There are some pilgrimage routes in Southern Italy that are evidence of an enchanting past!
Have you ever heard about the Via Francigena (literally “the route that originates in France”)?
Even if the name is singular, it actually includes a series of roads that led from Europe (precisely from France, as suggested by the name) to Rome and went from there towards Jerusalem or Santiago de Compostela.
These paths were followed by people who decided to go on a pilgrimage to these cities. During the journey they prayed, did penances, visited sanctuaries or looked for holy relics.
Of course, Rome was included in the route because it was the residence of the Pope and where Peter the Apostle was buried.
For people who had to go on towards the Holy Land, also the “Via Francigena del Sud” was available (i.e. a specific route in the South of Italy). Benevento (in the region of Campania), Brindisi and Bari (in the region of Apulia) were some of the major localities along this path.
The two Apulian cities were important because of their harbours that faced the East.
However, even if the role of Brindisi was crucial during the Roman era, in the Middle Ages the city fell into considerable decline, because the harbour became impracticable due to the battles that took place there. Brindisi was then “substituted” with Otranto, which took a central role, as it is confirmed by evidence about some pilgrimages made between the XI and the XII century.
Also the harbour of the Sanctuary of Leuca achieved remarkable success in the XIV century.
So, also Salento was affected by this stream of pilgrims who travelled for religious purposes. The cathedrals and some artistic creations of that time are a proof.
Nevertheless, in 2013 the Apulian Regional Council decided not to include Salento in the Apulian route of the Via Francigena. But, of course, this doesn’t mean you cannot visit these places!
Don’t miss the opportunity to make this exciting journey through the history of Salento.
Book your holidays in Santa Maria di Leuca, choose your favourite activity and go along these ancient roads!
We would be glad to welcome you to the Montiró Hotel!