Not to forget the times of a distant past ...
In the Salento it is difficult not to be aware of the region’s past.It is a region where you can encounter the ancient links between the Orient and the West. The various conquerors, settlers and inhabitants of the region have all helped to create a land rich in history and culture, whilst at the same time welcoming.
Casina Montana B&B is located in Coriglainod’Otranto which is one of the nine communes collectively known as the Greece of Salento. In this Hellenic area you can still hear people speaking ‘griko’, an ancient Greek dialect.
Wandering around the streets of Corigliand’Otranto it would be difficult to miss the Castello de’ Monti, a magnificent example of 16C medieval and military architecture. Not far from the castle you can admire the L’arcoLucchetti with its highly detailed and figuratively carved fables. Inside the town’s mother church you will find a mosaic floor made up of thousands of tiles depicting the Tree of Life.
In the centre of Maglie (2km) you are able to stroll and shop along the elegant and ancient streets. You could also visit the MuseoCivico di Paleontologia and Paletnologia ‘Decio de Lorentiis’ where you will gain an insight into prehistoric Salento.
During the summer months it is possible to take in one of the many concerts organized by La NottedellaTaranta (see www.lanottadellataranta.it) including at Melpignano (3km) where, in front of the former ConventodegliAgostiniani, the annual ‘Concertone’ is staged bringing together many famous national and international artists.
In Soleto (6km) the spire of RaimondelloOrsina, the third highest in Europe, is awe inspiring. You will also find, hidden amongst the houses, the Chiesetta di Santo Stefano a fine example of 14C Romanesque architecture. Before leaving the town make sure that you sample the excellent coffee at CaffetteriaOrsini. At Cutrifiano (8km) you can visit the MuseodellaCeramica where you will find examples of locally made traditional terracotta. Or visit one of the local producers of ceramics such as the NuovaColìs.r.l. company whose origins date back to the 17C.
At Galantina (16km) you will find the Basilica di Santa Caterinad’Alessandria containing a stunning series of frescoes dating back to the 15C, making it second only to the Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi.
Further afield you can visit the Abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate, one of the finest examples of Romaneque architecture in Puglia. At Gallipoli (23km) you can visit the FrantoioIpogeo di Palazzo Granafei, an extensively restored underground olive oil production site dug out of the limestone beneath the palace. It is also worth visiting the Chiesa di Santa Maria dellaPurita, one of the many sea facing churches, with a surprising beautifully decorated interior.
In Ortranto (23km) do not miss the opportunity to visit the cathedral and its 12C mosaic floor.
Wandering around the streets of Lecce (25km) you cannot help but be impressed by the imposing noble palaces and numerous highly decorated churches in the Baroque style. You will be able to admire the intricate carvings produced by master craftsmen from the locally sourced and highly malleable limestone. Lecce is one of Italy’s most historical and beautiful cities and as such has become known as the ‘Florence of the South’. Lecce also has the remains of a Roman amphitheatre; the Basilica di Santa Croce with its elaborately decorated exterior and large rose window; Lecce Cathedral sited in the corner of an expansive and theatrical square; and the Palazzo dei Celestine, now the seat of the provincial government.
The Salento has so much to offer including the many museums where you are able to explore the region’s Messapian origins, laying the foundations for the region’s productive and social systems. You may also observe the many coastal watch towers built in the 15C and 16C after the capture of Otranto by the Ottaman army in 1480. Finally there are numerous megalithic monuments including Dolmen tombs and Menhir standing stones, many of which can be found in the countryside of Guidignano (21km). At just 1km, a short walk, from Casina Montana B&B, is located the MenhirSpecchia.
Given the Casina’s unique and central location we are ideally situated for visiting all the towns and coastlines of the Salento.