Il Salento

Salento is located in the most south-eastern part of the Italian peninsula, the so-called “heel of the boot”, and more precisely it is located in the southernmost part of the Puglia region between the Brindisi coast, the Gulf of Taranto and the extreme southern tip (Leuca) also called “finibus terrae”.
Salento measures just under 6,000 square km and fully includes the province of Lecce and a small part of the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto, and is “embraced” by the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea for more than 250 km, therefore it is located at the center of the Mediterranean Basin, exactly on the “border” between West and East, so much so that it is possible to witness both the sunrise from the eastern shore (Adriatic Sea) and the sunset from the western shore (Ionian Sea).
But what does Salento have more than other places in Italy? What is it that characterizes it? As said before, because of its particular geographical position, the “gateway to the East” has developed in recent centuries a particular “mix” between the cultures and traditions of the East and the West, as can be admired in the buildings, in the churches, in the fortified farms, characteristic of all the Salento municipalities, such as the Baroque which finds its largest and most beautiful structures in enchanting Lecce, all elements that tell a story that is certainly not recent but almost “lost in time” of all civilizations that lived and “influenced” this region of Italy until a few centuries ago.
Returning to the “natural” aspect of Salento, all its visitors will surely be impressed by the beautiful coasts: from the white sandy ones characterized by the so-called “dunes” to the high and vast cliffs rich in caves and ravines with seabed that have nothing to envy to those of other areas of Italy! We cannot fail to mention the splendid pine forests that precede the coasts of the Salento coasts, or, entering the hinterland, the extensive vineyards and olive groves characteristic of the Salento environment, such as the “holm oak” and the few, unfortunately few, specimens of “oak vallonea “present in the woods of Tricase or like the” Cesine “, one of the most important” wetlands of international value “(as declared by the Commission of Ramsar) where the wonders of Mediterranean flora and fauna can be admired.
Salento is a land where temperatures are very mild in winter and very hot in summer, and this is due, in addition to its geographical position, to a hot and humid wind that blows for many days of the year: the ” sirocco “. However, Salento being very flat is naturally affected by other winds as well as the sirocco heat such as the cold and dry “tramontana”. All this means that the average annual temperature is slightly below 20 ° C, with minimum peaks in January of around 10 ° C and maximum peaks in August with around 30 ° C, temperatures also facilitated by the countless sunny days prevailing during the year, alternating with irregular rains often frequent between November and April.
Salento is that strip of land that ends the heel of the Italian boot. It includes the province of Lecce and has a peninsular shape, being bathed by the splendid Ionian (West) and Adriatic (East) seas. A piece of land full of history and traditions, it makes natural and architectural beauties and hospitality its strengths to emerge more and more in the context of a tourism that too often takes for granted and dull forms.

The nature

The naturalistic aspect assumes primary importance in Salento. The predominant landscape is the Mediterranean scrub, an expanse of shrubs and aromatic plants that adapt to our karst land. Precisely the limestone origin of the territory gives rise to the splendid and innumerable caves, which embroider the Adriatic coast with fantastic rock lace. The sea, clear and crystalline, is our most important resource. The Ionian coast consists mainly of white and very fine sandy beaches, alternating with low and easily accessible rocky sections. The Adriatic coast (just 60 km away from the previous one) has the characteristic of being high and rocky, offering breathtaking views and giving the opportunity to be in contact with unspoiled nature a few steps from the best tourist facilities. The hinterland is characterized by centuries-old crops, such as vineyards and olive groves. The latter are dotted with centuries-old specimens that with their contortions embellish the territory.

History and Architecture

Salento, given its strategic geographical position that places it in the center of the Mediterranean, has always been a fulcrum of the civilizations that have developed and proliferated in this basin. Centers of primary importance such as Otranto, Gallipoli, Leuca have been very important points of reference in commercial routes.
But the history of Salento begins from prehistory, splendidly evidenced by megalithic structures such as dolmens and menhirs, cave paintings in the caves and discoveries of great paleontological and palethnological relevance. The historical period that most of all has left its mark in our cities is undoubtedly the one between the 17th and 18th centuries, with the flowering of the Lecce Baroque, a unique and inimitable style, which covers our churches and our palaces with charm and art. Colonnades and portals are full of never excessive reliefs.

The traditions

Ancient lands, like ours, are always treasure chests containing traditions that have their origins in time immemorial. Linked to religion, the culture of the land or gastronomy, these traditions do not show signs of abandoning these places even in a “global” era such as the present one. Customs and customs of Salento are always in fashion, and welcome tourists by immersing them in an atmosphere of celebration never ostentatious and at times frugal. Festive signal is above all the popular music of Salento, known as Pizzica, made up of frenetic rhythms marked by expert and passionate drummers, as well as guitars, harmonics and strings. Pizzica has its roots in the popular belief that the bite of the tarantula demonized that it was the victim (in the tradition it is young women, called the Pizzicate), and only the frenetic dance resulting from the frenzied rhythm of the tambourines, with the help of San Paolo or San Donato, let this spirit out of the unfortunate. In reality, Pizzica was used as a courtship dance until the mid-twentieth century. Now this music has proudly become an icon of our land, and is successfully exported. Another aspect of folklore related to religion are the popular festivals, often organized in honor of the patron saint, which are colored with lights and pyrotechnic games and smell the smells of the characteristic sweets, such as an almond brittle called cupeta, or chocolate biscuits covered with icing, the mustazzoli. In this regard, a special mention should be made to the local cuisine, which is enriched by the flavors of the fruits of the earth (as generous as it is thirsty), giving dishes with a unique and full-bodied flavor. We mention homemade pasta (minchiareddhri and ricchie), frisa, water and salt, cialleddhra.