If you are planning your holidays in Salento this handy guide to the city of Otranto and surroundings it is for you! We jump on our kangaroo from the blue sea of Porto Badisco up to the magic of Alimini Lakes via Otranto, oriental pearl of Italy.
Ready? Wear your swimsuit, take your camera and off we go!
Alfonsina Tower, also known as "Porta Terra", marks the entrance of the beautiful historic city center. This arc of access dates from 1481, and opens in the walls of the ancient city. The structure in the complex is formed from a tower where, upon entering, it is possible to see from some particular slots. What are? Easy to say! Back when the Tower was protective bulwark of the city through those loopholes they were hurled projectiles, boulders and boiling pitch at the attackers.
Pass under Porta Alfonsina to get right to Borgo Antico, one of the most charming places of the city. Cobbled streets and stone walls combine with the most modern and commercial streets. Corso Garibaldi, for example, in the Borgo Antico, is the shopping street. In this way you can buy, even at a late hour in the hot nights of Salento, souvenirs to take home, and many local products. But Borgo Antico is not only shopping and souvenirs but also history!
Arriving in Piazza del Popolo you can admire the "Clock Tower", of 1799, and the "Porta a Mare", which connects the city harbor. Small curiosity: among the picturesque alleys in the midst of houses and ancient buildings, you will see the big granite balls, dating back to the Saracen invasions in 1480, remained in time always at the same place.
Evenings can be very hot and the light breeze combined with beautiful sunsets make the walk on the Promenade of Heroes a charming place to remember.
While you're photographing not lose sight of the sea! Otranto is also a place of fishermen, which is why, with a little luck you will also see the return of the vessels after one or more days of fishing off. The walk is a bit 'longer but get to the port it is worth it. How many things you can learn from them!
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata dates back to 1000. One of the most beautiful jewels of the Cathedral is the "floor mosaic", a work of art of great value and beauty of 1164, realized by monaco Pantaleone, which depicts the tree of life and Adam and Eve. Just by its author the Mosaic of Otranto is also known as Mosaic Pantaleone and completely covers the floor of the three naves. It is certainly one of the most important pieces of mosaic of Italian Middle Ages.
The Cathedral of Otranto but it is not only just a place of worship to be admired. Is in fact, important evidence of historical / artistic life of the city. Inside the "Chapel of the Martyrs" in fact lie the remains of the extermination of the "Martyrs of Otranto", consumed during the Turkish invasion of 1480.
The Church of St. Peter dates from the fifth century and is the oldest of Otranto. It is a small Byzantine church, famous for the richness of the frescoes preserved in it. The name is due to the popular belief of St. Peter's pass during his journey to Rome. There would arise the Church. It is not always open.
The Aragonese Castle, is a former military fortress of 1485 built by Fernando I of Aragon. The castle has three cylindrical towers and a large coat of arms belonging to Charles V above the main entrance. Currently it is used as a wonderful theater and for exhibitions and cultural events.
The beauty of Salento, a few kilometers from Otranto
The major attractions of the historic center end with the Aragonese Castle. But the beauty of the Salento not end there! We suggest other 4 attractions a few kilometers from Otranto a short drive away.
Porto Badisco is a beautiful secluded beach a little 'rock about 8 km from Otranto. Legend has it that this is precisely the place of the first landing of Aeneas, as described by Virgil in the Aeneid. Aeneas, fleeing from Troy, now taken by the enemy, would touch on Italian soil right here.
In addition to the myth, Porto Badisco is also famous for the historical evidence, that the graffiti of the Neolithic that are inside of the Deer Cave, beautiful and a must see even from a naturalistic point of view.
We start from the most eastern tip of the boot, where perched on a hill we could already see from afar the Serpe Tower. Place full of mystery and myths. It is said there was a giant snake that every night climbed the tower to drink the oil lantern that lit up the cliff to the fishermen. So the snake could then feasting. The tower is then represented in the emblem of the city of Otranto with a snake wrapped around her.
A Serpe Tower you can enjoy a relaxing stroll, surrounded by nature and silence, away from the busy city, it is a very busy place even as good as all the Salento coast.
The Lakes Alimini, called Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo, are located approximately 8 km from Otranto. These basins are one of the most precious natural elements throughout the Salento territory. The first, the larger one, is composed of salted water and the second by fresh water. What makes it even more fascinating this place is the "Ponte degli Alimini", a stretch where you can admire the one hand the lakes and on the other the open sea. Do not miss the unique opportunity to see a scenario so beautiful.