A dreamy journey to visit the best places on the Adriatic coast.
Just outside Lecce, you can immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of the seashores that are visible from one of the most beautiful scenic roads in Italy: the road that runs along the Adriatic coast of Salento for about one hundred kilometres. In spring, the way from San Cataldo to Santa Maria di Leuca is filled with the lovely scent of asphodels, anemones, wild orchids and poppies.
Flat and sandy expanses alternate with high and indented cliffs overhanging the sea between Otranto and the very end of Salento, de finibus terrae (which in Latin means “the frontiers of the Earth”).
Different landscapes come in succession: the centuries-old olive groves scattered with “pajare” (typical Trulli of Salento used by farmers), the cane thickets in the humid areas of Alimini lakes, the Oasis of Le Cesine (Nature Reserve managed by WWF), the Aleppo pine woods, the dunes covered with Mediterranean vegetation and the overhanging cliffs.
The towers that you can see along the coast (about 30 on the Adriatic side) are a constant feature: some of them, the rectangular ones, had a defensive function (you can see some examples in Torre dell’Orso, San Foca and Sant’Andrea); some others, the cylindrical ones, had instead a sighting function, such as the Torre Sant’Emiliano, in Otranto, and the Torre Lupo in Marittima.
While travelling this road, you will have the opportunity to visit the best places on the Adriatic Coast. You will find many seaside towns that are renowned and widely appreciated by tourists – Otranto, Santa Cesarea Terme and Castro – as well as small villages that usually become crowded and lively only in summertime, such as Marittima, Marina di Andrano, Tricase Porto, Marina Serra and Marina di Novaglie.
Grecìa Salentina: another “collection” of wonderful places to visit on the Adriatic Coast
The name “Grecìa Salentina” designates a group of 11 towns: Corigliano d’Otranto, Melpignano, Castrignano dei Greci, Cannole, Carpignano Salentino, Martano, Zollino, Soleto, Sternatìa, Martignano and Calimera. Among the best places on the Adriatic Coast, they share common history and traditions. An ancient language is still spoken in all these towns: Griko (a variant of Greek), which represents evidence of a distant past.
Go for a stroll in Martano and discover the courtyard houses in via Catumeréa and via Zaca; visit the elegant Castello De Monti in Corigliano d’Otranto, the interesting Museum of Griko culture in Calimera, the church/convent of the Augustinians in Melpignano, whose plaza hosts every August “La Notte della Taranta” (The Night of “Taranta”, which together with “pizzica” is a typical folk dance of Salento; it is an event in which folk music is played and a big international concert takes place in honour of these two dances). You can also visit: Soleto and its Guglia Orsiniana (the most beautiful summit in Salento); Sternatia and its underground olive mill; Carpignano Salentino and the byzantine crypt of S. Cristina (St. Christine), completely frescoed.