On 28 July 1480, 18,000 Ottomans, with a fleet of 150 ships, moved towards the town of Salento with the intention of plundering and conquering it. After an exhausting resistance from the inhabitants of Otranto who did not want to surrender, the Turks took possession of the village, committing all sorts of cruelty. 800 brave men, now Saints, after refusing to convert to Islam, were beheaded on the hill of Minerva. Their skulls and bones are preserved in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, a fantastic work of immense artistic and historical value, dating back to the 11th century.
Another treasure preserved in the church is the mosaic floor, a true masterpiece that depicts the Tree of Life, and considered by many experts an encyclopedia of Christianity. In fact it depicts many episodes of the Old Testament and in general the journey that man must carry out in order to purify himself from original sin and reach eternal salvation; it also contains many pagan references and numerous traces of the symbolic historical role that Otranto has had as an intermediary between the West and the East.