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Destinations for excursions in the Salento

The Salento, the 'heel of the Italian boot', stretches from Taranto in the north to Otranto in the extreme south-east.
Nature is characterized by picturesque beaches and wildly romantic steep coasts, rich architecture, art and culture certainly add to fascinating travelers from all over the world.

 

Destinations for excursions in the Salento

The Salento, the 'heel of the Italian boot', stretches from Taranto in the north to Otranto in the extreme south-east.
Nature is characterized by picturesque beaches and wildly romantic steep coasts, rich architecture, art and culture certainly add to fascinating travelers from all over the world.

Otranto

During your holidays in the Salento you should not miss out on a visit to Otranto, the town which lies farthest south-east in Italy. The roots of Italian way of life grow very deep there.
Tourists may become aware of this when they realize that the break at lunchtime really is rather long. In the evening, however, the town comes alive again. Otranto’s Norman town wall and „Santa Annunziata“, the Norman cathedral dating from 1088 and adorned with thousands and thousands of tesserae, are fascinating.

Finibus Terrae (Where the world ends)

Not only Italy’s easternmost town lies in the Salento, so does the southernmost point of the Italian boot, which is at Santa Maria di Leuca, to be precise. It is at Punta Ristola, the southern cape, that the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet.

It such a fascinating place because of this spectacle of nature as well as the numerous grottos you can visit and, of course, because of the myths it is shrouded in. According to an Old Greek legend, Siren Leucosia lived there and she is said to have given Leuca its name.  

Tradition has it that Saint Peter set foot on land there. And it is due to him that basilica Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae was built right next to the majestic lighthouse on the cape. Visitors should linger in the spacious church square for a while and take in the scenery: the impressive building with the „faro“ in the background and the fascinating setting of sea and land.  

The Virgin Mary is said to have saved shipwrecked seamen from drowning and that is why „Santa Maria“ precedes the name of „Leuca“.

The owner of our holiday home „Casa Finis Terrae“ told us that Europe’s longest aqueduct, „acquedotto pugliese“ which measures 224 km in length, ends at the cape. Several times per year it is opened to reduce water pressure and the water then cascades over and down the rocks. Should you be in the area, do not miss out on this spectacle.

Tarantella – dance tradition in the Salento

„La Notte della Taranta“ has been taking place in the Salento since 1998. This music festival centers on the „pizzica“, a rapid and rhythmic folk dance of the tarantella dance tradition, as well as on the characteristic music of the Salento and its fusion with other music styles, ranging from jazz to classical, world and rock music.  

From August 8th to 27th, there are concerts and dancing performances by traditional groups, but also by the international world music scene in different places in the Salento every day.

The closing act of the festival takes place in the small town of Melpignano: a great final concert, at which local and international music stars perform on stage. Every year, thousands of visitors listen to the sounds of the tambourines filling the air of the Apulian summer night.

Taranto

Settlement of the port on the Ionian Sea in the northern Salento dates back to times before Christ. The main attraction of Taranto is, without doubt, impressive Castello Aragonese, a castle built by the Byzantines in 900 AD.

In the centro storico, which is located on an island and accessible via Ponte Girevole, you find remains of Greek monuments, such as the columns of a Doric temple.

The National Archaeological Museum, the Greco-Roman necropolises and the Crypt of the Redeemer are also worth a visit.

Other worthwhile towns in the Salento

Gallipoli
Lecce
Nardò/Porto Selvaggio