Visit Salento in Winter, Christmas holidays in Otranto

Saying goodbye to the old year in Salento has the flavor of a romantic story. Otranto, in fact, is the most eastern point in Italy and therefore the place where the first ray of sunshine of the New Year appears. So you can’t think of a better place to celebrate New Year’s Eve than in Otranto at the “Alba dei Popoli”, the concert which takes place every year in the square on New Year’s Eve.

“Alba dei Popoli” is a real festival that celebrates New Year’s Eve with concerts, fireworks and dancing in the square.

THE HISTORY – The event was founded in 1999 and it has gradually become more and more prestigious. Many internationally renowned guests have taken the stage: Goran Bregovic, Franco Battiato, Eugenio Bennato, Edoardo Bennato, Vinicio Capossela, Nicola Piovani, Lou Reed, Pino Daniele, Mario Biondi, Roy Paci, to name a few. 

NATIVITY SCENES – If you are in Salento during the Christmas holidays, you can take the opportunity to visit the many living nativity scenes staged in many local villages. One of the most impressive is that one in Caprarica di Lecce at the Archeodrome of Salento, Kalòs.

Inside the park, the route is full of extraordinary sets, specially reconstructed historical settings and illuminated decorations. You must visit the reconstructions of the artisan workshops reenacting ancient crafts (conzalimmure, cooper, blacksmith, basket maker, conzatraini, scarparu), of the Roman section with Herod’s court, of the sacred temple, with the vestals and centurions of the Legio X Fretensis. During the tour, it is also possible to taste typical dishes and buy local products such as pittule, piscialette (baked bread with tomato), sandwiches with horse bits, etc. All accompanied by the background of Christmas carols that give a magical and festive touch to Christmas evenings.

VILLAGES – Breathing in the Christmas atmosphere is one of the most enjoyable things to do on vacation. Don’t miss the illuminations and the charm of Baroque Lecce decorated for the holidays. The traditional illuminated tree in Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s main square, and the nativity scene that fills the open space in Piazza del Duomo make the Salento capital a gem. Also you can’t miss the “Fiera di Santa Lucia”, an exhibition of handcrafted nativity scenes and characters that populate the nativity that takes place every year from Dec. 8 until Epiphany.



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