Otranto owes its charm especially to its ancient village, UNESCO's messenger site of peace. Otranto is situated in the most easterly  point of the boot, it is the city of the Martyrs, a jewel of Salento, a bridge between the West and the East, a territory full of Caribbean beaches, a place rich in history, art and culture. The ancient village is enclosed in the defensive walls that allow access to the interior through the Porta Alfonsina.


The Otranto fortress was built by the Aragoneses from Naples, from the plans of the architect Ciro Ciri with the advice of Francesco di Giorgio Martini, the genius of Renaissance military architecture.

The configuration we can observe today is the result of constant modifications, which affected the fortress throughout the 16th century, imposed by the continuous evolution and the improvement of firearms.

It is delimited on all sides by a deep ditch which is crossed at the entrance by a bridge, with a stone arch and wooden trampling, probably originally of a drawbridge type.


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.


Punta Palascìa, commonly known as Capo d'Otranto, is the easterly spot of Italy. The lighthouse located there, recently renovated, is one of the five lighthouses of the Mediterranean Sea protected by the European Commission. According to nautical conventions, this place is the point of separation between the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea. According to the tradition, every year, on New Year's Eve, the first dawn of the new year in Italy is expected here, at the feet of the lighthouse.


Roca Vecchia was a thriving Messapian city. Today Roca is the most evocative stretch of the coast of the Marinas of Melendugno, as well as home to one of the ten most beautiful natural pools in the WORLD: the Grotta della Poesia.

According to a legend, a beautiful princess loved bathing in the healthy waters of the cave; its beauty was so dazzling that soon the news spread throughout Puglia. So it happened  that ranks of poets from all over the South of Italy  gathered there to compose verses inspired by its beauty: someone  wrote about nymphs, someone about oriental princesses, someone of the northern queens. Its fame lasted so long that still today this place is known as the Grotta della Poesia.


Porto Badisco, is another corner of paradise immersed in a wild and unspoiled nature, as well as the Bay of Orte, a cove far from the frenzy of the tourist masses and for this, perhaps, even more beautiful. From here it is also possible to reach the Cava di Bauxite, an almost lunar setting created by the presence of a former quarry used for the extraction of the 'red mineral'.


Two splendid towns that enrich the precious Adriatic coast with their natural beauty: Santa Cesarea Terme and Castro, two unmissible spots for tourists to visit in Salento. The first one is known for being one of the most important hydrothermal stations in Italy, the second one for offering an unrivaled environmental context, with a stretch of wild coast, full of secrets, karst coves and cavities to visit by exciting boat visits or exciting swims.


Moving along the coast to the north, within a few kilometers, we can find bathing sites characterized by fantastic nature and fabulous settings: the Baia dei Turchi, the historic site of the Turkish soldiers' landing place, with its Caribbean beach and clear sea like few, it will really seem to be in the Caribbean! The Alimini Lakes are two splendid fresh water basins.  One is salted and the other, fed by different springs  is surrounded by a fantastic Mediterranean scrub and by a very white sand tongue. Or even the highest and rockiest part of Torre Sant'Andrea and Torre dell'Orso, where the coast takes on the characteristic shape of enormous inlets that, through the incessant action of the wind, appear as wide bays of smoothed, softened sculpted rocks. There are also the beautiful typical faraglioni that rise from the sea creating games of forms and legendary stories, like the mythical rock of the "Due Sorelle".