Grotta della Poesia is translated into English as ‘the cave of poetry’ and can be found alongside the sunny Salento peninsula in the Puglia region of Italy. Here’s your ultimate guide to visiting the Grotta della Poesia, as well as travel tips and things to know before visiting.
I should preface this post by saying that the grotto is the kind of thing that comes to mind when it comes to the definition of over-tourism. If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax. This is not it. Instead, if you want a quiet and tranquil experience, then I recommend heading a little further down the Salento peninsula to the sea caves surrounding the charming medieval town of Otranto.
What is the Grotta della Poesia?
The grotto is a natural pool which is fed by sea water that tunnels into the open sea. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, the unique landscape can be found around a half-hour drive from the Baroque city of Lecce. So impressive is the sea cave, that it has been listed as one of the 10 most beautiful natural pools in the world by National Geographic.
Today, the pool is part of the archeological site of Roca Vecchia. Also known as Rocavecchia or Roca for short, the site was first discovered in the 1980s and is famous for being the site where the largest set of Mycenaean pottery recovered west of Greece was found.
How to visit the Grotta della Poesia
Before visiting the grotto, you should know that you actually have to pay to visit. Entrance to the park which contains the grotto and the chance to see the ancient rock formations up close is €3 per adult and €2 for concessions. The grotto used to be free but an entrance charge has since been introduced in the past few summers.
My boyfriend and I visited because we’re not sure that we’ll ever make it back to this part of Puglia and it’s one of those ‘must see attractions of Puglia’ that we saw listed in every guidebook. However, what was once a hidden gem of Puglia has since become ‘discovered’ and was incredibly busy.
The cliff edges around the grotto, as well as those leading directly onto the sea below are extremely high. The stone formations are steep and tough to walk on. As such, I would recommend wearing good trainers/ walking shoes and not taking children or pets.
When entering Roca Vecchia, we were told that swimming in the Grotta della Poesia and its surrounds is not permitted. However, we soon discovered that there were dozens of people swimming in the open-top sea cave and diving into the clear water.
Though we didn’t verify this for ourselves, I’ve read from multiple sources that you can’t bring umbrellas or shades into the park. As the sun in Salento is incredibly strong, then it’s not the ideal place to sunbathe for long lengths of time. You’ll also want to pack a good suncream and hat.
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