What to do in Salento in autumn: the beauty of its gardens
The heat of summer is subsiding and it’s time for cool winds, calm and tranquillity. Nature is tinged with warm colours, from orange to chestnut, through to the reds of fiery sunsets and ripe apples.
Salento beats to the rhythms of harvest time, and the making of excellent wine, accompanied by chestnuts and all the work to store away provisions for the winter. Preserves, jams, liqueurs, every summer delight is being captured so that even on the coldest days of winter a taste of summer can be enjoyed.
The first garden to see is very close to Leuca, in Tiggiano, at the enchanting Palazzo Baronale. Built in the seventeenth century, the Palazzo is an imposing and elegant architectural jewel set in a magnificent orchard and woodland.
The beds are laid out Italian and Spanish style and contain many different fruit trees: bitter orange, mandarin, medlar, lotus, apricot and cherry. The scent alone makes the visit worthwhile.
The woodland is a good example of Mediterranean ‘macchia’ thanks to centuries-old specimens of maritime pine, holm oak, laurel and oak. Romance abounds.
Another fantastic garden can be found at Ducal Palace of Presicce, a place full of history dating back to the 10th century and now home to the Museum of Rural Life – il Museo della Civiltà Contadina. The roof garden on two levels is home to typical Mediterranean vegetation and also has a fountain. The columns and walls around the garden are themselves of great artistic value.
Equally beautiful and relaxing is the garden of the Villa Comunale in Nardò, in front of the splendid Castle there. Full of different kinds of flowers, the garden even has some very old and exotic varieties. A real feast for the eyes.