The Salento, south end of the Apulia Region.
An arid Mediterranean region with two dominant colors : the lands's ochre and the olive trees's soft green. This cultural heritage is from the successive greeks, romans, byzantines, sarasins, normans… Historical fortified villages, baroque ornaments filled churches and lively piazze* squares.
Between these scattered villages, vast stretches of land where only dry stones wall separate the olive groves filled with centuries old trees. On the west coast, the Ionian sea, graced by white sand beaches (often crowded in August). On the the east coast, the Adriatic sea, white limestone cliffs and crystal clear water creeks. Homeland to one of the redactor of Marcellooo! We're sharing our itinerary with you. Out of the plane in Brindisi, a few moments to rent a Fiat500 and andiamo*! lets' go!
The Salento Gold Triangle
Let's start by "THE" capital of the Salento, Lecce, home of Puglia's unique baroque architectural style : the barocco leccese ( 16th to 18th century). The soft Lecce stone allowed the ornamental exuberance of the facades. Admire the Piazza Sant' Oronzo and its roman amphitheater and the santa di Croce Basilica, a style masterpiece. The Piazza del Duomo and its discreet access steeple, in the historical city center is impressively beautiful. The 6 in the evening light is the perfect one to contemplate the carved stone reliefs #nofilter. Aperitivo Time* aperitive at Mamma Elvira Enoteca, a typical wine bar.
After a delicious dinner around the Chiesa di Santa Chiara we advise you to retrace your steps by night. Magico!* Magic !
Marcellooo! unpacks in the centre of this gold triangle, in Galatina, You can visit all the beaches and sites in 30 minutes by car (even in August). Here, no hustle and bustle, only the silence in the small streets where time seems to have stopped. This small town's facades protects treasures from the blazing light. The Basilica di Santa Caterina d'Alessandria and its middle age frescos are a great example. Local specialty to try with this heat : il caffè alla salentina ♡.
WHERE TO SLEEP ?
A surprising B&B / Art gallery in the center of Galatina : the Palazzo Mongiò dell’Elefante della Torre ♡.
Try the Naturalis Bio Resort ♡ for a green alternative. Just 10 minutes away in the of the countryside, you'll be able to enjoy its vines and aloe vera cultivation.
GALLIPOLI, Ionian Coast
Italy? Greece? You sometimes wonder, in the paved streets of the old "Kallipolis", the beautiful city in greek. Gallipoli, old fortified city, built on a small island is animated by an authentic city : fresh fish stalls, laundry hung on the windows, and from the ramparts, sunset with the chanting of vespers… For a bath go to the Punta della Suina bay. Walk trough the pine forest of this natural reserve and access the turquoise waters by the dunes. This coast is very appreciated by the Italians, we advise the august explorers to go to a private beach with a lettino* deckchair, between 5 and 15 euros for the whole day. Lido Punta della Suina or G Beach.
Further south, close to Santa Maria di Leuca, experience bliss in what they call " Salento's Maldives".
OTRANTO, Adriatic Coast
Otranto, was one of the biggest fortified harbors in the Greek period, a strong link between Orient and Occident. Take a walk on the medieval ramparts which dominate the clear waters through the Castello Aragonese and around the normand Cathedral and its huge mosaïc. For a swim, 10 minutes away, a private and very green lido* beach club gives you access to a superb creek : La Dolce Riva.
Siete pronti per la festa?*
Are you ready to party ?
On summer nights the Salento comes alive to celebrate the folklore, gastronomy, traditions and illuminates itself with the luminarie* the lights parties. In july,Scorrano's one (20 minutes away from Galentina), for the Festa di Santa Domenica is one of the most impressive. In Lecce, Sant'Oronzo 's the procession happens between the 24th and 26th of august. Now internationally renowned, La Notte della Taranta enjoys a big popularity, mixing salento's typical music and dance. The festival unfolds in the whole region, the first 20 days of august, with its peak in Melpignano.
The Salento By...
3 QUESTIONS TO
ANTONIO SCOLARI and CHRISTIAN PIZZININI
Owners of the Palazzo Mongiò in Galatina.
1/ AN IDEAL VIEW TO ADMIRE THE SALENTO ?
The sunset on the Punta della Suina beach.
2/ A MUST SEE ADDRESS ?
The Pasticceria Ascalone, try the pasticciotto* the typical custard cream filled cake which finds its origins here since 1745. The Caffè Avio in Lecce for its specialty : the locally roasted caffè alla salentina.
3/ AN EMBLEMATIC FIGURE FROM THE REGION ?
Edoardo Winspeare, Italian director and actor. He lives in Depressa, in the south of the Salento. One of his amazing movies : In Grazia di Dio.