Wine and olive oil are the hallmark of Salento. Expanses of olive trees and vineyards as far as the eye can see characterize the landscapes of the countryside of the Heel of the Boot. A brief overview of the centres of Salento excellence will guide you in choosing the DOC products to enjoy the flavor of this land. Let’s discover the wine and oil routes in Galatina, Martano, Melendugno and Vernole.
GALATINA –The land of Taranta, where art and faith merge, but also a village with irrefutable architectural beauties. 20 km south of Lecce, Galatina boasts a very elegant historic centre where arcades and eighteenth-century palaces, embellished with imposing portals and balconies, alternate until you reach the majestic Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, a true treasure trove of faiths.
THE WINE – Since 1997 the wines of the city have been awarded the Galatina Doc denomination. Among the most renowned productions there are the Galatina Chardonnay, straw yellow, with a delicate aroma, dry taste and good structure, and the Galatina Negroamaro, ruby red, with intense aroma and dry, full and harmonious flavor.
MELENDUGNO – Stretching towards the Adriatic coast with its marinas (Torre Dell’Orso, Roca Vecchia, San Foca, Sant’Andrea) awarded several times by the Blue Flag for the quality of the water, Melendugno is a small town 19 km south of Lecce. In the village, we recommend to visit the numerous underground oil mills, the Baronial Palace of Amely, the Clock Tower and the Church of the Assumption, dating back to the sixteenth century.
OLIVE OIL – A thousand hectares of olive groves, almost all centuries old, make Melendugno an important center for the production of extra virgin olive oil. The cooperative oil mill in the town is a point of reference for over 1,500 producers from Terra d’Otranto who bring their olives here, transforming them into a delicate oil with a slightly fruity flavor.
MARTANO – One of the largest centers of Salento Greece, Martano retains a strong tradition linked to the ancient language of griko, contamination between Greek and local dialect. The historic center is a set of alleys dotted with historic buildings, churches and a castle, later transformed into a baronial palace. We recommend a visit to the Monastery of Santa Maria della Consolazione, surrounded by centuries-old olive groves. Here the Cistercian friars open the doors of the delightful baroque church and the museum-art gallery dedicated to the Gallipoli painter Giulio Pagliano.
OLIVE OIL – With its centuries-old olive groves, Martano is part of the National Association “Città dell’Olio” which brings together the municipalities with an olive vocation by promoting the culture of quality extra virgin olive oil. Furthermore, in October every year, the village holds the festival of the “volìa cazzata”, the crushed olive, a local specialty, according to which the olives are crushed and then left to “ripen” in the water.
VERNOLE – 13 km from Lecce and only 3 from Melendugno and its marinas, Vernole is part of the Valle della Cupa territory, characterized by a deep karst depression. All the sacred buildings of the village are affected by the Baroque influence, such as the church of the Assumption, of Sant’Anna and of the Incoronata. Acaya, a small hamlet, is a tiny sixteenth-century fortified village that preserves intact the castle with towers and bastions.
OLIVE OIL – Surrounded by the millenary olive trees of the surrounding countryside, Vernole still preserves in the subsoil the traces of the ancient methods of milling and oil production, with numerous underground oil mills. The oldest is the Trappeto Caffa, dating back to the sixteenth century.
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