The Salentine peninsula presents a mainly rough terrain, which has contributed to the maintenance of the uniform character of this land over time. Drenched on the east by the Adriatic Sea which acts as a "border" with nearby Albania and Greece, and to the west by the Ionian Sea, the Salento is an essentially agricultural region, covered with stretches of florid tobacco plantations and immersed in the green of olive groves and vineyards. Though rich in history, art, and antique traditions, it has never known, in the past, strong touristic development. In these last years, however, the number of vacationers and visitors has grown considerably. Some centers, during the summer season, are in fact full of people while others, lesser known, retain a warm, tranquil atmosphere and offer the visitor real contact with nature and a peace almost forgotten.
The beauty of the landscapes, the variety of panoramas, an increase in accomodation infrastructures according to qualitative standards, and greater professionalism in the sector, have all expanded the number of visitors in these years.

The Salento is, in any case, in all its parts, in the tranquil and small towns, in the more industrial cities, and in the seaside centers, a continuous stream of suggestive angles, coasts, coves, grottoes hollowed out by marine erosions, and enchanting spots.

Salento: land of sun, sea, and wind. Salento, thirsty red land of sirocco. Salento: land of myth and legend, of festivals religious and profane, of ancient rites that are repeated giving a sense of profoundly rooted tradition. Salento: land of strong workers and patient artisans who transform their work into poetry, reflecting the great soul of the Salentine people. Salento: land of sunny vacations by her splendidly clean and calm sea. Salento where the cuisine has antique perfumes with Eastern and Spanish influences which unite the delicate flavors of homemade sauces that tickle and delight the palate. That which strikes the most while traveling the roads of the Salento is the variety of colors, the intensity of the warm yellow, typical shade of the stone ably and sensitively worked in the arabesque embroidery of Baroque art.


THE BAROQUE: The itinerary that traverses the Baroque zone of Puglia is centered in Lecce and the Salentine peninsula. The extraordinary monuments, created at a feverish pace between the XVII and XVIII centuries in the far eastern part of the region, possessing an originality so exuberant and vital as to render it equal to the constructions situated in the other Baroque capitals: Rome and Naples. Baroque Lecce is the happy result of this case.

It derives from the masterly ability with which artisanal locals work an extremely precious material without which none of these virtuous works would have been possible to realize: the morbid and extremely malleable local stone, which in the hands of these artisans gave life to spectacular facades, tto hundreds of sacred statues, to monumental portals and galleries. Using this material first, it was possible to change the face of entire cities and towns, creating spectacular piazzas like those of the cathedrals of Lecce and Nardo', to cite only two.

One should necessarily begin at Lecce with its Church of S. Croce and the adjacent Palace of the Celestines, the Church of the Carmines, the Church of the Rosary, and that of Saints Nicholas and Cataldo. It's also necessary to see the Piazza Duomo and Piazza S. Oronzo with its Roman amphitheatre around whose ruins the city developed.

From Lecce one can move on to other Salentine centers: Galatina with its Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Gallipoli whose cathedral contains an art gallery, Nardo' with the beautiful church of S. Domenico and its Piazza Salandra, where the Sedile (the place where people can exchange opinions), is located, and Galatone with its Sanctuary of S. Crocifisso. There is also Copertino with its castle, Maglie with its churches, and still many more historically rich centers..
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