Santa Maria de Leuca

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WorldMediterraneanItalyAdriatic Coast of ItalyIonian Coast of ItalySanta Maria de Leuca

Santa Maria di Leuca, Adriatic Coast, Italy

Santa Maria de Leuca
39°47.6′N, 18°21.5′E Chart icon.png
Santa Maria di Leuca

The harbour of Santa Maria di Leuca lies at the extreme southern tip of the ‘heel’ of the Italian peninsula, where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. It is a popular port of call for yachts transiting the Golfo di Taranto en route to Greece or Sicily. Apart from its position as the ‘gateway to Italy’ from S and E, the town is also famous for its lighthouse, one of the tallest in Italy, and its Basilica De Finibus Terrae (land's end), built in the 18th century to commemorate the arrival of St Peter here on his way to preach in Rome around 60 AD. The area around Santa Maria di Leuca is riddled with limestone caves, in some of which prehistoric remains have been found.


British Admiralty


During the summer the prevailing winds in the Ionian are light to moderate SW or SE seabreezes. In spring and autumn northerly winds are more frequent and can quickly rise to near gale force, especially in the lee of high mountain ranges. Winds in summer are generally light from the Straits of Messina until reaching the Golfo di Squillace between Rocella Ionica and Le Castella. With anything W in the wind, it tends to funnel down here over the mountains of southern Calabria, bringing strong gusts and raising an uncomfortable sea. The conditions to avoid, however, when cruising this part of the Ionian coast are strong southerlies. The harbours here are few and far between and none of them are really safe to enter in such conditions. Further east in the Gulf of Taranto local seabreezes predominate during the summer, although a light to moderate northerly is not uncommon. With strong southerlies, a heavy and uncomfortable swell develops across the whole gulf.

Sources for weather information:

  • There is a continuous (computerised voice) weather forecast on VHF 68 - first in Italian and then followed with an English translation
  • The same forecast is given in Italian and English on VHF coastal stations following a notification on channel 16
  • Navtex weather forecasts are broadcast from stations at Roma, Cagliari (Sardinia) and Augusta (Sicily)


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.




Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


In the approach from N, beware of the dangerous reef of Secche di Ugento, which extends 1.5 miles offshore between Torre San Giovanni and Torre Pali. A yacht heading along this coast should keep at least two miles offshore. In the approach to the harbour of Santa Maria di Leuca the lighthouse on Capo Santa Maria di Leuca immediately E of the harbour, one of the largest in Italy, is conspicuous. Closer in, the breakwaters of the harbour are clearly identifiable. The harbour is entered from WSW, staying in the centre of the channel to avoid reported shoals on either side.


Pontoons in Santa Maria di Leuca

Contact the harbour authorities on VHF channel 12 prior to entry. To port on entering the harbour are a series of pontoons providing a total of 700 berths, of which 252 are allocated to leisure craft and 32 for yachts in transit. The berths are managed by the company Porto Turistico Marina di Leuca. Maximum length on the pontoons 40 metres. Depths at the pontoons range from 2.0 metres inshore to 7.5 metres at the outer end. Laid moorings at all berths. Water and electricity on the pontoons. Toilets and showers. Shelter is good here in most conditions, although strong SW winds send in a swell which can become dangerous.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs



Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.


Slipway. Travel lift (100 T). Mobile crane (20 T). Hard standing. Engine, electrical and electronic repairs. Wood and fiberglass hull repairs. Sail repairs. Divers.

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel station on the quay (0800 - 2000). Water and electricity on the pontoons.

Things to do Ashore


The town’s main claim to fame is the brief stay of St Peter here on his way to Rome around 60 AD. Later in the 1st century AD, a group of monks founded a small church here, replaced in the 18 century with a large basilica now accessed via 184 steps up from the harbour. Also near the site is a Corinthian column erected in 1939 to commemorate the completion of the Apulian Aqueduct. Inland from the harbour are some smart (if rather faded) villas built in the 19th century.

Basilica of Santa Maria di Leuca

Grocery & Supply Stores

Provisions shops in the town.


Several restaurants and pizzerias in the town.





Motorbike & Car Rentals

Rental outlets in the town.

Garbage Disposal

Bins in the marina.


  • Buses to Taranto and Brindisi.
  • Local and international flights from Brindisi (88 km) and Bari (200 km) airports.
  • Train station at Gagliano del Capo (7 kms) with connections to Lecce and beyond.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


References & Publications

See Italy.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Names: Lighthouse, Athene of Lymington

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