We have often talked in our blog about the peculiarities of Salento, from the typical dishes, to the most beautiful beaches, to the most interesting things to do. Today we want to tell you an ancient legend from which the name of Leuca, the main attraction of our tours to the caves between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, derives. Perhaps not everyone knows the story of Leucasia, the protagonist of an intriguing story of love and jealousy. Let’s find out together.
From Leucasia to Santa Maria di Leuca
Leuca is the southernmost city of the boot, in the extreme heel of Italy. It is one of the most popular and appreciated places in Salento and Puglia, a destination for tourists from all over the world due to its suggestive position between the two seas.
But why does the locality take the name of Santa Maria di Leuca?
The Madonna of Leuca today is considered the protector of fishermen and men of the sea for a famous episode that would have occurred around the sixteenth century. It is said that during a strong storm, she managed to save all the inhabitants of the locality and the fishermen engaged in the sea. The name, however, derives from a suggestive legend that we want to tell you.
The legend of the name of Santa Maria di Leuca
The protagonists of the story are Leucasia, a beautiful siren with a harmonious, almost hypnotic song, to which no creature had ever been able to resist, none of her except Melisso, a young shepherd who used to graze the sheep on her rocks.
At the sight of Melisso, Leucasia fell madly in love almost instantly, but the boy’s heart was already beating for another woman, Ristula.
Jealousy blinded poor Leucasia, who plotted her revenge against the loving couple. One day, she waited for Melisso and Ristula to descend on the rocks for a romantic walk and immediately she unleashed a furious storm that inexorably drowned the two lovers.
Blinded by her jealousy, she made sure their bodies ended up as far apart from each other as possible.
The goddess Minerva witnessed the terrible event and moved to pity by the sad end of the two young lovers, she decided to offer them eternity, petrifying their bodies which since then constitute the most extreme promontories that delimit the locality: Punta Meliso and Punta Ristola, two neighboring extremities , which together embrace a large surface of water at the ends of the earth, but destined never to touch.
The end of Leucasia
The mermaid, on the other hand, in the throes of guilt for her terrible deed, also asked to be petrified forever. Thus, thanks to the intervention of Minerva, it became the white city of Leuca that everyone loves.
Visiting Leuca, diving into its splendid sea and admiring its suggestive promontories will have a completely different meaning to have known this fascinating legend. Enjoy the beauty of this fantastic location in the extreme south of Italy with a tour of the caves with DelfinoBlu.
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