Your broad and charming guide to Italy
Which one called “Salento” is one of the most appreciated areas of the Apulia territory. It is placed in the extreme south-eastern part of Italy between the Adriatic and the Ionic Sea that join together precisely at the Santa Maria di Leuca Cape, the very final strip of Italy.
From the natural point of view, the Salento landscape is characterized by the Mediterranean Scrub that changes from place to place according to the particular soil where it grows up.
The Salento countryside is characterized by native holm oaks woods, eucalyptus, olive trees, vineyards and by centenarian oak trees.
Near the coast there are aromatic herbs (like sage, mint, rosemary, herb-laurel and thyme), prickly pears and agaves that perfectly fit with the chalky nature of this territory.
This long coast is also characterized by the presence of several ancient sighting towers, of funeral monuments like the Dolmen and the Menhir, and of rural constructions like the “trulli”, the “pajare”, the “masserie” surrounded by typical dry stones walls. Visiting this wonderful land you can also admire the Baroque creations made up by the “Leccese stone” and used to decorate monuments, palaces and churches. Moreover, you will certainly observe the typical “star shaped” vault of the unique Salento houses.
You can admire the wonderful cobalt blue sea of the Salento by going through its fantastic 250 Km long coast.
In order to do that, you can begin this amazing journey starting from Porto Cesareo where you will find a 17 km. long coast characterized by the Isola Grande (the Big Island), the ancient sea bed of the Fumo port of call, the Strea inlet and by the Cesàrea Tower.
From here you can arrive to the ancient city of Nardò with its fortified masserias and its coast sighting towers. Near to this city there are the two very nice seaside villages called S. Maria al Bagno and S. Caterina. Going on, after having passed another small coast village called Lido Conchiglie, you will arrive to Gallipoli where you will be surrounded by the unique colours of its houses and of its sea.
After having visited Gallipoli, you can keep on admiring this wonderful coast arriving to other seaside villages placed near the Ionic Sea: Marina di Mancaversa, Posto Racale, Torre Suda and Torre S. Giovanni. Finally you will reach the most southern part of the Salento peninsula where you will find the seaside villages of Torre Pali and Marina di Pescoluse that offer you well-equipped lidos, white sand and a limpid sea together with several monuments and important archaeological finds.
Going on with this journey throughout the coast, you can admire the seaside villages of Torre Vado, Santa Maria di Leuca, Marina di Andranno, Tricase porto, and of Marina di Novaglie, until the striking cliffs of Porto Badisco, Porto Miggiano, Castro and of S. Cesarea Terme. You will finally arrive to Otranto and to the white sand of the Alimini Lakes. Going on through this Adriatic side you can visit beautiful places like Torre dell’Orso and San Foca characterized by wide rocky inlets, by a very thin sand and by ancient sighting towers.
However, in this territory there also are some hills: the southern ones are called Murge Salentine and the most important among them is called Serra dei Cianci. The northern ones are called Murge Taratine and are placed near the Ionic coast.
The Salento culture and traditions are reflected by the beautiful cities you can admire in this land: their squares, monuments and museums will marvel you with their unique colours and art. The main towns that deserve your attention are Lecce, Maglie, Galatina, Nardò, Castro, Santa Cesarea, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca and Gallipoli. These are artistic and historical cities that were crossroads of different people who mixed together their treasures and cultures that still now characterize the architecture and the costumes of this territory. The local idiom talked through different varieties in all the Salento villages is affected by Latin, Greek, Spanish and Norman influences.
Staying here you can taste all the delicious local dishes following the “wine and the olive oil routes”. The Salento gastronomy is made up by poor ingredients like vegetables, cheeses, fishes and few meat. You will eat homemade pasta like orecchiette, cavatelli, minchiareddhi, sagne dressed with tomatoes sauce and vegetables like turnip greens. Another option is represented by legumes cooked for many hours in terracotta saucepans called “pignate” put on the fire of the chimney. An important role is played by peppers, aubergines, zucchini, and olives preserved in oil and by the tomatoes and hot pepper conserves used to dress meat or the local “frisella” (toasted loaf of bread divided into two parts). Fish is very often fried, grilled and cooked in some tomatoes sauce forming delicious dishes. Another typical Salento dish is represented by the traditional “Pittule” especially prepared on Christmas.
Among the most famous local traditions there are the Focare and the folkloristic dance called Taranta.
…Enjoy your stay in Salento!