Otranto, the most eastern city of Italy for this reason called Gateway to the East, is located along the Adriatic coast of Salento in a landscape remarkable that backdrop the Albanian coast not far. The attendance of the territory date to prehistoric times, as attested by Deer Cave, but the origins of the town date back to the Bronze Age (XIII century BC.); refer to this period traces of a settlement in huts and ceramic materials locally produced and imported Mycenaean evidence of early and intensive contact with the Aegean world; a settlement with the function of the Adriatic port for the nearby towns of Muro and Vast dates back to the Messapian age. For Hydruntum Roman, named after the river valley Hydrus in which the city is built, we know that the town hall became contending Brundisium in the role of main port to Greece. In the following period, the medieval one, Otranto was under the long Byzantine becoming one of the most important features beautiful buildings of which the church of San Pietro (IX-X century AD.) Is a clear example.
Vast is one of the best known because of Salento since 1981 undergone systematic archaeological investigations. The excavations in extension have brought to light traces of a settlement referable to the Bronze consisting mostly in a few ceramic materials; best documented is the Iron Age (VIII – VII century BC), with a village of huts Iapigio oval, overlapping raster, identified at today’s Piazza Dante, in the central and highest of the ancient settlement (Acropolis).
The phase of the sixth century BC, corresponding to the archaic era, is documented by the remains of houses type hut with stone foundations and floors wrought by kilns tiles and a place of worship, visible within Park of the Warriors.
San Cataldo (Lecce)
San Cataldo is ‘the beach of Lecce’, a seaside resort on the Adriatic coast about 12 km from Lecce.
The place name is the name of the Irish Catholic bishop who lived in the seventh century. that would come to Italy to become bishop of Taranto. According to legend San Cataldo during his visit to the Holy Land, while praying the Holy Sepulchre, he had a vision: Jesus told him to go to Taranto and to re-evangelize the city now in the hands of paganism. San Cataldo then, on board a ship bound for Italy, began a long journey that led him to land in the port of the town which from that moment has its name.
Near the lighthouse of San Cataldo are the remains of the Roman port Lupiae, built by Emperor Hadrian, today partially or totally submerged. It is a structure realized with external walls made of large blocks of Lecce stone and filling in cement work crossed by chains of blocks similar to those positioned in face view. In the past, the best preserved, the pier soared 2.45 m above sea level and the width between the two outer walls was of 16.60 m. The Roman ruins was built by Maria d’Enghien a new pier to favor trading and commerce of numerous colonies of merchants resident in Lecce in the first half of the fifteenth century.
Currently much of the structure is submerged and is lying on the seabed under a thick layer of sand.
Palmariggi originated from the ancient Casale San Nicola, built during the Byzantine era, and forms part of a wider system of houses arranged in a radius of 6-7 km from Otranto, in order to improve the protection and defense of the territory by the raids that could come from the inner slope. The center developed around the castle and the main church. A popular tradition has it that in 1480, after the capture of Otranto, the Turks moved towards the inland towns, threatening even the Casale di San Nicola. The villagers then invoked the protection of the Virgin Mary that appeared holding a palm, and with an army in tow. The Turks, terrified by the vision and fearing he was going to come the army led by the Duke Alfonso d’Aragona, turned away and the population was saved. In memory of this miraculous event the inhabitants of the house wanted to change the name of Casale San Nicola in Palmariggi, which means that you reggi palm, and they chose the Virgin to their patron. A little less than two kilometers from the town another apparition of the Virgin, in 1595, resulted in the building of the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montevergine.
Landscapes and Natural Areas
Grotta Zinzulusa opens with a spectacular entrance to the sea in a stretch of coast between Castro and Santa Cesarea Terme. The stalactites have formed on the time of the majestic entrance are at the origin of the name: according to popular imagination, in fact, these concretions are like rags that hung in the local dialect are called Zinzuli. Even the karst formations (stalactites, stalagmites and columns) inside of Zinzulusa took fancy names so after the ‘sentinels’, two impressive stalagmites positioned near the entrance, stands the’ pulpit ‘, the’ waterfall ‘, the’ crib ‘, etc.
The route is 150 m long in total and is divided into three parts morphologically distinct: the first, which extends from the entrance to the ‘Crypt’, is a sector affected by a number of phenomena of collapse of the roof and the presence of a small mirror d ‘ Water said ‘Conca’; the second part extends to the large room called ‘Cathedral’, high about 25 m, characterized by considerable erosion of inland waters. The end of the cave, occupied by Cocytus, is a biologically protected and can be accessed only for study and research.
The first historical information on Zinzulusa date back to 1793 when Msgr. Del Duca, Bishop of Castro, provides a detailed description of the cave to King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. From 1922 to 1958, the cave has been the subject of numerous explorations and scientific publications as well as geological and biological agents, including those arising from human presence of the site in prehistoric and historic. Great interest from the scientific point of view are the wildlife species that inhabit the cave, some very ancient and endemic of Zinzulusa. In more recent years the exploration resumed allowing researchers to discover a new path completely submerged, along approximately 110 m, and to identify new species of aquatic fauna underground.
The Park of the Oaks is a forest of oaks, a rare example of forest strips along the eastern coast of Salento, near the town of Castro Marina. The forest covers an area of 4.5 hectares and is the ideal habitat for numerous species of birds such as the lapwing, the finch, the owl, the nightingale, the dove and the robin.
The Alimini are located 8 km north of Otranto along the coastal road from Otranto to San Cataldo. The name, from the greek Limne, indicates a pond or lake.
The lakes Alimini are two: the northernmost and largest is called Alimini Grande; its waters are salty because they communicate with the Adriatic through a channel called Lu Strittu; its maximum depth is four meters. The basin is used for fish farming. Alimini Grande is connected to Alimini Small or Fontanelle so named because it is fed by freshwater springs. The maximum depth of this lake does not exceed one meter and a half.
Along the shores of the two lakes grow reeds, junipers, mastic trees, thistles and orchids; numerous species of birds in the migratory route of the lakes in the area have a crucial way station and staging.
The ecosystem on the lakes Alimini is being studied at the University of Salento – School of Life Sciences and environmental – which built the Ecomuseum Lakes Alimini.
Two kilometers south of Otranto, in the direction of town Orte, it localizes the unique scenery of Lake bauxite. The bauxite mining in the quarry of Otranto, a mineral used in the production of aluminum, began in 1940 and continued until 1976, when it was decided to stop the activity because it was deemed unprofitable in economic terms.
Following the divestment of the quarry excavation filled with water from a groundwater that has given rise to a small lake whose color, blue, contrasts with the green of the marsh vegetation and with the deep red of the walls surrounding rock.
The open pit mine has not been subjected to any process of environmental recovery and is now abandoned; Despite this nature it has reclaimed the space, creating a magical and evocative.
The Regional Park Costa Otranto Santa Maria di Leuca – Tricase Forest was established in 2006 with the aim of protecting a remarkable natural heritage which includes Sites of Community Importance as the coast between Otranto and Leuca, the wood of Tricase and the park oaks Castro. The park covers an area of 3227 hectares with 57 km of coastline where fall some of the most famous tourist destinations of Salento, the Lighthouse Palascìa the easternmost point of Italy, a spa, numerous fortified farms and coastal towers , dry stone walls and pajare, beautiful villas and caves of the Deer, Romanelli, Zinzulusa. An area with a rich cultural, historical and architectural landscape that offers unique scenery and you cross along a coastal road that follows the coastline with a growing trend at times tortuous on high cliffs overlooking the sea.
La Quercia Vallonea of Tricase is an example of exceptional size of Quercus ithaburensis subsp. macrolepis: the trunk, in fact, has a circumference of 4.25 me the foliage covers an area of approximately 700 m². The species present in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, Greece and Asia Minor, has a range of distribution also in Apulia region, Italy, where it seems to have been introduced during the period of Byzantine rule to extract from its acorns large amount of tannin, used in tanning.
La Quercia Vallonea of Tricase is estimated to have more than 900 years and is also known as Oak Hundred Knights, for providing, according to legend, shadow Frederick II and his army.
In 2000, on the occasion of the event ‘Festival of Big Trees’ promoted by the WWF to protect the natural heritage composed of old trees, the Oak Vallonea Tricase, a true monument of nature, was chosen as the tree-symbol for the region Puglia.
In an area once considered unhealthy for the presence of a large swamp that started north of Brindisi and to the south, up to Otranto it is situated the state nature reserve Le Cesine. The name comes from Latin and means an uncultivated area, abandoned, wild at the end of the nineteenth century was reclaimed to eliminate malaria and cropland and healthy. In 1971, the Ramsar Convention, in Iran, declared The Gesine ‘wetland of international importance’, for an area of 650 hectares. In 1979 they became The Gesine WWF and in 1980, by ministerial decree, were declared State Nature Reserve. Currently the reserve is a landscape consists of coastal dunes, from the marsh, from drainage canals, the pinewood, the oak forest, the Mediterranean and the cultivated areas. The flora in the forest areas, consists of pine forest of Aleppo pine, stone pine, pine, cypress, which essentially serve a windbreak. In the north are located forests of oak, oak Vallonias and rare Kermes oak. The Mediterranean is represented by myrtle, thyme, mastic, cysts, savory Pugliese, Pugliese Heather, etc. The flora consists of reeds in marsh reeds. The fauna consists of numerous species, some very rare tree frog, pond turtle, lizard, tarantula, weasel, marten, fox, badger as well as various butterfly specimens, gulls, oystercatchers, water birds that stop during the migration.
Tip Palascìa or Cape of Otranto, the easternmost point of Italy, is home to the Lighthouse Palascìa. It stands on the site where according to the conventions nautical meet the two seas that bathe the Salento, the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea, in the Strait of Otranto, which is also the point where the distance between Italy and Albania It is only 72 km.
The lighthouse, whose construction began in 1863 following the demolition of a hut built in the nineteenth century on the ruins of the old tower Palascia, is a two-story building located on the cliff overlooking the sea, where an internal staircase of 84 steps leads to the lantern is 40 meters high. After its closure in 1979, and after nearly thirty years of inactivity, the lighthouse was reactivated once again becoming a key reference point for boats, recognized by the EU as one of the five most important Mediterranean lighthouses.
Every year now since December 31, 1999, when it expected the dawn of the new millennium, it is customary to find himself in this remote corner of eastern land to see the first in Italy, the dawn of each new year.
Art and culture
The Park of the Warriors covers an area of 20 hectares, up from the town of Vast greenhouses of Poggiardo. Entrance to the park is made up of a two-story structure that houses explanatory panels and a faithful reconstruction of the façade of the Caryatids Hypogeum, a monumental chamber tomb discovered in the late nineteenth century near the center of Vast. By accessing the terrace, also, it can be seen throughout the surrounding area. The archaeological site includes a portion of the city messapica that as of the end of the fourth century BC was defended by a massive wall circuit consists of two curtains of blocks linked together by a filling of stones and earth; along its route we have been positioned the silhouettes of warriors messapici made of iron with forms and iconography that are inspired by the figures represented on vessels from the Hellenistic period. Five gates allowed access to the city; among them the East gate shows the remains of a watchtower. Inside the archaeological park, the area called Fund Melliche, they see the remains of a place of worship of the Archaic period bordered by a low wall and characterized by the presence of votive now preserved in the museum of Vaste, graves related to a necropolis dated between 470 BC and the third century BC and another place of worship consists of two small rooms dated to the fourth century BC.
The cave church of Saints Stefani, located in the territory of Vast, which takes its name from the triple representation on the walls of St. Stephen, from the late tenth century. and it is completely dug out of tufa bedrock. The main facade has three arched entrances framed by pilasters and a fourth input is placed on the right side.
The first news about the castle of Castro date back to the thirteenth century, a time when a document stationery Angevin defines ‘fortress of strategic importance for the defense of the realm’.
The castle was built on the remains of a previous building probably of Byzantine or Norman; during the sixteenth century, the repeated attacks of the Turks subjected him to continuous reconstructions and renovations by the family Gattinara, lords of the manor in those years. In 1575, after the devastating Turkish incursion of 1573, was the architect of Siena Tiburzio Spannocchi to deal with the restructuring of the castle and town walls. In the eighteenth century, the building fell into disrepair as to be described in 1780 by Msgr. Del Duca, bishop of the city, such as ‘shooting and semidiruto’ and was the same priest to King Ferdinand IV to address an appeal to provide himself to the restoration of fortress; date back to the time the last work on the castle.
The construction of the Cathedral of Castro dates back to 1171. The church was almost completely destroyed by the Turks in 1573 and rebuilt retaining just outside medieval architectural elements. On the north side incorporates a Byzantine church of the IX-X century; on the south it is flanked by the Bishop’s Palace, rebuilt in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and continues with subsequent interventions; It was the residence of the bishops of Castro until the suppression of the diocese in 1818.
The cathedral has a Latin cross plan, a nave with five columns for each side against the walls, along which successive altars host valuable paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth century; the presbytery with the rich Baroque altar is elevated and has a wooden roof trusses. The church also welcomes the seventeenth-century wooden pulpit, the pipe organ of the seventeenth century, the wooden urn containing the relics of St. Dorothy, patroness of Castro, and some papier-mâché statues, including that of the Madonna Annunziata protector of the city.
The Byzantine church of Castro, discovered in 1896 and came to light in 1951 following the restoration of the Norman cathedral of the twelfth century that has incorporated, has a significant place in the context of early medieval artistic production of Puglia. What remains of the church, at a lower level than the town square where stands, it is only part of the original, dated, based on comparisons with similar facilities, the IX-X century. The church has a Greek cross plan inscribed in a rectangle of 9 m length and m 7 meters wide, with a central dome set on pendentives, apse projecting to the east, according to the canonical orientation, and barrel vaults in the corner rooms; of the eight massive columns that held the cupola, there remain only four in pairs of two. Inside the church was to be decorated with a fresco cycle in principle covered the entire wall surface, including columns; currently still remain only a few traces.
Romanelli cave, located 2 km from Castro, is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Italy for the abundance of stone tools, animal remains and depictions engraved on the walls.
Deer Cave is a natural cave located along the east coast of Salento in Porto Badisco. The discovery of the cave by five members of the Speleological Group Salentino “Pasquale de Lorentiis” Maglie was in February 1970. Initially named ‘den of Aeneas’ because of the legend that Aeneas landed in Italy just in Porto Badisco, assumed its present name following the discovery of pictograms that represent scenes of hunting deer.
The cave preserves inside one of the complex paintings of the Neolithic (4000 BC) the most important in Europe. It consists of four main galleries, three of which have painted decorations made of bat guano and red ocher. After the access corridor and the first tunnel cave forks with two other galleries (corridor east and west) who proceed with parallel development. In the western corridor figures they are in red ocher, while in the other the color used is brownish black, with a few rare red spot. The subjects covered are mainly hunters and animals (dogs, horses, deer), objects, magic symbols and abstract, etc. One of the most evocative representations consists of many handprints of children in the so-called ‘Room of hands’.
The ancient settlement coincides in part with that of modern Muro Leccese. The attendance oldest site ( whose name is still unknown messapico ) dates from the eighth century BC; at this stage in fact date back some huts and infant burials characterized by the rite of the deposition in vessels. For the sixth and fifth centuries BC They were not identified structures which allow to define the form of the town although the presence of materials datable to this phase shows that life in the settlement knows no interruption.
The Church of Santa Marina, built in the ninth century, is one of the most important and interesting artistic expressions of Byzantine architecture in Salento.
Otranto Cathedral was built starting in 1080 by the will of Archbishop William I on pre-existing old Messapic , Roman and early Christian – as emerged during the last restoration of the mosaic flooring ( 1986-1991 ) – and consecrated in 1088 under the papacy of Pope Urban II . Over the centuries, many remakes have fundamentally altered the original appearance of the building .
The Romanesque facade has a rose window with 16 columns made of local stone decorated with elegant motifs tunnel and a rich Baroque portal wanted Archbishop Gabriele Adarzo Santander in 1674 ; the sides of the facade there are two mullioned windows. A portal is lower on the left side of the basilica.
This extraordinary composition, consisting of thousands of multicolored tiles of hard local limestone, is a synthesis of the medieval knowledge of the twelfth century that combines biblical motifs and allegories, mythological images and symbols of the zodiac forming a religious and cultural path for which have been put forward different interpretations . The figures are drawn with black on white and are arranged on the sides of three large trees; the central one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, has at the base a couple of elephants and human figures in the branches, mythological beings, monstrous animals and fantastic. They recognize Alexander rising skyward supported by two winged griffins, a huge tower of Babel with 14 workers intent to its construction, the Great Flood, with Noah receiving the command from God to build the ark, the zodiac signs in 12 rounds that contain the representation of the work in the months corresponding to the constellation, Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise, King Arthur, the killing of Abel by the scene of fratricide by Cain.
The church of Santa Maria of the Martyrs is located just outside Otranto, on the hill of Minerva, place notorious for being the scene of the beheading of the nineteenth century Martyrs Idruntini 14 August 1480. About half of the climb that leads to the church there is a chapel in the which was the rock on which were decapitated eight hundred Otranto, today placed in the Cathedral; on the left there is a column that commemorates the death, for impalement, turkish Berlabei the executioner, who was killed for converting to Christianity. On top of the staircase stands the sanctuary, rebuilt in 1614 to replace the one built by Alfonso of Aragon in memory of the tragic event of 1480.
The church of San Pietro in Otranto is one of the finest examples of Byzantine art in Salento.
The building, which dates from the late ninth – beginning of the tenth century, presents a Greek cross plan inscribed in a square; It is divided into three naves with eight pillars, four of which are against the walls and four free upon which rests the dome. On the eastern side are situated three semicircular apses. The walls and ceiling of the church were richly frescoed: of those closest to the faithful are depictions of saints, scenes of the cycle shown in Genesis and the Christological cycle with the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple and Baptism. The oldest layer of the decorations belong to the famous scenes of the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper, positioned in the barrel vault of the north aisle and hypothetically attributed to Theophylact, author in the tenth century by a group of frescoes in the Crypt of Sante Marina and Cristina in Carpignano Salentino. In the apse there is the image of the Theotokos, the Virgin and Child with Angels, and within that surrounds Kufic inscription with white characters on a blue lapis lazuli. In the central dome it was represented, probably, the Christ Pantocrator.
The Castle of Otranto was built by the Aragonese after the liberation of the city in 1481 on the remains of more ancient defenses and enlarged in the following century by the Spanish , as recalled by the coat of arms of Charles V on the portal . Originally it was to appear in a typical Aragonese planimetric scheme which provided a quadrangular layout with circular towers at the corners escarpments ; was completely isolated from the village by a deep moat and the only access was made by a drawbridge . In the second half of the ‘ 500 the military architect Tiburcio Spannocchi brought considerable changes to the structure by replacing one of the circular towers with large lance-shaped bastion called ‘cutting edge’ .
Inside a staircase , in the large courtyard , it leads upstairs.
The crypt of the Cathedral of Otranto is accessed through two staircases placed along the aisles or outside, through a door located on the left side panel . The crypt dates from the eleventh century and covers the area below the presbytery and apses ; It is constituted by a large hall ending in three semicircular apses divided into 48 spans covered to cruise supported by 42 marble columns and semi-columns 23 in masonry. Part of the columns are bare and some of the capitals are clearly of Byzantine. On the walls of the crypt there are frescoes and traces of medieval decoration.
The Abbey of San Nicola di Casole, located four kilometers south of Otranto, was founded in 1098 by the will of the Norman Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch and Taranto , as a gift to the Basilian monks and the large Greek community that had settled here . It was one of the most important monasteries of southern Italian-Greek and one of the richest libraries of the West , consisting mainly of manuscripts bilingual in greek and in Latin which scholars could access from Italy and abroad , today heritage of major libraries in Europe. The Scriptorium of Casole was the place where monks preserved and transcribed knowledge and was the site of formation of the youth of the time, where he studied languages, theology, grammar and philosophy. Although lacking reliable sources, it is likely that he lived here and formed the priest Pantaleone, author of the mosaic of the cathedral idruntina.
The underground Torre Pinta located a short distance from Otranto , in the homonymous farm in the Valley of Memories , is a structure in the shape of a Latin cross consists of a long dromos entrance dug into the rock and a circular tower crowned with battlements triangular on which there are three small rooms that make up the short arms of the cross . In the access corridor runs with a step function seat while all along the walls of the hypogeum are hundreds of niches in overlapping orders .
Since the discovery , in August 1976 , to date , there have been many hypotheses about the function and history of the Hypogeum : from burial ground in Roman – age messapico with deposition of urns in niches , in the Christian liturgical space age , a pigeon loft in the seventeenth century in which cells were housed pigeons , bred by the owners of the nearby farmhouse
In the bottom of the right aisle of the Cathedral of Otranto is the monumental Chapel of the Martyrs. The chapel, shrine, built in 1482 by the Aragonese to house the remains of the nineteenth century Martyrs Idruntini decapitated and left unburied on the Hill of Minerva, was amended several times to the reconstruction ordered by Archbishop Francesco Maria de Auctions in 1711 that gave the final Baroque and octagonal configuration. Seven great-ossuary caskets topped with Latin inscriptions engraved on stone guard the impressive testimony of the martyrdom of the citizens of Otranto made in the name of faith in Christ. In the high, detached from the wall, it is located one of the stones used by the Turks for the beheading of the Martyrs.
May 12, 2013 ended the long process of canonization of the Martyrs of Otranto which saw Papa Francesco Antonio Primaldo appoint saints and companions; previously was Pope Clement XIV, in December 1771, to perform the ceremony for their beatification.
In the historic center of Otranto, in the Immaculate, there was the Chapel of the Immaculate today in a state of ruin. The church was built in the seventeenth century addossandola the city walls , where it was located Porta a Mare . The appearance of the building, known through photographs from before the collapse , had a front door and a rosette; the right side wall there was a door through which you entered the sacristy. Inside the chapel there were stone altars ; currently still they remain two placed in the side apses.
After World War II the church was closed to worship because of the precarious circumstances in which it poured . A slow and progressive degradation have caused the collapse in 1969.
On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the massacre of the nineteenth century Martyrs Idruntini, 5 October 1980 was celebrated in their memory in Otranto a solemn religious ceremony presided over by Pope John Paul II. The event took place in Martyrs’ Park, a town just south of the port of Otranto, the only one that can hold a crowd of three hundred thousand faithful gathered there to hear the words of the pontiff. Of that unforgettable day remains the big red cross 12 meters high erected at the point where the altar was set up.
The town square is dominated by the Aragonese Castle , the structure of which there are only two circular towers and a section of the curtain wall that linked them . The building originally had a square plan with four towers at the corners , three round and one square ; It was entered from the east , where it was placed the entrance with a drawbridge to overcome the moat that surrounded him .
After the capture of Otranto in 1480 , the castle Palmariggi was extensively modified to meet new requirements dictated by the use overwhelming defensive firearms . During the eighteenth century the building was affected by the construction of the Palazzo Vernazza , town hall . The years after World War II date from the filling of the ditch and the demolition of another part of the building reduced to a state of ruin .
Near the castle is located the Museum of Shell and Coral.
In the main square of Palmariggi, not far from the Aragonese Castle, it was built the Mother Church dedicated to Saint Luke the Evangelist.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montevergine, about two km from Palmariggi, was built above a Byzantine crypt which houses an icon depicting the Madonna and Child. The church has a simple facade, inside consists of a nave with a central large Baroque altar and a staircase leading to the crypt beneath the fresco of the Virgin.
Legend has it that the discovery of the image in 1595 is due to a shepherd boy who used to lead his flock grazing on what was formerly known as Monte Giove. One day, while he was to carve a twig lost the knife and began to look for him among the bushes when he saw appear a Lady, handing it to him, inviting him to return to Palmariggi and to report the incident at all. Having heard the story the priest and the whole community rushed to the place indicated and digging through the brambles was found the entrance to the church; there was erected a chapel that after the collapse of 1707 was replaced by the church.
DOLMEN E MENHIR
“Park megalithic” Giurdignano
Stone is the landscape of Salento not only from the point of view of nature with cliffs overlooking the sea and large areas of outcropping rock, but even more dominate the landscape for the use that man has always made it. Architectures in dry stone, the great baroque churches, the structures of fortification, up to modern homes. But the stone, or rather large stones, were used since ancient times, as grave markers, as instruments of a message which still often remains unknown.
Walking in the countryside, venturing in urban centers, it is not uncommon to come across large stone structures, the so-called “megaliths”, dolmens and menhirs that mark, with their presence, in an unmistakable territory.
The term comes from the Breton menhirs and means “long stone”, infitta in the hard soil of Salento. They may have different heights and their function is still partly unknown although it is interesting to note that generally are placed in particular points of the roads, particularly crossroads, perhaps indicating a point of passage, crossing, covering the sacred value, magic which from antiquity it has always been given to these particular places, especially in the period when the sacred clothed every moment of daily life.Today, in addition to widespread opinion, supported by the orientation of the broad faces of the standing stones, constantly oriented to the east and west, identifies these megaliths as simulacra of sun worship or as monuments related to the fertility cult of the goddess-mother Earth, widespread in the Neolithic. This sacred value meant that Christianity initially sought to destroy these important witnesses to a pagan religion, but then to get them to their purpose: the menhirs are “Christianized” incidendovi crosses and other Christian symbols, and keeping operation using the cd “Hosanna”, large columns topped by crosses or statues of saints, it is easy to see in the historic centers, streets, intersections, and near churches.
The word dolmen, always coming from Breton, means “stone table” It is a large stone slab placed horizontally supported by vertical plates or other large structures composed by several medium-sized stones. Also in this case the hypotheses on their origin and function are different. Some of these structures were definitely used as funerary monuments, as evidenced by the discovery, within them, the bones and remains of funerary objects, but could also have function of sacrificial altars.”
Opened on April 30, 2006, the Museum is in the former Casotto Locamare the picturesque Port of Tricase. Moored in a dedicated space are a number of traditional boats saved from the fire and destruction to obsolescence. You can admire historical fishing boats, “Boats for hire” and “schifeddhi” that have been carefully restored and returned to the sea and navigation. Of particular historical interest is the flagship Portus Veneris. The museum has a rich collection of objects and equipment, testimonies of culture, art, crafts and traditions of the navies of the Mediterranean Sea. There are numerous educational workshops specially programmed by the associated Municipal School of Sailing Latin and Ancient Seafaring. The museum also is part of the Cultural Center Standing on the site of Ancient Traditions Marinaresche all activities involving cultural initiatives, conferences, seminars, courses, studies and workshops.
The Museum of Tricase housed in the Palazzo dei Principi Gallone . Although still under construction , the Museum houses a rich collection of pottery dating from the fourteenth and the seventeenth century . Of particular value glazed bowls and salt cellars made in the fourteenth century over the bowls and jars decorated dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries . In one section there are also many everyday objects like pots and pans , dishes and vases shaped ceramic sixteenth and seventeenth centuries . Many items made with the ancient craft tradition of Salento , have been carefully preserved and restored . The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and other events that are organized throughout the year.
The museum was founded in 1960 by the Speleological Group Salentino, and was named Decio De Lorentiis who directed him from 1970 to 1994, the year of his death.
Occupying the ground floor of a villa of the early twentieth century, along with the Municipal Library F. Piccinno, it is the FTAA, complex cultural city named after a northern penguin extinct about 70 million years ago, found in a cave down Salento. The museum covers an area of 1500 square meters, equipped with a classroom, a specialized library, a reading room and the restoration workshop.
The exhibition is organized according to the new production, in the sections that illustrate different aspects of Salento through prehistoric artifacts, educational explanatory panels, models, reconstructions and multimedia.
The museum offers a complete picture of climate change and fauna in the period between the end of the last ice age and the advent of the current climate. In an area inhabited by hyenas, rhinos, wild boars, horses and small Equus hydruntinus, he was the life of man from the Paleolithic age of metals produced and used the artifacts on display.
The Museum of Borgo Terra is housed in the castle or the Prince’s Palace, the residence of Protonobilissimo, lords of the manor of the Wall.
The building, after restoration in 1999, has become the home to a permanent exhibition on the history of the medieval village. Its halls are exposed numerous archaeological testimaniano that the presence of a settlement with huts scattered Japigio already the eighth century. A.C. .; the fourth century. B.C. date back to the traces of the Messapian of 107 hectares enclosed by walls in large square blocks. After the Roman conquest of the Salento the site was abandoned for a long time, at least to the Middle Ages; parallel in the surrounding area saw the birth of villages organized in small groups of houses, for a few dozen inhabitants, with a church and a cemetery. Around the middle of the XV is the fortified village or the ‘Land’ of Wall.
A model reproduces the whole town, inside the walls and moats, with streets that crossed at right angles, with the districts and islands housing, the market square and the church.
In the museum you can admire glazed ceramics and graphite produced by potters from Salento in the second half of the fifteenth century: it is made up of canteen services from shallow bowls, plates, cups and jugs. Numerous discoveries consist of pots for cooking food, jars for storing wine and oil, and oil lamps.
Among the findings are remembered numismatic coins from the Byzantine period, those of the mint of Venice and a hoard of 129 florins, silver coins of Robert of Anjou (1309-1343).
The Diocesan Museum of Otranto, inside the sixteenth century Palazzo Lopez, was established in 1992 and is home to works of art from the Cathedral and other churches in the diocese.
In lapidarium , on the ground floor, they are exposed a baptismal font stained with scenes from the Old and New Testament and Latin inscriptions attributed to Gabriele Riccardi, stone statues Lecce dated to the XVI-XVIII sec., Friezes, capitals and other architectural elements .
On the first floor is located the art gallery with paintings of sacred subjects of the XVI -XVIII sec., And the remains of a mosaic of the fifth century. A.D. found under the mosaic of Pantaleone in the Cathedral during the 1992 restoration.
On the second floor there are liturgical objects, silver and portraits of bishops idruntini
The Museum of the shell and coral , unique Malacological Museum of the province of Lecce, receives a considerable number of bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods, and many other classes and marine species. The whole collection, comprising more than 2,000 shells from all over the world, the most bizarre shapes and colors, and the size is amazing housed in the premises of the municipal library, a few meters away from the Castello Aragonese.
The Byzantine Fresco Museum, inaugurated in 1975, is located in the Villa Comunale di Poggiardo. The structure houses, according to the original order, the frescoes in the late twelfth century from the crypt of Santa Maria degli Angeli, located in the town center close to the Mother Church, below the road level. The need to carry out a restoration of frescoes determined their removal and replacement of the originals with copies made of polystyrene flame retardant. After restoration, the frescoes were mounted on the chassis and arranged along the perimeter of the museum.
The museum has a plan that recalls the original plan of the crypt that is to a church with three naves concluded by apses curved profile.
The iconographic program sees the main apse the Virgin and Child between the archangels Michael and Gabriel, hence the name of the church, and on the sides the holy deacon Lorenzo and Stefano. On the right wall a number of saints and Christ enthroned blessing; on the north still a theory of saints, while on one of the four pillars that divide the reservoir are campite images of the Virgin and Child, St. George and another saint.
The Archaeological Museum of Civilization Messapica based in the Baronial Palace of Vast . The building built in the fifteenth century . and enlarged in the sixteenth century . by Baron Ottavio of Falcons , it houses a rich collection of artifacts recovered during archaeological excavations at the site of messapico Vast . The exhibition is organized chronologically by offering a description of the places of worship of Archaic and Hellenistic , reconstructed in the first meeting , to the Middle Ages , and funerary contexts from which the rich are kits consist of craters , basins , scrapers and typical ‘ trozzelle ‘ in geometric or floral decoration of the female burials . Among the architectural elements stands out a capital decorated with rosettes.
The Municipal Museum of Castro is headquartered in the halls of the east of the Aragonese Castle of Castro and is named after Antonio Lazzari (Castro 1905 – Naples 1979), a founder of the Speleological Group Salentino in 1955.
The museum displays the archaeological finds from the excavations carried out at various locations in the historic center and, in particular, in the village huts, where behind the fortifications messapiche was located a sanctuary dedicated to Athena; originate from numerous fragments of pottery, bones, weights globular network, a pyramidal loom weight, fragments of a marble basin and greek drapery of a female statue in stone, iron objects like spear points and arrow and a bronze statuette depicting the goddess Athena with her right hand holds a bowl to make libations and with his left hand holding a spear. Just the discovery of the statue of Athena-Minerva has confirmed the identification of Castro with Castrum Minervae mentioned by Virgil in the third book of the Aeneid.