The recently restored lighthouse, the 'Faro di Palascia' at Otranto marks the most easterly point on the Italian peninsular. Built in 1867 and used as a lighthouse until the 70s, it has been recently restored and transformed into a small museum and research centre for Mediterranean ecosystems (Osservatorio su Ecologia e Salute degli Ecosistemi Mediterranei).
The museum is still in the set up phase. There is some material in English, but not everything has been translated and I'm not sure whether the very knowledgable guides (environmental scientists) speak English or not. In any case, the view is fantastic and it's a really pleasurable walk down to the lighthouse from the road.
Despite the lighthouse seeming so imposing upon approach, it is tucked away on the headland of the Cape of Otranto and is not visable from the road. You need to take the dirt track around the headland down to the lighthouse from the military base which is prominent and clearly visable from the coastal highway. The location is just a couple of kilometres suth of the town of Otranto although access along the coast would be hard going... better to drive to the military base or walk along the road to the same point.
The museum is open on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and holidays from 10 am to sunset, otherwise by appointment.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find contact details for the centre, but the website below provides a link to my website which provides contact details for enquiries.
Otranto is such a charming city and full of interesting things to do and see that often the surrounding area is neglected for lack of time. For those who have an extra day or two in the area, it is really worthwhile getting out into the countryside, for a seaside walk or around some of the farmland and villages nearby which are full of historical buildings and points of interest.
Discovered in the 1940s and mined during the 1960s and 1970s until it was finally abandoned in 1976, the bauxite deposit just to the south of the city of Otranto, at the most eastern point of mainland Italy, is a curiosity and makes for a really nice excursion. The landscape is stunning, at only a short distance from the spectacular cliffs and rocky coast of Le Orte and the lighthouse of Otranto, the route takes you on a short detour through the farmland and to this fascinating example of industrial archaeology. It's a little bit difficult to find as it's not signed in any way. It's a good idea to get a good map or go with a guide who knows the area.
On the coast north of Otranto stretch for miles of beautiful white sand beaches and crystal blue sea, with pine forests secular behind. And you must have a means of transportation to reach them, even a bicycle, as we have done to Bay of Turks, but there discourage the use of the car in August ..... is terrific the traffic that is created to get to the beaches!
Baia dei Turchi
The south coast is rocky and difficult access and a few even if of great beauty ... I suggest a boat tour!