Otranto, a splendid precipitous fortress

Otranto

Like an aquamarine lying on the sea of ​​Puglia, between the Mediterranean and the Ionian Sea, Otranto is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. A pearl from ancient history, in the province of Lecce, in the most easterly point of the Italian peninsula, must for those who choose to spend their holidays in Salento. Due to the influence that the East has had on the city, first Messapian and Roman center, then Byzantine and later Aragonese, Otranto is also known as the Byzantium of Salento.

In 2010, its old town was declared World Heritage and model of a culture of peace by UNESCO. The village, which is the heart of the town is accessed from “Porta Terra” which opens along a bastion of the Napoleonic era, recently restored. From here, the squares and the other gates follow one another along an ancient floor paved with stones. In the highest part of the village stands the Norman cathedral, which is the largest church in Puglia. The Cathedral of the Annunziata was built between 1080 and 1088 and contains in its Romanesque structure, the different cultures – Norman, Arabic and Greek – who have crossed Otranto. Inside, you can walk for more than 16 meters above its mosaic floor, one of the world’s most extended.

Otranto scorci

Walking towards the sea you can reach the Aragonese Castle of Otranto, which was  turned from defensive stronghold into a beautiful space dedicated to culture and events. And speaking of feasts, one of the most cherished in the Otranto tradition is dedicated to the Tablets of St. Joseph and it is celebrated on March 19 at lunchtime. Devoted families prepare large tables laden with big, circular donut-shaped loaves, some representing symbols (the lily, the rosary, etc.) others representing “saints” (Mary, baby Jesus, St. Joseph, etc.), placed around the table and played by people from the family.

Another gem of the area is its cuisine, tasty and typically Mediterranean. Fresh fish and traditional dishes such as grilled eggplant with mint and garlic, fried peppers, the peperonata, the tomato soup, stewed turnip tops, tease the palate in an irresistible way, accompanied by fine wines produced locally such as the Negroamaro and the Primitivo. And to work off such tasty dishes what better than a fascinating excursion to the Otranto beaches and to its sea, one of Italy’s cleanest and more crystalline, to the discovery of the Deer Cave. A natural cave in the bay of Porto Badisco that contains a priceless archaeological heritage, with numerous pictorial evidence on the walls, a piece of history to collect and keep if you decide to visit Otranto.


Sweet Dreams – Our selection of palaces, mansions and boutique hotels:

Tenuta Furnirussi - EsternoTenuta Furnirussi – Strada Comunale Scine 29-31, Serrano di Carpignano Salentino (LE)

La passeggiata lungo mare ad Otranto

Vista panoramica sulla città di Otranto

Camminata panoramica di Otranto

Fotografia di copertina: Freddyballo

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