Salentine peninsula, with the Ionian
sea to the West and the Adriatic to the East, is the perfect destination
for anyone who loves to be surrounded by the beauty of nature. The
landscape is one of green slopes and lengths of golden sand which stretch
for miles, linking picturesque towns and villages. High
above the crystal clear water rise drammatic cliffs, serving as ideal
viewpoints of the exotic landscape.
along the coastline are several towers constructed around the 16th century
as watchposts to protect the peninsula from invasion. Today they are constant
reminders of the splendour of military architecture. Exploration
of the countryside reveals much of the natural beauty of the area. Idyllic
country roads are bordered by olive groves where gnarled and twisted trunks
are topped by velvety green foliage. As an important natural
resource, these picturesque trees have become considered as one of the
symbols of Salento.
throughout the fields we find "furnieddrhi", small stone constructions
built by landworkers as make-shift homes. Other unmissable examples
of rural architecture include the numerous forts which, besides their
defensive purpose, are expressions of civilisations gone by. Although
many now lie in ruins, others have been successfully reconstructed and
now house restaurants and entertainment venues.
Salento is also famed for its simple and genuine cuisine, based largely on local
produce both from the earth and the sea. The freshness and quality
of the ingredients combine to produce dishes full of flavour and colour.
Among the mouthwatering local specialities are; "pittule",
cauliflower or turnip greens fried in a type of batter; "scapece",
tiny fish soaked in vinegar and then fried, traditionally served with
bread and saffron; "carteddhate" and "purcheddhuzzi",
small cakes made of flaky pastry and covered with honey and cinnamon.
the year there are many festivals which showcase various expressions of
local culture and folklore. Characteristic of such events are fireworks,
fairy lights, decorations and bands and naturally they give visitors the
unique opportunity to meet local people and experience a different culture.
is also an important element of life in Salento and there are numerous
festivals dedicated to the various Saints. This religious devotion
links the people of modern day Salento to their ancestors, a link which
is evident through ancient myths and rituals. Salento is
the land of tarantism and it is here that we find the dance "pizzica"
which, with its frantic rythm played on the tambourine, has the capacity
to transport the dancer to a trance-like state.
legend of the "taranta" is that people, bitten by a venomous
spider, danced to this rythmical music to combat the effects of the venom
and were granted protection by Saint Paul. This legend belongs to
a wonderfully rich cultural past with tradition handed down from generation
to generation. Today, this almost tribal music is performed across
the region by various folk bands during the summer months, bringing an
atmosphere of happiness and celebration to the the warm summer evenings.
Of these musical events, the "Festa di San Rocco" and the "Notte
della Taranta" are the most eagerly awaited by locals and tourists