A charming resort of Salento, a fortress by the sea, for lovers of the rocky coast, the seafood, the crystalline waters. A breathtaking view, before the arrival at the coast, many caves constantly visited by tourists.
Castro Marina, Fortress with rocky Coast

Beautiful resort of Salento, adjacent to Santa Cesarea Terme, at just 15km from Otranto. This is an area where the rocky coast of Salento, draws magnificent scenery, with spikes of granite, which monumentally rise for remembering the extraordinary strength and beauty of nature. 

This stretch of coast, starting from Otranto arrives to Santa Maria di Leuca, and is one of the most beautiful attractions of Salento by far, presenting a beautiful landscape to say the least, thanks to a blend of colours and natural wonders: reason why it has been used for several film shoots. 

The town is divided into two zones, Castro Città, inhabited even during winter and Castro Marina, a beautiful seaside resort for lovers of the rocky coastline, crystal clear waters and seafood; many specialised restaurants, fish and seafood farms are present (shellfish, crustaceans and fish). There are various beauties in this wonderful town: the sea, piecewise emerald green color and traits crystal blue, the cold springs, which may be unexpectedly encountered during a swim and the famous caves, one in particular opened the public (Grotta Zinzulusa). 

The latter holds particular importance for its location and its features, thus being part of the most visited caves of Salento. Its name derives from the particular limestone forms hanging from the ceiling, like suspended rags, which in the Salento dialect are called “Zinzula“. The cave is 25 meters high and looks very very deep. A corridor of 8 m leads to a hollow room, a cave with an elliptical base that opens to the longest stretch of Zinzulusa called “corridor of marvels.” Its walls are adorned with stalactites and stalagmites that over the centuries have taken various shapes, which often call back the image of well-known objects; along the corridor, there is a lake “trabochetto ” with crystalline waters. 

The last stretch of the corridor, home to many bats, is the crypt, a cave full of small limestone columns, leading into the cathedral. In this cave the remains of many animals were found, elephants, SPLE bears, but in prehistoric times, the cave was also inhabited by men, for testifying there are findings of blades, scrapers, as well as artefacts, vases … Castro: The breathtaking panorama, crystal clear water, the presence of numerous restaurants and a charming old town, make it one of the greater and more interesting destinations in Salento. 

A visit to the caves with natural blue-green shades is a must. Outstanding going by bike during the spring along the beautiful coast.


The origin of Castro dates back to Cretans and Greeks. Developed in Roman times, it was an episcopal seat from 682, during the papacy of Leone II. Over the centuries it suffered numerous invasions and dominations: Roman, Vandal, Gothic, Lombard, Byzantine and Saracen.

It is also said to have been the place where Aeneas first landed in Italy.

The Romans, relevant to its strategic geographical position, built the “Castrum” stronghold. Among the various conquests, it was the Norman conquer to unify the south of Italy and with the subsequent Swabian domination, Castro became a thriving commercial center and a secure military center. Soon after, it was conquered by the Arabs for eleven years, until it was released by Ludwig II.

As evidence of that time remains: la torre dei Cavalieri; il cortile del Castello, a place used for the collection and storage of agricultural products and handicrafts, which were sold in all the Mediterranean; the medieval village, consisting of narrow, winding streets. in 1046 the Normans arrived, and Tancred was the first to claim the title of Count of Castro. Over the centuries the Biellotto, De Franco, De Bugiaco and others succeeded. But it was the Gattinara to leave an indelible mark on the town. Castro in the meantime acquired growing importance as a center of commerce and business, reason why the Venetians also were raging throughout Salento to take possession of the area, as the basis for traffic towards East, until Alfonso Aragonese put it to an end. The Turkish invasion in 1480 went from Otranto to Castro.

Only in 1552 the Turks were repulsed by the Viceroy Don Pedro da Toledo, who began the systematic construction of the coastal towers. The repetition of looting carried out in 1537 and in 1573 by the Turks, depopulated Castro. The Turks were finally expelled from the the Count of Samio and Vincenzo Macedonio. In 1744, even Castro sees famine and plague, that further impoverished it. Its municipal autonomy has been given back in 1975.



by car

By car Salento can be reachd via motorway to Bari, coming from the Adriatic (A14) or from the Naples -Bari. Arrived in Bari, take the Brindisi-Lecce highway . From Lecce, take the ring road, then exit for Maglie ( SS16). Once on the way to Maglie, you’re on Santa Maria di Leuca-Lecce highway. So pass Maglie and turn following the signs for Poggiardo. Continue to Vignacastrisi – Castro. 

by train

By train (Trenitalia) Castro Marina can be reached along the Adriatic (Milan – Bologna – Pescara) or through the Rome – Caserta. Once in Lecce FSE buses can be used that take you up to Castro Marina. Alternatively you can use the local FSE trains.

by plane

By plane you can reach Castro Marina by flying to Brindisi where you can choose to wait for the terminal that connects the airport to the center of Lecce or rent a car, if you choose the first option you can continue by FSE bus to Castro Marina . Alternatively you can use the local FSE trains.