Puglia, Grotta della Poesia: stories about a magical place

Puglia, a region rich in natural and cultural beauty, hides a unique and fascinating place: the Grotta della Poesia. This natural wonder fascinates visitors with its breathtaking beauty and its thousand-year history.Let’s discover the characteristics, cultural significance and experiences that make the Grotta della Poesia an unforgettable place to visit in Puglia. 

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The Grotta della Poesia is a fascinating natural site that opens between the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea and creates a natural pool that enchants visitors with its turquoise waters and the evocative atmosphere that surrounds it.  

Where are the Poetry Caves? 

Yes, speaking in the plural would be more correct, since the Grotto of Poetry is called “Grotto of Great Poetry” because it is connected to a smaller grotto reachable through a canal. 

It is part of a complex of natural pools that hides among the wonders of Salento, an area located in the “Tacco dello Stivale”.  More specifically, the Grotta della Poesia is located in the town of Roca Vecchia, a charming hamlet of the town of Melendugno, in the province of Lecce.

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This coastal area, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, is famous for its crystal clear waters, spectacular cliffs and beautiful beaches.  

How did the Grotto of Poetry form? 

Hidden between the majestic cliffs and the crystal clear waters of Salento, there are real works of art of nature: the natural pools. These hidden jewels, which dot the coast of Salento, are the result of a unique and fascinating process that mixes the karst activity and the power of the wind. 

The natural pools of Puglia such as the Grotta della Poesia come to life thanks to the incessant beating of the sea. Over the millennia, the waves have patiently carved the coast, constantly working coastal rocks, composed mainly of limestone and tuff, and creating natural cavities and pools.  

But the sea is not the only creator of these wonders. The wind also contributed to the formation of these unique structures with its incessant movement and strength. Through the erosive action of the wind, the coastal rocks have been shaped and smoothed over time. 

Why is it called the Poetry Cave? 

The evocative name “Grotta della Poesia” was not chosen by chance, but reflects the very essence of this place between San Foca and Torre dell’Orso.  

The Poetry Cave, with its natural pool of crystal clear waters and walls carved by the sea, is a work of art of nature. Since ancient times, this place has been celebrated for its beauty and its timeless charm.

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According to legend, a beautiful princess used to dive into the waters of the cave, thus attracting the attention of many singers, dreamers poets who, bewitched by that image, dedicated inspired verses. 

This popular belief has helped to consolidate the association between the cave and poetry, giving the place an aura of mystery and literary charm. 

Preserving and appreciating the Grotto of Poetry 

Given its cultural and natural importance, it is essential to preserve and protect the Grotto of Poetry. Local authorities and the community are actively committed to keeping the area clean and pristine and educating visitors about the importance of reducing environmental impact. 

In fact it is necessary to adopt a sustainable and conscious approach to ensure the preservation of the Grotto of Poetry. This implies not only compliance with the rules of conduct, but also the promotion of environmentally sustainable practices.  

Last but not least, it is vain to try to understand how to swim in the Grotta della Poesia because the access to the waters of this natural pool has been there since 2019. It is a site to be preserved.

To reach the Grotta della Poesia, you can take as a reference the city of Lecce, one of the architectural gems of Salento. From Lecce, you can follow the provincial road 1, until you get to Roca Vecchia. Once you arrive, you can follow the signs to the site, which is nearby.  

If you arrive from Otranto you have to take the provincial road 136 with direction Roca Vecchia while if you are in San Foca or Torre dell’Orso you have to take the provincial road 366 south in the first case and north in the second case. 

Being a very popular tourist destination and visited by those arriving in Salento, the site can also be reached by bus. From Lecce, you can take the bus towards Torre dell’Orso, get off at Roca Vecchia and walk for about ten minutes. 

As you approach the cave, you can admire the beauty of the Salento coast, with its rocky formations and crystal clear waters that invite you to immerse yourself in a unique experience. Once you arrive at the Grotto of Poetry, you will be faced with a show of colors and shapes that will capture the imagination and give unforgettable emotions. 

Grotto of Poetry, how to get down? 

Once you arrive, how do you access the Grotto of Poetry? Just beyond the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima delle Grazie di Roca Vecchia there is an access that leads directly to the cave.  

With a view to safeguarding the site, however, the authorities have started to quota entry from 2019 and have introduced a ticket to be paid in the period of increased attendance (ie the summer).


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How much do you pay to enter the Grotto of Poetry? The entrance to the area and the guided tour cost three euros for adults while there is a reduction to two euros for those over seventy-five years, children under sixteen and groups with more than ten people. It is free for those who live in the province of Lecce and people with disabilities.  

Grotto of Poetry between history, beauty and myth 

The Grotta della Poesia in Puglia is much more than a simple natural formation: it is a place steeped in history, myth and unspoiled beauty. Its natural swimming pool and the enchanting atmosphere make it an unmissable destination for visitors who wish to discover the magic of the “Heel of the Boot”. Preserving and appreciating this natural wonder is essential to allow future generations to continue to marvel at its timeless beauty.

Copertina: laterradipuglia

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