Itinerary to discover Otranto, the easternmost city of the Italian peninsula
It is said that the name Salento, in the ancient Messapian language, means sea. The heel of the Italian boot, in fact, is kissed by the waters of the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea which join in a long embrace in front of the coasts of Santa Maria di Leuca. Salento is an ancient land like the roots of its olive trees, majestic creatures that fill the eyes and the landscape with their green leaves and gnarled trunks, true works of art of mother nature. Here passed many peoples who left their mark creating villages suspended in time and on that sea whose shades of blue are a simple enchantment. One of these villages is Otranto.
To get there from Lecce you have to take bus line 101 (one way ticket about 6 euros) which, along the Adriatic coast, passes through suggestive places such as the archaeological site of Roca Vecchia, before reaching the city enclosed within the ancient walls of the Aragonese castle.
The war of Otranto of 1480-81, whose main protagonists were the Turkish general Gedik Achmet Pascià and don Alfonso Duca di Calabria, marked the fate of the castle of Otranto which, thanks to the intervention of Alfonso d’Aragona, was completely fortified to allow the city to adequately defend itself from further enemies. The fortress, which looks to the east, in memory of the Saracen attacks protects the historic center of the easternmost city of Italy.
The heart of Otranto is made up of narrow, white streets full of artistic craft shops and sudden views of the sea. A maze in which to get lost and then suddenly find yourself in front of the cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata famous for its floor mosaic and in the vicinity of which it is possible to taste the famous Apulian taralli both sweet and savory in many shops.
I could have lost myself among many stories of saints and profane, but in Otranto I preferred to observe the sea, witness of ancient battles and days of peace, of legends of sailors and fishermen. An unmissable destination for tourists ready to dive into its blue before the sun sets, coloring the castle with orange that, like a sleeping giant, watches over the city while the taranta melody rises to animate the Salento night.