Salento - The Italian Jewel
8 June 2019
Puglia is the southernmost part of Italy or the ‘heel of the boot of Italy’ and Salento is the southern tip of Puglia. Popular with Italians, this is one of those gems you will be glad you discovered.
There are many beautiful towns to see in Salento, which is not surprising considering its history – having been inhabited by the Messaps around the V century BC, who constructed wonderful walled cities. And then the Greeks who founded the impressive cities of Gallipoli, Otranto, and Taranto, and then came the Romans, the Byzantines, Normans and Goths have all played a part in creating this beautiful peninsula.
For the modern day visitor there is plenty to see and do.
Lecce, sometimes called the Florence of the South, was the centre of the ornate architecture called the barocco leccese and the city is filled with Baroque monuments and a beautiful castle. Lecce is also famous for its traditional papier mache crafts!
Gallipoli, famous for the battles that took place here in the 1st World War, is now a charming seaside town on the peninsula's east coast. The old town is a wonderful maze of alleys and streets – lovely to wander around, and find shade in on the hot summer days. The town was once an island, but is now connected by a bridge. It retains its medieval walls, Baroque cathedral and rather nice harbour and beaches.
The Beaches of Salento
Salento is known for its clean beaches which are ideal for families, sun worshipers and water sports. This is why it is so popular with the Italians. Not only are the beaches great, but there are also thermal springs – in a nature reserve! What could be better than soaking up the benefits of the thermal waters surrounded by the peaceful sounds of the trees and birds.
The southern tip where the Ionian Sea meets the Adriatic, you’ll find Santa Maria di Leuca. The buildings are whitewashed and the promenade is lined with villas, bars and restaurants.
If you’re looking for sand dunes, then Marina di Pescolure may be the beach for you – with shallow water – ideal for families.
For a day trip try Grecia Salentina. This is a group of towns in the interior of Salento where a Greek dialect is still widely spoken. The architecture retains its Greek origins and houses remain beautifully whitewashed. Visit the churches, historic town centres and impressive castles to immerse yourself in the culture, history and traditional ways of this area.
Fly to Salento Airport (Brindisi) BDS