Nord Salento Tour

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A village a few kilometers from Otranto, the fame of Santa cesarea Terme is linked to the sulphurous waters considered miraculous, gushing out from four natural caves: the Sulfurea, the Fetida, the Solfatara and the Gattula, recommended for treating diseases related to the respiratory tract.

The origin of these waters is disputed by two legends: one pagan and one Christian. The pagan one tells that Hercules on the advice of Pallas ran to aid Jupiter, attacked by the Titans (moved by the wrath of which goddess?).

Hercules fighting against Titans

Titans were defeated by Hercules on the Phlegraean fields, and took refuge on the coasts of Japigia, an inaccessible place full of caves in which to hide but where however Hercules overtook them, killing them all. Giants’ bodies dissolved and their rottenness penetrated the soil, transforming the underground waters of the springs into sulphurous waters.

Even the Cristian legend tells of the conversion of water into sulfur due to an evil body and supernatural factors to explain the origin of the town: Caesarea was a beautiful young local virgin who took refuge in a cave along the coast of Castro along the road to Otranto, to escape from her father’s incestuous desire. During the pursuit, her father fall into the sea that his wickedness transformed into impure and smelly waters. At the exact point of the accident the sulphurous water source originated while the girl was saved. A town was built around that cave which in honor of the girl was called Santa Cesarea.

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