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“Via Francigena” route in Salento, the paths you can walk

2 Mag

Backpack on the shoulder and comfortable shoes, the hiker is the pilgrim of the 21st century! It is not uncommon for many tourists to choose to discover an area through the slow pace of walking outdoors, in contact with nature.

For this reason we point out to the modern traveler the ancient routes, already trodden by real pilgrims, centuries ago. This is the last segment of the Via Francigena, the path that led from Rome to the Holy Land. We have divided it into itineraries with stops and complete it with km and duration, in order to discover Salento from an unusual perspective.

Itinerary 1: Route: 22km Duration: 6h

Starting from the provincial Squinzano-Casalabate (about 15 km north of Lecce) you arrive at Masseria Patricelli and Masseria Alcaini. From here, after crossing an olive grove, you can admire the Abbey of Santa Maria in Cerrate, famous for its extraordinary medieval frescoes and recently recovered thanks to the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano).

This leads to a wind farm and then to Surbo. From here, you walk till Lecce, in the Monastero degli Olivetani area, inside which there is the church of Saints Niccolò and Cataldo from the 11th century. We also recommend a visit to Piazza Sant’Oronzo, characterized by the column on which there is the statue of the Saint and the Roman amphitheater.

Itinerary 2: Route: 30 km -Duration: 8h30

From Piazza Sant’Oronzo, in the heart of Lecce, move towards via Merine and, after passing the Gardens of Athena, head towards Acaya, a splendid medieval fortified village, which preserves its castle intact. The exit from the center, through the church of San Paolo, is marked by paths characterized by the presence of stone walls and dry buildings that lead to Acquarica di Lecce. Through a cycle path you reach Vernole.

The itinerary ends at the gates of Martano, a characteristic center of the Grecìa Salentina, with a visit to the Monastery of the Cistercian Fathers where you can admire the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione and where the monks produce local products such as liquor, oil and jams.

Itinerary 3: Route: 29.7 km – Duration: 8h30

From Martano, to reach the center of Carpignano Salentino it is necessary to reach the Church of the Madonnella and from here cross a path made up of ancient carriageways. Taking advantage of the cycling route, you arrive at Serràno and then in Cànnole. Taking the Scoppelle local road, you arrive at Masseria Torcito, immersed in a pine forest.

Always crossing the carriageways, you leave the wooded stretch to continue to the Sanctuary of Montevergine, an important place connected to pilgrimages, from which, through a descent, you reach the center of Palmariggi. Continue on the old road to Giurdignano, arriving near the Masseria Quattro Macine, an old abandoned medieval farmhouse, from which you reach an area where you can appreciate dolmens and menhirs. After Giurdignano, the Via Francigena crosses splendid olive groves and an holm oak forest, and then reaches the center of Otranto with the splendid Cathedral and the Byzantine church dedicated to St. Peter.

Itinerary 4: Route: 21.9 km – Duration: 6h

It starts from the port of Otranto, where, just outside the town, you can reach the suggestive former quarry of Bauxite, with its lunar-colored landscape. Through a dirt road you reach Uggiano la Chiesa and then Cocumola. After admiring the menhir of the Cross, you go along a straight line surrounded by olive and pine trees and you reach Vitigliano, where we can visit the church of San Michele Arcangelo. Continue until Vignacastrisi.

Itinerary 5: Route: 14.3 km – Duration: 4h

Leaving the town of Vignacastrisi and passing the Chapel of the Madonna di Costantinopoli, proceed to Marittima. Crossing the provincial road and after taking a dirt road, you arrive near the ruins of the Torre del Sasso. Going further, you will come across a wood of eucalyptus, pine and oak trees, typical of this area. Finally, you reach an intersection that indicates the port of Tricase, the last stop on this itinerary.

Itinerary 6 – Route: 17.5 km, Terrain: dirt, asphalted, Duration: 5h

After Tricase, continue to Tiggiano with its splendid Baronial Palace and Corsano. Continuing along a path in the open countryside dotted with dry stone walls, you arrive to Gagliano del Capo, with the church of San Rocco and the Convent of San Francesco di Paola. Through a municipal road, crossing the countryside, you reach the Sanctuary of Leuca, the last offshoot of the Italian peninsula in the Adriatic. The two angels who welcome the traveler are the symbol of a journey that ends and still the symbol of the beginning of a journey that leads to Jerusalem

Here some useful tips where you can stay during your trip in Salento:

Holiday houses –> https://www.villainpuglia.it/EN/Home  

Holiday villas –> https://www.villesalento.it/index.html#/

For further information:

e-mail –> info@villesalento.it

phones –> (+39) 392/0202233 – (+39) 328/4617633

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