IN THE DISCOVER LEUCA
Travel usually begins with a list, a handbook of things to do absolutely once you arrive in the chosen destination to spend your holidays. Here, if the choice falls on the splendid Santa Maria di Leuca, a visit to the lighthouse must be in the very first places on your list.
Located a few steps from the square of the Basilica Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae, the Leuca Lighthouse overlooks the small town, offers the opportunity to admire a fantastic panorama, and is the reference point, today as in the past, for sailors who plow the waters of the Mediterranean and approach the Salento coasts.
The inhabited center of Leuca, as we know, extends on the Iapigio promontory. The height of the lighthouse, therefore, which is precisely 48, 60 meters, is added to that of the elevated area on which it rests, which is 102 meters above the sea level. It is therefore easy to imagine, once you get on the circular terrace of the lighthouse, what you can find in front of you: an infinite blue, an unlimited view of the sea, interrupted only by the horizon line and the play of light created by the sun, an immense sense of peace and admiration for nature. If you are particularly lucky, on days of clear air, your gaze can touch the Greek coasts and the Acrocerauni Mountains, located on the border between Albania and Greece.
The lighthouse ideally represents one of the two extremes of the Gulf of Taranto, together with Punta Alice, obviously located in Calabria. Therefore, in addition to the suggestive and naturalistic aspect, the tower represents an important geographical point for the Mediterranean area.
The structure, totally white and octagonal in shape, was designed by the engineer Achille Rossi and operated for the first time on 6 September 1866, replacing the old building that overlooked Punta Meliso and commissioned by Frederick II, that is, an anticorsara tower. Over the course of its history, the lighthouse has received various maintenance works, such as the replacement of the original lantern and the rotary apparatus. Of course, the power supply method has also changed over time, passing from the old oil system to the more modern electrical system in the year 1937.
The inside of the tower is characterized by the presence of a long staircase, composed to be exact of 254 steps, which allows the climb up to the cage of the projection apparatus.
The lantern, which in particular weather conditions emits a beam of visible light up to 50 km away, has a diameter of 3 meters and is equipped with 16 lenses, 10 of which are darkened, to allow the right alternation of white and red light signals. . These have the task of reporting the right information to sailors, including the presence of dangerous shoals in the sea of Ugento. Currently the lighthouse emits 3 beams of light every 15 seconds, and is active from dusk until dawn.