Lecce and Grecìa Salentina

Now autumn is coming, the first leaves begin to come off the branches to form a colored carpet on which to place our steps. But the Salento still enjoys a “mild” temperature: the warm rays of the sun peek out behind the clouds and warm up this “luxuriant” land of traditions and “proud” of its thousand-year history. This is why SalentoVirtuale.com wants to offer you an itinerary even in a season not very popular with tourists. Let’s start from Lecce, the “capital” of the Baroque, the “Florence of the South”, as many call it. The city is all to visit: from Piazza S. Oronzo to Piazza Mazzini, perhaps with a stop in Via Trinchese (which connects, in fact, the two squares) for a varied and varied shopping. And then Porta Napoli, Porta Rudiae, Porta S. Biagio, without forgetting the wonders that the Basilica of Santa Croce offers: the example “par excellence” of the Lecce Baroque. And again the Church of St. Irene, the Cathedral with the adjoining Bell Tower, the Church of St. Matthew, the Church of the Rosary, the Church and Convent of the Saints. Niccolò and Cataldo: in short, every corner, every stone of this city carries a centuries-old history, which will be much more appreciated in a season “far” from the crowded summer beaches … But Salento is not just Lecce: so we offer you a ” path “to discover the countries of” Grecìa Salentina “, south-east of the capital. We will reach Calimera first, a must for those who want to propitiate motherhood or virile power. Here, in fact, and precisely in the Church of St. Vito, is located the “Nemanthol”, a “hole surrounded by stone” that tradition wants to bring “fertility” for both women and men. From Calimera we are in Martano for a walk through the suggestive court houses (like those in Via Zacà, for example). And then, on the road to Martignano, we will run into the Specchia dei Mori, also called Specchia del diavolo: here, according to legend, the Moors were forced by the gods to remain forever in the bowels of the Earth for daring to challenge them. Always in the neighborhood, if we are lucky, we could see some characteristic pozzella, where once people used to draw water for domestic use and to water the animals. From Martignano we move to Sternatìa to pass the “Filìa” (or friendship) door: it is said that the spouses enter and the dead come out of this door. So, if you are not superstitious, take a seat … And then we will reach Soleto, to admire the imposing Guglia (almost 40 m high) that, it is said, was built in one night by witches and four devils evoked by Tafuri, a sage and sorcerer of the ‘500 … But now let’s head to Corigliano d’Otranto, for a look at the Castle, with a moat, which shows fascinating decorative elements and busts of characters including Christopher Columbus … So we move to Melpignano, in the elegant Piazza S. Giorgio with its arcades of the late ‘500: in this place, at that time, all the merchants were found not only of Melpignano and surroundings, but also of Naples and Bari. In areas outside the town then, we could see some menhirs (or stone): it is said that these majestic buildings guarded treasures hidden below. Whoever went there to get hold of it, if he had not had a pure heart, they would have risen in the air and then crushed him with his own weight. But it’s just a legend … do not you find it? As the last destination of our itinerary we are in Castrignano dei Greci. Worthy of note here is without a doubt the Byzantine Crypt of S. Onofrio of the VI century AD. (Early Christian period), built in a natural cave from which two rooms are supported supported by columns in Lecce stone. Then you can also admire the sixteenth-century castle built by the Gualtieri. Complete with a moat, it has a mighty structure decorated with noble and decorative crests. Finally, on the outskirts of the inhabited area, we could still stumble across some wells and maybe stay a little nearby, away from the noisy life of the city, “bask” under a warm sun and let ourselves be enveloped by an enchanting landscape hinged by centuries of history.