Legend inside history

Of course we all know that sometimes history is rooted inside legend, or vice versa, and Salento is rich in these characteristic examples. Even if you have only three days at your disposal, SalentoVirtuale.com wants to make you “explore” at least a couple.
Well, our first destination will be Taurisano, located right in the heart of Salento, a few miles from Leuca, Gallipoli and Torre San Giovanni (about 55 km from Lecce). Here we will meet the Sanctuary of Maria SS. della Strada, the most important example of Romanesque-Apulian architecture in the Salento area.
Anyway this is not what we want to talk about but about the legend that is hidden behind its construction: they say, in fact, that the church was erected by a merchant who had got a miracle by Our Lady. Whence the use to surround the building with a long spiral-woven rope with gold threads (obtained from the merchant’s jewels).
At present, the rope is covered with red wax, not with gold threads (not to charge the worshippers with the huge expenses for its realization, but what matters is that this ancient tradition has remained almost unchanged over the centuries: in fact the church was built between the end of the 13th century and 1320.
Another example of legend inside history is, still in Taurisano, the Oak of the Holy Crucifix. They say that it was planted by the founder of the homonymous chapel opposite to it, to fulfil a request of the Holiest that had appeared to him in a dream. According to the message left by Christ, in a few years the oak would become so luxuriant that it would be able to overshadow not only the chapel, but also all the space around it. In fact, to date, the size of the tree is remarkable: about 30 m in diameter for a height of 40 m! Is there some truth in this legend? Mah?
From Taurisano let’s move to Ugento, this time looking for the real “history”; therefore, we suggest a short visit to the former convent of the Celestines where the “Salvatore Zecca” Archaeological Museum is located. Here, guess what! there are over 800 finds from the Ugento area, dating back to the Neolithic period, to the Messapic, up to the Middle Ages. Precious is also the tomb of the Athlete of the VI century BC. In short, legend inside history or history inside legend, SalentoVirtuale.com has shown you a taste of the cultural heritage of Salento that you will decide if to enjoy during your “small holiday spring”.