Photo of Santa Cesarea Terme

Visit Santa Cesarea Terme

Santa Cesarea Terme is a town on the Adriatic coast situated on the 'heel of Italy' to the south of Otranto. It is a spa town and has grown up around the hot thermal springs that bubble up in several caves in the area.

Explore Santa Cesarea Terme

Italy This Way review: As well as being a popular spa Santa Cesarea Terme is worth visiting to admire the architecture of the various palaces and its location on the edge of the rocky coastline.

Santa Cesarea Terme dates back to Greek times and its sulfur springs were known about in the 2nd century BC. These were not much used though until the 16th century and at this time the local aristocracy started to visit to take the waters.

Santa Cesarea Terme

During the 19th century the town grew and many rich visitors built elaborate villas and palaces as summer residences for when they were enjoying the benefits of the spa waters.

The town continued to develop with hotels and facilities for visitors from all over Italy and beyond.

Some of these buildings are really quite magnificent. Villa Sticchi is one of the most remarkable and is built in Moresque (Moorish) style and has a fabulous position on the cliff edge looking out over the sea. The villa is private but you can enjoy views of its Moorish-style arches, balconies and carvings from the outside.

Another stunning villa is the Villa Raffaella which also has a stunning position overlooking the sea. The Villa Raffaella has interiors designed by the Milanese architect Emilio Corti in the 1800s and is now a 4 star hotel.

As well as the palaces and villas there are a number of towers along the coast. These military towers were built in the 16th century and the four coastal towers in Santa Cesare Terme were part of a network built along the coast to warn of potential attack.


The hot springs of Santa Cesarea Terme are natural hot springs rich in sulphur, iodine and sodium chloride. They rise up through the porous bedrock from deep underground and into a number of caves. The waters are regulated at a temperature less than 40° and are used in various treatments.

The waters are thought to be helpful for arthritis, rheumatism, respiratory disorders, dermatological problems and stress. The waters are also used in a number of beauty treatments.

The town of Santa Cesarea Terme is a popular tourist destination both for its spa and for its attractive coastal location. It is located in the Costa Otranto National Park which is protected for its natural beauty and its flora and fauna.

The town has a good selection of restaurants, bars and shops especially along the seafront.

The coastline is dotted with beautiful coves that are well worth exploring by boat to be able to fully admire them. Behind the town the low hills have a lovely mix of wild flowers and wild herbs mixed in with the scrubland.

Santa Cesarea Terme is named after Saint Cesarea who wished to take up monastic life but whose father wished to force himself upon her leading her to flee to the caves where she was saved by flames rising up and enveloping her father. 

There is a papier-maché statue of Saint Cesarea in the main church of Santa Cesarea Terme, the Mother Church of the Sacred Heart, where Cesarea is said to have died.

Santa Cesarea Terme

Attractions nearby

To the north of Santa Cesarea Terme is the lovely seaside resort of Otranto. Nearby Specchia is considered to be one of the "most beautiful villages of Italy".

You can find more local travel ideas in and the Puglia guide.

See also: 

Photos of Santa Cesarea Terme

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Map of Santa Cesarea Terme and places to visit


Santa Cesarea Terme places to visit



Otranto is a lovely seaside town on the Adriatic sea of Italy

Otranto guide


Beautiful village in the 'heel' of Italy.

Specchia guide


Galatina centre has some fine Baroque buildings.

Galatina guide


A popular seaside resort, Gallipoli's old centre is on an island accessed by a bridge.

Gallipoli guide


Lecce has an abundance of rich Baroque architecture

Lecce guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Puglia