The hinterland: what a charm!

The hinterland:

what a charm!

Have you ever tried to think of Salento without seeing only the summer sea destination? Yet, many inland towns hide wonders and treasures that no one dares to imagine. So here’s that offers you an itinerary to discover this different “aspect” of Salento, which will introduce you to the knowledge of truly special places and sensations.

Let’s start from Maglie (about 28 km from Lecce). Here, worth to be visited is undoubtedly the Duomo, consecrated in 1768, enriched by an impressive bell tower (48 m high) and divided into four floors structured in different styles. Then again the Church of S. Maria delle Grazie (1624), with a beautiful portal surmounted by a statue of the Virgin and Child; a Column with the statues of the four protectors of Maglie, which recalls S. Oronzo’s square in Lecce. For lovers, Maglie is also endowed with the Museum of Paleontology and Paletnology “Decio De Laurentiis”.

But now let’s move to Cutrofiano, to admire the over 600 “ceramics” exhibited in the Municipal Museum of Ceramics, in the former municipal headquarters in Piazza Municipio.

A few miles further we can reach Galatina: it is impossible not to visit the Mother Churcu of SS. Pietro e Paolo, another important example of Lecce Baroque. And then again the Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, which houses, among other things, a suggestive scene of the Apocalypse. Experts, moreover, should not miss a visit to “Pietro Cavoti” Civic Art Museum, which displays stone objects from the Middle Ages and numerous works by local artists.

From Galatina, about ten kilometers away, you will reach Copertino, the birthplace of S. Giuseppe da Copertino, in fact, the “Saint of the flights”. Worth of note is the Sanctuary dedicated to him, with its characteristic Baroque concave façade, the Castle and the Church of S. Maria della Grottella: the latter is also known for the mysterious discovery, in a nearby bush, of a Byzantine icon with the effigy of the Madonna …

Last but not least “leg” of our itinerary is Lecce, the capital of Salento, the milestone of the Baroque par excellence. It is useless to tell you what to visit because every corner of the city contains a piece of history, art, and secular culture: from Piazza S. Oronzo to Piazza Duomo, without forgetting the Basilica of Santa Croce or the Castle of Charles V. Then again Porta Napoli with the nearby Obelisco, Porta Rudiae, Porta S. Biagio: in short, there is no risk of getting bored in spending a few days in this wonderful and characteristic jewel among the wonders of Salento.

Translated By: Prof. Rocco Merenda