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Ugento: Dominion of the masserias

 

Ugento is located 6 km from the Ionian Sea, between dazzling Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca at the southern tip of Apulia. Once a fortified town built by the Messapians, the ancient inhabitants of the Salento, Ugento today is a charming, Salentinian small town, which unfolds its charm above all in the evening. 

 

Ugento: Dominion of the masserias

 

Ugento is located 6 km from the Ionian Sea, between dazzling Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca at the southern tip of Apulia. Once a fortified town built by the Messapians, the ancient inhabitants of the Salento, Ugento today is a charming, Salentinian small town, which unfolds its charm above all in the evening. 

Round the 1000-year-old castle 

Castello di Ugento was built in strategic location on a hill as a stronghold and protection against the dreaded attacks by the Turks and Saracens – that was over 1000 years ago.

Its distinctive, impressive tower dates back to the Normans, who ruled this area from the 11th century on. For 900 years the tower lay hidden, because the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. In the course of works of renovation the tower and other findings as well as remains of the castle’s turbulent history were discovered and excavated.

Once the long and elaborate works of renovation had been completed, the old walls finally stood to be admired in new splendor. The town’s landmark, which has been in a nobleman’s family by the beautiful name of d’Amore since 1643, has so-to-speak arrived in the new millennium. Today, it houses, amongst others, a museum for contemporary art, a restaurant (Apulian cuisine!) and a cantina, where wine degustations (only local wines!) takes place regularly.

A stroll through the typical, small alleys of the Old Town takes you to cathedral Santa Maria Assunta, which is worth a closer look, to the clock tower in Piazza San Vincenzo and to the episcopal palace.

The fragrance of green olives 

All around the small town you see olive groves, partly 100 years old or even older, stretching out for kilometers on end. The gnarled trunks and branches of the olive trees define a unique landscape. Apart from tourism, cultivation of olives is the most important economic sector in the Salento.

Apulia’s most beautiful beaches

The white, long sandy beaches on the Ionian Sea between Santa Maria di Leuca and Gallipoli are often called „Maledive del Salento“ – Maldives of the Salento.

The marina of Ugento, Torre San Giovanni, used to be the harbor of Ugento in Roman times. Today it is a unique bathing paradise, which stretches as far as Pescoluse. Many guests and locals consider these kilometers of Caribbean-like coastline the most beautiful in Apulia.

At Ugento’s marina everything centers on a tower, too. The fishing village is named after the torre, which was built around 500 BC. If you stop by Torre San Giovanni today, you might be surprised that it looks quite 'modern'. The ancient Saracen tower has been turned into a lighthouse, which warns seafaring people about the shallow, rocky coast at the foot of the tower. 

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