The towns of the Salento hinterland, the small villages not directly overlooking the sea, are a strategic choice for your holidays in Salento, and, on the other hand, they are very interesting destinations to visit, during your excursions to discover traditions and culture.
In fact, the concept of “hinterland”, in Salento, is different than elsewhere: our territory is a narrow peninsula, in which the maximum distance from the sea does not exceed 15 km: so choosing to stay in a small inland village allows you to escape from the summer crowds, take advantage of traditions, peasant culture still strongly present in every gesture, in every meal and in the local rhythms and at the same time it is possible to choose which “shore of the sea” to approach, whether Adriatic or Ionian (depending on the wind and our desire to explore).
Today we lead you trough 5 villages of Salento, close to the Adriatic coast but not directly overlooking it, also showing you which are, however, the closest and most suggestive marinas for each of these places.
Muro Leccese is an ancient Messapian center of Salento rich in history and culture, with medieval and Renaissance buildings of great value. It is located just 10 minutes by car from Otranto, equidistant from Lecce and Santa Maria di Leuca.
Muro Leccese takes its name from its ancient Messapian walls (today two meters high but once more than 7). However, the name may also derive from “Moro” (ie Saracen, Mauritanian). The fact that there are both elements in its coat of arms leaves open the mystery as to the real origin of the name.
Many stones of the ancient walls have been, over the centuries, reused for other building works, such as the church of Santa Marina, dating back to the tenth century.
In its medieval center there is a street, called Via Salentina, along which the ancient artery of the town extends, built following an underground stream. All the courtyards of this small artery are equipped with a well to draw from the underground aquifer.
In the grid of the historic center, a few meters from the main square is Palazzo Artes (CIS: LE07505191000015117)
Period building, dating back to 1500, embellished with works of art belonging to the owners’ private collection, has maintained the original structure that develops around a small internal cloister characterized by a portico with three arches in which a very high palm stands .
Here you can spend your stay of sun, culture, art and relaxation.
Very interesting center, starting from its Castle, the Spinola-Caracciolo Castle, which has a sui generis architectural history:
When it was built, in the thirteenth century, it was an agglomeration of animal shelters, with an enclosure, a small church and a watchtower;
it was then transformed into a farm and only in 1300 fortification works begin to be carried out and at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, towers and moat were also built.
In the sea area closest to Andrano, between the areas called “Torre” and “Botte” (where there is a small and picturesque harbor) there is a path full of agave plants, called the Lungomare delle Agavi.
In the area called “La Botte”, through a narrow lateral opening in the rock, you can access, strictly by swimming, the spectacular Green Grotto, characterized by stalactites and rocks located almost at water level, on which tourists can relax and enjoy the spectacle created. from Mother Nature.
The historic center is cut by small private “secret” streets, shared by some houses, and among these we find the beautiful, almost magical,
Tiggiano hosts, among other things, two very interesting museums:
the Museum of peasant culture and the Museum of Arts and Philosophy (in a beautiful garden and wood of the Serafini baronial palace)
About the local naming of Alessano two legendary versions co-exist: the name of this village a few kilometers from the Adriatic sea, could derive from the exclamation made by Daedalus, who landed in the area after his famous flight, “Alae Sanae!”.
The second version says that the toponym derives from the tradition according to which the founder of the city was the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus.
This village has several reasons that encourage a visit or a stay, first of all some points of its historic center, such as the shops of Via della Giudecca, where once there was a Jewish colony, welcomed by citizens (which for this reason earned the nickname of Jews).
The ancient buildings of its historic center are among the most valuable in Salento, and among these we find Palazzo Remasi, a charming and cultural holiday palace that can accommodate up to 16 people in its 4 apartments.
Furthermore. Alessano hosts the rupestrian village of Macurano, considered the symbol of the archaic oil culture due to the presence of two mills still in use: Trappeto Sauli and Trappeto Santa Lucia.
Its territory is part of the Costa Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase regional natural park, rich in valuable architectural heritage and important animal and plant species.
Gagliano del Capo
Let’s get a little closer to the sea, in Gagliano del Capo.
Known for its proximity to the quite popular Ponte del Ciolo, beloved by divers from all over the world, the village itself that has a lot to offer.
In the area of San Dana, there is the Crypt of Santa Apollonia dating back to the 6th-11th centuries, while in the Arigliano area you can come across a Mehnir from the Paleolithic Era
The ancient village is almost 150 meters above sea level and dominates the terraces of the Serra dei Cianci; here there are beautiful paths and nature trails.
Have you alaready visited these places?