SCOPRI IL SALENTO
La costa del Salento, vera meraviglia della penisola italiana, è caratterizzata da lunghi tratti di sabbia, alternati a tratti di scogli. Partendo da San Cataldo, ci si imbatte in varie spiaggette libere e sabbiose dove il mare è cristallino e vi è la possibilità di pernottare in un residence, a 500 metri dal mare, che offre ogni tipo di comfort: dal bar al ristorante, dall'animazione alla musica dal vivo ai tornei. In località San Foca e Torre dell'Orso, le spiagge sono sabbiose e qui sono anche disponibili appartamenti da prendere in affitto solo nel periodo estivo; si può comunque optare per i villaggi che offrono servizio ristorante, piscina, pizzeria interna, parco con percorsi salute, anfiteatro ed organizzano anche tornei di calcetto. Arrivati ad Otranto, le spiagge, con sabbia fine contornate da scogli, rendono il paesaggio più caratteristico; qui l'acqua del mare è decisamente più pulita. Più a sud si arriva a Santa Cesarea, nota località termale, caratteristica per le basse scogliere e i vari complessi residenziali con costruzioni arabescanti e una splendida costa rocciosa con faraglioni, grotte e naturalmente mare cristallino. Dopo Castro, Tricase e Gagliano del Capo, si giunge al tacco dello stivale, Santa Maria di Leuca, ricca di scogliere e calette. Sulla costa est della penisola salentina vi è Ugento, con spiagge sabbiose color oro e un villaggio immerso nel verde dove si ha la possibilità di organizzare tornei di tennis, corsi di windsurf, aerobica, danza, vela e tiro con l'arco; annessa vi è una dependance. Subito dopo si giunge a Gallipoli, dove le spiagge sono sabbiose e ricche di vegetazione; oltre ai residence c'è la possibilità di affittare o comprare ville dislocate a circa 200 metri da una bellissima spiaggia. Ultima tappa di questo percorso costiero alla scoperta della penisola salentina è Porto Cesareo con spiagge sabbiose frequentate da turisti, soprattutto tedeschi, famiglie e comitive di ragazzi; anche qui vi sono diversi villaggi ed il divertimento è assicurato.
The coast of Salento, a true wonder of the Italian peninsula, is characterized by long stretches of sand, alternating with stretches of rocks. Starting from San Cataldo, you will come across various free and sandy beaches where the sea is crystal clear and there is the possibility of staying in a serviced apartment 500 meters far from the sea, which offers every kind of comfort: from the bar to the restaurant, from animation to live music and tournaments. In San Foca and Torre dell'Orso, beaches are sandy and here are also apartments available for rent only during the summer; you can still opt for resorts that offer service restaurant, pool, pizzeria, internal park, amphitheater and soccer tournaments. Otranto has beaches with fine sand surrounded by rocks and it makes the landscape more characteristic; here the sea water is very clean. On the south you get to Santa Cesarea, famous thermal location characterized by low cliffs and various residential buildings with arabesque buildings and a beautiful rocky coastline with cliffs, caves and of course the crystal clear sea. After Castro, Tricase and Gagliano, you reach the heel of the boot: Santa Maria di Leuca, full of cliffs and coves. On the east coast of the Salento peninsula there is Ugento, with golden sandy beaches and a village in the countryside where you have the possibility to organize tennis tournaments, windsurfing lessons, aerobics, dance, sailing and archery; there is also an additional outbuilding. Then you arrive in Gallipoli, where the beaches are sandy and rich in vegetation. In addition to the residence there is the possibility to rent or buy villas located about 200 meters from a beautiful beach. The last stage of this coastal path to the discovery of the Salento peninsula is Porto Cesareo with sandy beaches frequented by tourists, especially Germans, families and groups of young people ; even here there are several villages and the fun is guaranteed.
The Zinzulusa cave is in the territory of Castro (Lecce). It 's very important because, in addition to its beauty, it returned evidences testifying the almost continuous human presence in the area. The findings identified ranging from the Middle Paleolithic to the Roman age. Some of these artifacts are probably related to a cultic function of the place.
Monsignor Duca was the first who claimed to have visited the cave and discovered the inside ruins of the temple of the goddess Minerva .
The discovery of Paleolithic Cave Romanelli, documenting the most varied metamorphosis of this land over the millennia, it has made possible to reconstruct the life of the first inhabitants of these lands.
Santa Maria di Leuca
Extreme point of Puglia where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. A promenade with many beautiful villas of the nineteenths century Salento aristocracy; a marina with moorings for every need. In an alternation of high and rugged coastline, shallow and deeper creeks, fine sand, the sea is truly unique.
Ugento is the paradise of beach tourism and entertainment. Ancient center, it was a Roman municipality victim in the past of Saracens and Turkish. You can visit the Castle, the Cathedral, the ancient walls and the Museum of Archaeology. Ugento also offers the magical show of the sunset on the Ionian Sea .
TORRE SAN GIOVANNI
Modern tourist center. You can visit the ruins of the ancient Roman port of Uzentum, and a prehistoric site of the Iron Age .
Seaside town characterized by long beaches of fine golden sand and clear blue sea. Like many places on this stretch of coast it ahs been named after the towers costruction in the Middle Ages, buildt to defend the hinterland from the incursions of the Saracens.
CASTLES AND BARONIAL PALACES
The Angevins and the Aragonese created a comprehensive network of fortifications: the most significant examples are in the provinces of Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto, the ancient Terra d'Otranto.
The castle of Brindisi, was rebuilt by the Normans. The port from which the Crusades departed was defended by a manor. What we see today was later adaptation (1425) by the Aragonese who enlarged it by obtaining the underground ditches. Above them, supported by impressive walls, a rectangular courtyards separate the Svevo castle by the Aragonese one. The Alfonsino castle that stands on the Island of St. Andrew is entirely Aragonese. Alfonso I of Aragon built there, in fact, a quadrangular fortress named " Red Castle ". With its polygonal tower, the lunette and the characteristic inner harbor, it's one of the most beautiful "Castles on the sea" of Puglia.
Another great example of this type is the Castel Sant'Angelo, a manor house that floats on the sea. Today, the four towers (the fifth was destroyed in 1883 to make way for the canal and the swing bridge ) enclose the courtyard with strong curtains. Designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Ciro Ciri after the liberation of Otranto, with its towers and beautiful brackets from the gunboats, yet today it seems wanting to defend the ditches and the city. The two entrances, one on the sea and the other who turns to the town hall square return to the two souls of Taranto, one overlooking the sea, the other the fertile hinterland. According to tradition, here Ladislas of Durazzo and Maria d' Enghien get married, now is headquarter of the Navy command.
Lecce is known as the " Lady of the Baroque" for the unique style that characterizes this city of art . The architectural heritage of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has particular value.The main religious and civil buildings arise in the seventeenth century, characterized by a unique type of architecture and sculpture that does not find examples in any other part of the world: the Lecce Baroque. Taking advantage from the decorative possibilities offered by local stone - a limestone homogeneous and compact, easy to work - genuine masterpieces took life . Lecce Baroque is typical for the elegant poise of Renaissance forms and the richness of the decorative elements: balustrades, fretwork , twisted columns, ribbons of flowers and fruit, which draw inspiration from peasant farming culture and the classical elements of the culture world. This art that has developed over time thanks to a flourishing artisan tradition has spread even in minor buildings up to hear about the more modest homes. The main teachers of this style were Gabriele Riccardi and Francesco Antonio Zimbalo, Giuseppe Zimbalo named “Lo Zingarello”, Cesare Penna, Achille Carducci and Giuseppe Cino. Even the eighteenth century is a fervent century for construction activity thanks to the work of great architects as Emanuele and Mauro Manieri. Charles V wanted the royal military architect Gian Giacomo dell'Acaya made the castle in Lecce into compliance with the new requirements dictated by defensive firearms. Thus was born this mighty castle in the form of irregular trapezoid with those huge spikes at the corners. The original wide moat was filled in 1870; today its beautiful rooms have been restored.
With its trapezoidal shape and its four corner towers, it dominates Cupertino and the surrounding countryside. Ninety gunboats seem , even now , ready to rumble. Severus, functional and austere, showing all the elegance and grandeur of the Granai-Castriota in its door, finely decorated and historiated that preserves the effigies of Charles V, Catherine and Tristan Chiaromonte and some of Castriota . On the inside, the old Angevin tower soars above the curtains. Today, it hosts the arms of the Farnese , one of the most important collections of Italy.
With its lunette , separated from the mainland by a channel and then rejoined to it by a bridge, the castle of Gallipoli is reflected in the bosom of the Reed. Revised by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who transformed him from a square to a pentagon, it was used by the Venetians and then finished by the Spanish after the battle of Lepanto.
The Castle of Otranto, surrounded by a wide moat, turns with the entrance to the city and with a large spike to the sea. With its circular towers, the majestic Aragonese tower and its walls almost intact is one of the most beautiful in Puglia. Famous for being the first castle hauted by ghosts (in the novel by Horace Walpole) it appears far from the Gothic atmospheres. It remembers the tragic siege of Otranto, in which the Turks massacred eight hundred martyrs hydruntini, but it was rebuilt (after the liberation) by the brilliant Francesco di Giorgio Martini together with Ciro Ciri. Its inner rooms show frescos and a true architectural masterpiece: the triangular room. It is one of the places most frequented by the congress and cultural tourism.
There's still a place in the Adriatic region where the flavor of things is not changed. Where the pleasures of life are real and you can taste it till the end, without wheezing. It's the pearl of Salento: is Castro.
A sweet atmosphere envelops its enchanting sea, the generous nature, scenic beauty.
Who gets to Castro goes right into this nice atmophere. Castro must be enjoyed in all its aspects: the characteristic medieval village, with its famous caves and the cleanest sea in Italy. From tasty cuisine to entertainment. From the historical places to the kindness of people . .
(SOURCE: Municipality of Castro)