In the southern part of Apulia, embraced by the Ionian sea on the west side and the Adriatic sea on the east side, lies the Salento territory known as the ‘heel of Italy'.
Because of the rich Baroque architectural monuments found in the city, Lecce is commonly nicknamed "the Baroque Florence in southern Italy" and is located in the heart of Salento. The Baroque style is characterized by rich and exuberant decorations. The Salento coast is different depending on the places: the seafront of Santa Cesarea has small and rocky coasts against the famous Grotta Romanelli or Grotta Zinzulusa 'the pearl of caves', owing its name to the dialect word 'zinzuli', (rags), used by fishermen to indicate its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
Salento offers visitors a beautiful landscape full of native elements: a reddish earth characterized by expanses of olive trees, the fortified farms built in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and small landscapes of intense white houses; the sea has a dark blue color when it's viewed from the cliffs of the Adriatic Sea and an emerald color, when it's viewed from the sandy beaches or the low cliffs of the Ionian Sea.
Salento has a special charm of natural heritage such as the beach of Torre dell'Orso, the coasts of Salento in general, karst caves, the protected oasis of the Alimini lakes and an artistic heritage of great cultural importance such as the doric columns in Taranto, the Cathedral of San Cataldo in Taranto, the old town of Ostuni, Brindisi's Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the great Building dei Celestini in Lecce and the Castle of Otranto.
Few minutes far from Lecce:
Gallipoli is 40 km from Lecce. It is a town divided into two parts: the old town situated on an island of limestone, which is connected to the mainland by an arched bridge of the seventeenth century, the village, and the most recent part of the city hosting the new buildings like the glass Palace. Of great historic and wildlife is the island of St. Andrew, about a mile away from the old town.
Otranto is 40 km from Lecce. It is a location which is one of most beautiful villages in Italy. It hosts an impressive cathedral, diverse and prestigious churches and the Castle of Otranto, which named was used for the first Gothic novel in history (The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, 1764). The nature of the Daer Cave has a particular importance, which contains a priceless archaeological heritage.
Santa Maria di Leuca lies at 68 km from Lecce, the city where "the land ends and the two seas meet", a tourist destination famous for the nineteenth century villas and its coastline, from the west to the east side, bordered by many fascinating caves, rich in Greek and Latin inscriptions in the cave "Porcinara "or Neolithic findings like the cave of the "Devil".
Discover also our beautiful heritage of Apulia and Basilicata:
Alberobello stands to the southern part of Bari province, near Castellana Grotte, Locorotondo and Putignano. A typical feature of Alberobello are the trulli, white dry-stone houses with conical roofs made of lapidary stones. In 1996 the city of Alberobello, the heart of the Murgia dei Trulli, was declared a Heritage of Humanity site by UNESCO.
Bari, trait d'union between the occidental and oriental culture, because of its position, close to the Adriatic sea, has a strong historical, artistic and cultural heritage. In the historic center stood out the great Basilica of San Nicola, important destination for pilgrims coming from orthodox and catholic countries. Other important places are: the famous Cathedral of San Sabino (Romanesque church), the Swabian Castle, a Norman-Hohenstaufen castle used as scenario for exhibitions and cultural events. Bari is famous also for its trade role, during the day via Sparano, Corso Cavour, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II represent the major shopping districts but during the night they become the place of the Movida barese.
Matera known as "Città dei Sassi" (Stones of Matera),has gained international fame for its ancient town, and now it has been claimed "Unesco Human Heritage". The town lies athwart a small canyon, which has been eroded in the course of years by a small stream, the Gravina. Famous directors have chosen this landscape as scenario for their movies.