Porto Cesareo

Sandy location in the Ionian Salento with a very fine sandy beach and a crystalline sea. It is one of the most renowned places in Salento, also famous for the numerous fishmongers and for the excellent fish cuisine.
Sandy beach and crystal clear water sea

Porto Cesareo is a town of Ionian Salento, with predominantly sandy coastline with very fine sand. In the “Bacino della Strea”, the water level remains low for several meters from the coast, particularly suitable for children, by this the name (“Strea” in local dialect means little girl). Another feature of the place is the presence of a large number of fishmongers and restaurants, with cuisine based on fish; Porto Cesareo, in fact, owns the largest fleet of vessels throughout the Great Salento (in one street leading to the sea there are 15 fish shops and fish markets are frequent, when the vessels arrive in the port).

Porto Cesareo has recently landed at the BIT in Milan in 2009, with a stand of its own and important is the appreciation of the watch towers (medieval defensive system typical of the maritime republics), who are returning public property, involved in ambitious projects such as the creation of the “Museum of the Sea.”

The town lies on a peninsula at the end of which stands the Torre Caesarea dating back to the sixteenth century, built by Charles V. This peninsula, juts into the sea for about 300m towards the small island known as “Lo Scoglio” or the “Isola della Scogliera.” Parallel to the coast to the south, lies the peninsula of “Strea” and numerous islands detached westward the most important of which is the Isola Grande or dei Conigli. The coastline stretches for 20 km of sandy beaches and dunes, cliffs and coves, its more significant marina is Torre Lapillo.


Porto Cesareo is known as the ancient Portus Sasinae and was founded by the people from Saseno a small island near Valona in Albania. They appeared on the Ionian coast, before the fifth century BC and became known for fishing and their trading enterprise. On the coasts of the country, the Mycenaeans landed first, and were remembered for the artefacts brought from home, especially vases with painted motifs. Afterwards the Messapi settled, coming probably from Illiria (modern Albania) settled over the whole territory of Puglia, around the eighth century BC.

This presence is demonstrated by four stone pillars, religious symbols mad as an offering to the gods. In the Roman period the Sasina disappeared, probably destroyed by the people from Gallipoli, who saw them as a rival in the fish trading and then wanted to seize its port (the exact date of destruction is not documented, it is probably to be ascribed to around 200-300 AD).

A few centuries later it was called Cesaria, by the Greeks and slowly the small core started to expand. In the Middle Age it was a colony of Nardò, later passed into the possession of the Count of Lecce, Antonio Orsini. At the beginning of the twentieth century the agricultural hinterland was fully drained. In 1966 the Marine Biology Station was founded, which was acquired in 1977 by the University of Lecce and managed since 1980 by a committee which includes the city of Porto Cesareo. Since 1974, a referendum has enshrined its autonomy from Nardo, becoming a separate municipality. In recent decades, its importance has grown remarkably as a fish market and equipped primarily as a tourist resort.



by car

Coming from north drive up the motorway A14 to Bari. From here, continue south along the motorway Bari – Lecce. Once reached Lecce, go along the S.p. Lecce – Monteroni – Leverano – Porto Cesareo.

by train

By train (Trenitalia) Salento is reached along the Adriatic (Milan – Bologna – Pescara) or through the Rome – Caserta. Once in Lecce FSE bus can be used that will take you to Porto Cesareo.

by plane

By plane you can reach Salento with a stopover in Brindisi, where you will 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 using the FSE bus to Porto Cesareo.