The ancient Castrum Minervae, a Roman military outpost, corresponds to the current city of Castro, a municipality of 2,426 inhabitants in the Province of Lecce (Puglia, Italy).
The municipal territory, located along the eastern coast of the Salento peninsula, is divided between the main town (Castro alta) of which the valuable medieval village survives, located on a promontory at 98 m a.s.l., and the lower part (Castro Marina), built around the marina. Seaside resort with a strong maritime vocation, linked to fishing traditions, boasts ancient origins as heir to the Roman Castrum Minervae.
The territory of the city is embellished with cave sites that are unique in the world from a biological and karst point of view, such as Grotta Zinzulusa and Grotta Romanelli, which have returned extraordinary archaeological remains from the prehistoric age. The promontory of the city (Punta Mucurune) was fortified as early as the second millennium BC. C. and has been permanently populated, albeit with varying fortunes, until today.
The ancient site experienced moments of splendor under the Messapians, playing an important role as an emporium with a port; A Roman colony, after the war against Taranto, retained all its mercantile and strategic importance for the control of the Otranto Canal (the Ionos Poros for the Greeks), even in the Byzantine age.
In the Middle Ages it was the seat of the Diocese and the County, governing a large territory with numerous hamlets. The Diocese and the County were suppressed at the beginning of the 19th century.
The Municipality, autonomous since 1978, has recovered its historical, architectural and monumental heritage and has numerous archaeological excavations underway, in collaboration with the University of Salento.
Renowned tourist and seaside center for decades, it has been awarded the coveted European Blue Flag for 8 years and in the last 2 years the 5 and 4 Sails of Legambiente and has been elevated to the title of “City” by decree of 20 June 2017 of President of the Republic Mattarella, for “memories, historical monuments and current importance”, on a report by the Minister of the Interior.
It boasts a twinning with the city of Edremit in Turkey, by virtue of Castro’s recognition as the landing place of the legendary Homeric hero Aeneas, in the third book of the Aeneid.