Salento is a sub-region of Puglia and includes the provinces of Lecce, part of Brindisi and Taranto. Among the wonders of Salento, set among the tufo (tuff) rocks overlooking the sea, stands one of the most beautiful natural pools in the world. The Grotta della Poesia (Grotto of Poems) is near Melendugno between San Foca and Torre dell’Orso. If you’re visiting Salento, you can’t miss this amazing natural wonder! Let’s find out more about this magical place in detail.
Grotta della Poesia
The Grotta della Poesia is a natural cavity that has formed over time due to water erosion. To be more precise, the cave in question is actually divided into two distinct cavities: Grotta della Poesia Grande (large) and Grotta della Poesia Piccola (small). The sinkhole is dug into the earth near a freshwater source. The two caves, just 60 meters apart, are connected through an underground tunnel where there is also a small beach.
It is stunning regardless of the season, but undoubtedly, the optimal time to visit is summer. The pools are famous and frequented by both tourists and locals alike. It’s highly advisable, if you possibly can, to avoid the peak months of July and August and opt for either June or September instead.
For the more adventurous, you can have the unforgettable experience of swimming to the caves from the open sea! You’ll need to swim through a small dark cave two meters underwater and then under a rock. It’s best to enlist the help of an expert guide for this.
History and Legends
On the grotto walls, inscriptions of Messapian, Greek and Latin origins have been found. Scholars discovered that, originally, the caves were a place of worship devoted to the god Taotor. In the past, the two grottoes were part of the archaeological park of Roca Vecchia and were actually covered.
Grotta della Poesia is, not surprisingly, home to a legend as well. It tells of a beautiful princess who loved to bathe in the crystal clear waters of the grotto. Men would go there to admire the princess and, in an attempt to court her and to enter into her graces, would recite poetry verses to her.
It is believed that the grotto’s name precisely derives from this romantic legend. Another possibility is that it could have derived from the Greek word for freshwater- posia.
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