Grecìa Salentina in the heart of Salento
“Kalòs ìrtate stin Grecìa Salentina” or “Welcome to Grecìa Salentina”. The area called Grecìa Salentina is a group of eleven towns in the heart of Salento, united by their traditions and culture: Calimera, Carpignano Salentino, Castrignano de’ Greci, Corigliano d’Otranto, Cutrofiano, Martano, Martignano, Melpignano, Soleto, Sternatia and Zollino.Here was once spoken an ancient language, the griko, a Greek dialect. It is still taught in schools, but its use is in decline. In fact, the only ones to still speak this dialect are the elderly.
This Hellenic linguistic enclave still expresses the Hellenism which was originally wider and keeps traditions and culture visible in everyday life details in these towns. Some traditions still survive today, including the music festival Canti della Passione, a tradition handed down orally where local singers perform in griko "I Passiuna tu Christu" and "Lu Santu Lazzaru". The popular music heritage is also enhanced by the famous itinerant "Festival della Taranta", a music festival which runs in 15 towns of Salento and ends with the big concert of the "Notte della Taranta" in Melpignano.