s Tower” because it dominated jurisdictionally and militarily over all the towers and places of the Comarca di Cesarea. It is a square shape, 16 metres high and each side reaches a size of about 22 metres.
Built with local stone, its crowning is assisted by brackets.
It was built between 1568 and 1570. To the south it dominates on the Torre Squillace and the commune of Nardò, while to the north it dominates on the Torre Chianca.
Today it houses the offices of the Guardia di Finanza.

Torre Chianca

Torre Chianca communicates with Torre Cesarea to the south and Torre Lapillo to the north, thanks to its height of 18 metres.
During World War II, it was used by the Italian army and became an encampment and artillery station.

Protected Marine Area of Porto Cesareo (A.M.P.: area marina protetta)

The marine protected area of Porto Cesareo extends for about 32 km and is delimited by the stretch between Punta Prosciutto and Torre Inserraglio; with its 17,000 hectares of extension, it is the third in Italy by extension.
Its extension is based on two municipalities: Porto Cesareo and Nardò, both belonging to the Province of Lecce.
The stretches of Ionian coast included in the A.M.P. of Porto Cesareo (we use this abbreviation for convenience) are varied: sometimes rock, sometimes dunes and sometimes sandy coast.
Three areas are affected, as are three different protection regimes imposed by law.

Zone A: Integral reserve: the heart of the reserve

All activities except scientific research are prohibited in this area.

Zone B: General Reserve

A small portion of A.M.P. which provides for activities such as professional fishing with selective gear subject to authorisation by the authorities.
In the area of the General Reserve are allowed bathing and underwater activities compatible with environmental protection and natural, sailing with boats at a speed of less than 10 knots.

Zone C: Partial reserve

All activities included in Area B are allowed in this Partial Reserve Area except underwater fishing freediving or by unsuitable means.

The beaches of Porto Cesareo: the colours of the Caribbean Sea while remaining in Salento

Porto Cesareo has a spectacular sea. It’s useless to turn around!
We can identify the most beautiful beaches by distinguishing very specific areas:

  1. the city area of Porto Cesareo: here we find the Beach Island, the Tabù and Le Dune
  2. Isola Grande: where you will find the beautiful Rabbit Island (Isola dei Conigli in italian)
  3. Beach of Torre Chianca
  4. Punta Prosciutto: where the Lido degli Angeli is located
  5. Torre Lapillo: where the beaches of Bacino Grande, Togo Bay and Bonavista are located

The city area: Isola Beach, the Tabù lido and the Dune lido

This area is the busiest during the hottest months of summer. This should not, however, be an excuse not to stop in these fantastic beaches.
We are talking about fine white sand and sunbeds and umbrellas finely spaced.
These two beaches belong to the same property even if they are a hundred meters apart.
The places are enchanting, the water is crystal clear and the service offered is superlative: excellent food and the staff is courteous and prepared to meet your every need.
The restaurant service offers traditional dishes and revisited recipes.
Let’s see them together in detail.

Isola Beach: a cool and exclusive beach

Isola Beach is an exclusive and truly “cool” beach. The refurbishment that has affected the entire structure, the hotel, the restaurants and the beach has been truly incredible.
The show that you will see is unique as well as the advice that we are going to give you: the beauty of being on the water surface has a cost, so prepare your wallet to spend a full day at sea and, why not, a dinner and the annex after dinner.
The lido is well cared for in every detail, in addition to the possibility of stopping on extra-comfort beds, you can stop by the pool, listen to a dj-set shout during aperitif hours and drink a great cocktail.
The environment is young and the volume of the music magically rises after 7 p.m.

Le Dune Beach Club Aperitif & more

The lido is suitable for families with children but young couples without children and single persons are not excluded from the offer.
The location is really suggestive because the places of refreshment and break from the summer heat, are located on a real terrace overlooking the sea of Porto Cesareo.
You can easily take a break at the bar, drink an ice coffee with almond milk (“the coffee of Salento” as they call it at Eataly) or drink an iced drink and eat something ready.
In addition to the hot table, among the services offered to the demanding clientele, there is the beach restaurant Aqua, where the scent of the sea and traditional fish recipes, is enhanced and sublimated by the skill of the chef. The wine cellar is very well supplied and the raw materials used are of the highest quality. Very recommended.

Tabù Fashion Beach

Another enchanting stretch of beach of Porto Cesareo, a beautiful beach: the Tabù Fashion Beach.
A location coveted and frequented by famous people: last but not least Antonio Conte, former Juventus coach and Chelsea FC coach, winner of the English Premier League.
The words comfort and relaxation are two key points of the offer of the lido, a wide offer because in addition to providing strictly beach services, the Tabù Fashion Beach offers excellent bar, restaurant and gastronomy with excellent ingredients and superlative dishes and even hotels. But we will talk about this later in the section “Where to sleep in Porto Cesareo” of this article.

Isola Grande beach known as Isola dei Conigli

The area of Isola Grande is beautiful, known for its particularity: it is called Isola dei Conigli because this beautiful island, a few meters from the sandy coast of Porti Cesareo, was used for breeding and the restoration of friendly rodents in the Salento habitat.
In this precise area of Porto Cesareo, there are no organized beaches. For this reason, you can swim and dive into the blue sea without any problem.
It can be easily reached from the shore because the seabed is one meter high and it is not unusual to see tourists and bathers crossing the water channel between the mainland and the island, with umbrellas, deck chairs, fridge bags on their heads.

Torre Chianca Beach

Near Torre Chianca, you can experience the Salento of the wild beaches. The sand is very fine and the sea water is crystal clear.
You will be able to dive in peace and quiet, also because this stretch is one of the least beaten during the warmer months. You will enjoy the sea and the wildlife.

Punta Prosciutto: the most beautiful stretch of coast of Porto Cesareo

We are north of Porto Cesareo, in the most beautiful and best served stretch of coast. We are talking about one of the most beautiful stretches of coast of Salento, if not the most beautiful.
The particularity of this stretch of coast north of Porto Cesareo between Torre Colimena and Torre Lapillo, are the steep, sinking stretches of land called “Spunnulate”.
In this area, the most fascinating lido is the Lido degli Angeli.

Lido degli Angeli: calling it paradise is truly reductive

Besides offering holiday home services, Lido Degli Angeli is located in the most suggestive stretch of coast of the Ionian Sea.
The beds are finely spaced from each other, and the furnishings of the beach is total white.
The lido has a hot table bar that offers excellent breakfasts and excellent dishes.
For those who love to be on the move, a space on the beach has been used as a beach volleyball court.

Torre Lapillo: another enchanting stretch of beaches, with beaches equipped

Torre Lapillo embraces a beautiful and enchanting stretch of coast. The beaches are well organized, the beaches that you will find in the area are fully equipped with everything: comfort, food and relaxation.
We will give you some of them.

Bacino Grande: one of the most famous

In addition to offering hotel services, this is one of the most famous and popular beaches of Porto Cesareo.
The umbrellas are well spaced out from each other and the services offered are the classic: bar, hot table, restaurant with typical dishes.

Togo Bay

Charming Lido, the name recalls exotic destinations, Caribbean, miles and miles from Porto Cesareo although we are in Salento, in a glimpse of sun-kissed land, where the water is crystal clear, almost unspoiled and the sand is very white and fine.
The beach offers different services in relation to the type of relaxation that tourists want to have: canopy, large comfort beds, sunbeds and palm trees.
A great dining area and a large reception area, because the first impression is what counts.

Hotels in Porto Cesareo: the accommodation facilities on which to focus to spend a fantastic holiday by the sea

There are many hotels in Porto Cesareo and the tourist offer is fully satisfied because next to the 4-star luxury hotel, you can find a comfortable holiday home, a camping or even a relais.
Having said that, we will show you the structures that most closely link us. Obviously it is up to you to do the search of the accommodation facility based on your pockets.

Hotel Falli: a 4-star hotel equipped with all comforts

A show of structure, in neoclassical style, with a view of the picturesque bay of Porto Cesareo. A 4-star hotel where guests can choose from different types of comfort:

  1. classic rooms: located in the annex 10 meters from the main building, are equipped with all the main amenities: wi-fi, safe, air conditioning, hairdryer.
  2. panoramic rooms: they have all the services of the classic rooms but enjoy the view of the beautiful bay of Porto Cesareo; for those who choose this level of comfort, there is the possibility of adding an extra bed in addition to the double bed;
  3. superior rooms: these are the rooms for those who do not want to give up every kind of comfort. In addition to the large shower cubicle, you can find a comfortable Jacuzzi.

The offer of the accommodation, closes with the restaurant Cosimino, which we will talk about in the next paragraph.

Hotel Lo Scoglio: enviable location, magnificent view

This is a truly charming hotel. Perhaps it is too reductive to call it a “hotel”.
47 rooms, including suites, superior and deluxe, enclosed in a modern and charming structure.
Every comfort has been studied and thought for your stay. From the private bathing establishment, which we mentioned earlier in this article, to the three restaurants, solarium, sea view swimming pool, American bar on the terrace, indoor parking and beauty farm.
A unique place where you will be truly masters of your holiday.

Suite Hotel Le Dune: just cross a road to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Le Dune beach

This is a truly charming hotel. Perhaps it is too reductive to call it a “hotel”.
47 rooms, including suites, superior and deluxe, enclosed in a modern and charming structure.
Every comfort has been studied and thought for your stay. From the private bathing establishment, which we mentioned earlier in this article, to the three restaurants, solarium, sea view swimming pool, American bar on the terrace, indoor parking and beauty farm.
A unique place where you will be truly masters of your holiday.

Porto Cesareo and its camping Torre Castiglione

Camping Torre Castiglione is a very well maintained and well maintained campsite.
Inside you can find all the services you need: supermarket and bar catering service, self service, hot table, really very good.
The campsite is located in Torre Lapillo, on the Porto Cesareo Marine Protected Area.

Where to eat: the restaurants of Porto Cesareo

Of course we do not recommend you to go and eat meat menus, here in Porto Cesareo, a famous seaside resort of Salento.
The places we recommend are mainly fish-based, with a sushi-fusion of excellence, as new-entry.

Cosimino Restaurant: merged with the Falli Hotel and open to tourists and visitors outside the hotel structure

Sosimino is an institution here in Porto Cesareo because it has fishing in its own DNA; the flavors of the sea, the freshness of fish is wisely combined with the flavors of the land of Salento.
Here you will not find a simple fish restaurant, but a real “oasis of taste” for your palate. With a charming and enviable view of the bay and the island, let yourself be mesmerised by the majestic trolley with the catch of the day.
Get advice from the staff and leave a place in your suitcase for tuna caught and canned by the family Falli, fishermen from generation to generation.

Tortuga Restaurant: the restaurant on the island of Porto Cesareo, on the water

Tortuga is a restaurant on the island of Porto Cesareo, on the water’s edge.
You can reach it by walking or car on a small bridge or by taxiboat.
We are talking about a magnificent fish restaurant, open all year round for lunch and dinner.
In addition to offering delicious fresh fish dishes, well-stocked and “implanted”, feeds the desires of pizza, with delicious pizzas, even by the meter, mixed with alternative flours.
Whether you want to spend a romantic dinner with the person you love or want to have lunch with the whole family, this is the place for you.

Shima: the fusion restaurant that offers incredibly good dishes for the demanding palates of tourists

The location is the same as the Tortuga, as is the property. What is actually varied is the chef, Henrique Belmiro Baccarin. A true artist in the kitchen. It combines international cuisine with Japanese cuisine and the result is a stunning dish.
If you want to eat something healthy and really good, you have only one thing to do: book.

The Dune Suite Hotel and its three restaurants: The Dune Suite Hotel Restaurant, Aqua Restaurant and Altomare Restaurant

This accommodation complex, hosts within its structure, three excellent restaurants, guided by the skill and creative flair of executive chef Cosimo Russo.
Let us see them together.

Le Dune Hotel Restaurant:

Aqua Restaurant: located in the structure of Lido Le Dune

Aqua Restaurant is by the sea, within the structure restaurant of the lido.
The furnishings are fine and elegant, bright for the large windows and balconies directly facing the sea of Porto Cesareo. The restaurant offers breakfast and light lunch for those who want to continue the day at sea or real lunches, even buffet.
The products offered are typical seafood recipes. Everything is meticulously detailed.
The restaurant is open mainly during the day.

Altomare Restaurant: pool view restaurant, for your dinners

Altomare Restaurant is the hotel’s a la carte restaurant, located on the first floor of the hotel.
A large panoramic terrace, where you can enjoy in complete tranquility, traditional dishes of Salento revisited, poolside. You should book because such a beautiful view of the sunset of Porto Cesareo, is nowhere else.

The Dune Suite Hotel Restaurant: creative cuisine with total respect for tradition

A large hall with panoramic windows provides the setting, the ideal atmosphere for a romantic dinner or for a few intimate. Typical Salento restaurant for flavors and colors, the cuisine expressed in this magnificent place, is very genuine.
The chefs, while respecting local traditions, offer incredibly good and innovative dishes, with seasonal menus designed to satisfy and amaze the most exquisite palates.
We suggest you book in time.

Weather of Porto Cesareo: the weather of the sky and the sea in a small graphic representation

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