Let’s explore the jewels of Salento along the Leuca trail
The pilgrim trails to Leuca are routes that cross the Salento area on their way to their final destination – the Basilica de Finibus Terrae. This is the last stretch of the Via Francigena that passes through all the key places linked to the Christian faith in half of Italy. Throughout the Middle Ages these routes were used by pilgrims to reach Leuca before embarking for the Holy Land.
These days the path to Leuca, rather than disappearing, has gained a new lease of life thanks to a renewed interest in trekking and hiking, and also because it passes through incredibly beautiful landscapes and villages throughout Salento.
We have already mentioned some of the jewels of the landscape and architecture to be found along these historic paths, but this time, on the occasion of what is known as our ‘Francigeni Paths National Day’, on 6 May, we want to focus on the city of Alessano, which just a few days ago also welcomed a highly-esteemed visitor, the Pope himself.
Inhabited since the year 1,000, Alessano, despite being a small town, has some great historical artworks and monuments, especially ones dating back to the Renaissance period. There are many churches to visit that are of great architectural interest and value.
There are also many large civic buildings, such as the so-called ducal Castle, an imposing and elegantly-decorated fortified palace. It was built at the end of the fifteenth century by the Del Balzo family, whose memory is preserved in the sixteen-pointed star, the house’s emblem.
If you walk from Alessano to Leuca don’t miss the archaeological site in the hamlet of Macurano. The ancient, stone-built settlement was created by the monks of St. Basil fleeing from the East in 700 AD. Once settled in this fertile area, they devoted themselves to agriculture and left us with two splendid mills that are still operating today. This whole complex has been in use for a long time and has been turned into a farm.
Along the Leuca trail you never run short of fabulous landscapes and stunning architecture, so keep reading to find out lots more.
Montirò Hotel awaits you, pilgrims and travellers alike.