Tag Archives: Apulia vacation

A tour among the castles of Salento: Otranto

1 Mag

An important crossroads between West and East, the castle of Otranto is closely related to the city walls with which it forms a single defensive system.

The Aragonese castle bears the name of the family that took care of the reconstruction after the attack by the Turks in 1480. It was, in fact, under the Duke Alfonso D’Aragona that in 1481 the castle was completely recovered. However, from the Aragonese phase only a tower and part of the walls remain.

The current appearance of the manor is due to the Spanish viceroys, who made it a real masterpiece of military architecture: extraordinary defense works were implemented in 1535 by Don Pedro of Toledo, of which the coat of arms on the entrance portal and on the outer curtain. The two polygonal bastions added in 1578 on the side facing the sea, incorporated the pre-existing Aragonese bastion.

Today the fort has a pentagonal plan, surrounded by a large moat and marked by four towers: three circular in carparo and one with the tip reaching towards the sea; on the fifth side, uncovered, the drawbridge opens up. Beautiful to visit, the castle is currently the site of temporary and permanent art exhibitions on local history and on the Grotta dei Cervi of great cultural importance.

CURIOSITY – The castle gave its name to the first Gothic novel in history, “The castle of Otranto”, written by Horace Walpole in 1764.

If you don’t know where to sleep in Salento, here you will find some useful advice.

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.it

Mobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

The Apulian Romanesque: discovering the Nordic testimonies in Salento

24 Apr

Traces of Nordic architecture can also be found unexpectedly in the deep South of Salento: it is the Apulian Romanesque, an artistic style that developed between the 11th century and the first half of the 13th century. Below, let’s take a short tour of the examples of excellence: the Cathedral of Otranto, the Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria in Galatina and the Abbey of Santa Maria in Cerrate.

The typical characters of Northern European art (France, Germany, Normandy) reworked with elements of Byzantine and Arab art give rise to an original and unprecedented result which is the so-called Apulian Romanesque. The Nordic, and in particular Norman, imprint in these areas is due to the frequentation of the Apulian ports by pilgrims headed to the Holy Land and which were also the starting point for many participants in the First Crusade in 1090.

The cathedral of Otranto

An important example of Apulian Romanesque is the cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, built on the remains of a Roman domus, a Messapian village and an early Christian temple. It was founded in 1068 by the Norman bishop Guglielmo and consecrated to worship in 1088. Inside it preserves an important floor mosaic made between 1163 and 1166 by the Basilian monk Pantaleone.

In August 1480, the cathedral was the scene of a terrible carnage: the Turks stormed the city after a few days of siege and entered the church exterminating the clergy and civilians who had taken refuge there, whose remains are still preserved in the crypt. It was transformed into a mosque and all the frescoes dating back to the 13th century were destroyed.

The abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate

Located on the Squinzano-Casalabate provincial road, it is one of the most significant examples of Apulian Romanesque. According to legend, the abbey was founded at the end of the 12th century by Tancredi d’Altavilla, count of Lecce, when in this place, during a hunting trip, the Madonna appeared in Tancredi between the horns of a deer, hence the toponym Cerrate or Cervate.

The locality was an important religious and cultural center until the sixteenth century and subsequently transformed into a farm. In 1711 the abbey was sacked by Turkish pirates and fell into a state of neglect, which continued until the 1965 restoration by the Province of Lecce. The complex remained the property of the local authority until 2012, the year in which it passed to the Fondo Ambiente Italiano.

The Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria in Galatina

It is one of the most famous monuments of Apulian Romanesque and Gothic art and was built between 1369 and 1391, by the will of Raimondello Orsini del Balzo. The latter, in one of his numerous journeys, returning from the Crusades, went as far as the summit of Mount Sinai to pay homage to the body of Saint Catherine; according to legend, when she left, he kissed the hand of her Saint, tearing her finger with his teeth. Back in Italy he took the relic with him which, set in a silver reliquary, is still kept in the church treasury. The building, on Raimondello’s death in 1405, will be completed by his wife, Princess Maria d’Enghien, and then by his son, Giovanni Antonio Orsini Del Balzo.

The building was built on a pre-existing Byzantine church of the Greek rite dating back to the IX-X century whose traces are clearly visible in the outer wall of the right aisle in which the apse was incorporated, perhaps to save building material. The pictorial decoration is of great artistic importance: the interior, in fact, was completely frescoed towards the end of the fourteenth century by local workers, covering some parts of the oldest fragments.

If you don’t know where to sleep in Salento, here you will find some useful advice.

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.it

Mobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

The “underground” Salento: the crypt of the Crucifix in Ugento

6 Mar

Beyond the beaches and the sea that make Salento‘s panoramas an extraordinary paradise with an exotic charm, this land hides secret places that tell of precious artistic and architectural testimonies, as well. The “underground” Salento is a tour to discover the hidden places of Salento. Read here to find out more.

Crypt of the Crucifix – It is an art treasure chest with totally frescoed walls and ceiling. Particular designs: griffins, fantastic figures and plant motifs alternate between black crusader shields, symbol of the Teutonic knights and shields with red cross, of the Templars. Among the frescoes, dated 12th-17th centuries, there is also the beautiful Madonna holding the Child with the earring to the lobe.

Ugento – Located about 60 km south of Lecce, the town was recognized as a city of art in 2008 for its architectural, archaeological and environmental beauties. With a coastline of about 12 km mainly low and sandy, Ugento boasts some of the most beautiful marinas in Salento such as Torre San Giovanni, Torre Mozza and Lido Marini.

If you don’t know where to sleep in Salento, here you will find some useful advice:

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.itMobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

“Valle D’Itria”: a wonderful land just next to Salento. Things to see in: Cisternino

13 Feb

Divided between the provinces of Bari, Taranto and Brindisi, the Itria Valley is a portion of central Puglia, whose peculiarities are: the trulli, typical cone-shaped stone houses, and the rural landscape, characterized by the use of local stone used to build dry stone walls. The most beautiful villages are: Ostuni, Alberobello, Martina Franca and Cisternino.

Cisternino

Awarded the “Bandiera arancione” of the Italian Touring Club, Cisternino, perched on the so-called Murgia dei Trulli, is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, where you can stroll through the cobbled alleys of “chianche” and enjoy grilled meat in one of the ” ready stoves “.

The medieval old town, which has remained almost intact, houses the four four districts of “Bère Vécchie“, “Scheledd“, “u Pantène“, “L’ìsule“, which with the outermost one, called “u Bùrie“, make up the small maze of streets and open spaces where whitewashed houses, alleys adorned with geraniums, stairways, loggias and arches alternate. On the walk, you can follow the road that leads to Porta Piccola, through the airy Piazza Vittorio Emanuele with its beautiful Clock Tower.

Also in the old town it is possible to admire the historic residences, from the Governor’s palace, a beautiful example of the Baroque in Puglia, to the sixteenth-century bishop’s palace, from Palazzo Amati to Palazzo Lagravinese, to Palazzo Ricci-Capece with the Torre del Vento.

Here you will find some useful advice for your vacation in Apulia:

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.it

Mobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

“Valle D’Itria”: a wonderful land just next to Salento. Things to see in: Martina Franca

6 Feb

Divided between the provinces of Bari, Taranto and Brindisi, the Itria Valley is a portion of central Puglia, whose peculiarities are: the trulli, typical cone-shaped stone houses, and the rural landscape, characterized by the use of local stone used to build dry stone walls. The most beautiful villages are: Ostuni, Alberobello, Martina Franca and Cisternino.

Martina Franca

Getting lost in the alleys of “U ‘curdunnidd“, the old town that goes from the Church of the Carmine to the Basilica of San Martino, is one of the most interesting activities to do in Martina Franca, a town in the Itria valley that rises on the eastern hills of the Murgia.

The palaces in Baroque and Rococo style, with rich portals with coats of arms and apotropaic masks force you to walk with your nose upwards to admire their beauty. The characteristic white houses that develop vertically embellish the old town along with the sumptuous baroque of Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo Martucci, Palazzo Università, Palazzo Motolese, Palazzo Maggi, Palazzo Ancona and the Basilica of Saint martin.

Martina Franca owes its name partly to the devotion to San Martino, who saved its inhabitants from enemy invasions, and partly to the times when Philip of Anjou offered his inhabitants exemptions on the payment of taxes.

You must taste the bocconotti with cream and black cherry or ricotta and you must buy excellent salami, soppressate, pancetta and above all the capocollo, the symbol of the town.

Here you will find some useful advice for your vacation in Apulia:

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.it

Mobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

“Valle D’Itria”: a wonderful land just next to Salento. Things to see in: Alberobello

30 Gen

Divided between the provinces of Bari, Taranto and Brindisi, the Itria Valley is a portion of central Puglia, whose peculiarities are: the trulli, typical cone-shaped stone houses, and the rural landscape, characterized by the use of local stone used to build dry stone walls. The most beautiful villages are: Ostuni, Alberobello, Martina Franca and Cisternino.

Alberobello

Thanks to the impressive expanse of trulli of which they are the symbol, Alberobello has been recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1996.

Immersed in the heart of the Murgia, at 50 km from Bari, the village of Alberobello is unique in the world thanks to the dry stone houses, whitewashed with quicklime and with a cone-shaped roof, built with exposed stone. Crosses, pierced hearts and zodiac symbols decorate the roof of each trullo, which still retains its mystery intact today.

The old town is a maze of winding alleys and characteristic squares that intertwine in the Rione Monti, where the “Siamese trulli” stand out, with their original two-cone roof, the Church of Sant’Antonio and the Trullo Sovrano. Do not miss the Museum of the Territory, housed in a complex of communicating trulli, and the House of Love, today a precious tourist information point, the first building in the entire town built with lime and mortar.

Here you will find some useful advice for your vacation in Apulia:

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.it

Mobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

“Valle D’Itria”: a wonderful land just next to Salento. Things to see in: Ostuni

25 Gen

Divided between the provinces of Bari, Taranto and Brindisi, the Itria Valley is a portion of central Puglia, whose peculiarities are: the trulli, typical cone-shaped stone houses, and the rural landscape, characterized by the use of local stone used to build dry stone walls. The most beautiful villages are: Ostuni, Alberobello, Martina Franca and Cisternino.

Ostuni

Known as the “White City”, Ostuni is a labyrinth of alleys, palaces with Baroque railings, period lamps and stairways with the sea in the background. Perched on three hills, the village rises 218 m above sea level and it is just 8 km from the Adriatic coast.

The medieval village owes its name to the houses whitewashed with lime, a practice still strictly respected by its residents. The maze of alleys that make up the old town reminds of an Arab kasbah. The old city is called the “terra” and is distinguished from the more recent one called “marina”.

Artisan shops, typical restaurants and small shops decorate the picturesque alleys. At the center of the village stands the fifteenth-century Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria dell’Assunzione, a national monument since 1902, which stands on the top of the highest hill of the city.

The Cathedral, the heart of Ostuni, is in Romanesque-Gothic style with a large rose window with 24 rays of rare beauty.

Here you will find some useful advice for your vacation in Apulia:

holiday houses -> www.casesalento.com

Holiday luxury villas -> www.villesalento.it

email -> info@villesalento.it

Mobile Phones -> (+39) 366/2604050 – (+39) 392/0202233

Salento, the most beautiful beaches on the Ionian coast

30 Mag

With a coast of about 70 km, mainly sandy, the part of Salento overlooking the Ionian sea offers landscapes of amazing beauty. The beaches, from Porto Cesareo to Leuca, are like postcards with crystal clear sea that are worth seeing if you are on holiday in Salento. In this short guide, we point out the most beautiful beaches of the Ionian. Continua a leggere

Choose the right beach in Salento depending on the winds. A guide for you

7 Giu

Salento is a land surrounded by the Adriatic Sea on one side and by the Ionian Sea on the other. This allows you to enjoy two different seas in only one vacation! In addition, the distance between one coast and the another is about 50km, so you will have the chance to explore the beauty of both the coasts in one day, driving for an hour.

Being surrounded by two seas, give you the to choose the right beach with the perfect sea every day, depending on the winds.

Before choosing your destination, therefore, consult the weather on your smartphone, take a quick look at this short guide and you will always find the sea with perfect weather conditions. Continua a leggere

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