Benvenuti! Welcome to Puglia!
Next spring & fall we will be “Kicking Up Our HeelZ” in Puglia, the charming heel of Italy’s boot.
This is the eighth in a series of Puglia PostZ which I have been publishing every few weeks in an effort to inform you about this unique region of Italy and, of course, to entice you into joining us!
By the Sea…By the Beautiful Sea!
Let’s Visit 3 of Puglia’s Seaside Gems…
Gallipoli, Ostuni and Otranto
Gallipoli, Ostuni and Otranto are all seaside towns famous for their history, charm and beauty. Mixed cultural influences and local cuisine enhance their attraction. Andiamo!
Gallipoli, which means “beautiful city” in Greek, lies on Ionian Sea on the western coast of the Salentine peninsula. Historically Gallipoli was frequently under siege so it is almost completely surrounded by defensive walls. The city is divided into two zones: the “Old Town” and the “New Town”.
The “Old Town” is on a tiny island which is connected by a 17th century bridge to the mainland. With its labyrinth of narrow streets and churches, palazzi and structures, Gallipoli’s history and mix of different influences and cultures is apparent.
The “New Town” is divided by Corso Roma into two sections called Sirocco and Tramontana and this is where we will find more modern buildings and tourist services.
Once a wealthy port town, Gallipoli also has two ports with the fishing port being the oldest. Gallipoli is renowned for its fresh seafood and fish. A visit to the seafood market, where you can taste raw shrimps, sea urchins, shellfish and local oysters, is a highlight of a visit here.
Delightful beaches, crystal blue waters and lovely views can be enjoyed at local cafes along the sea-front promenade.
Known as the “white city” for its whitewashed buildings, Ostuni is Greek in appearance with some Baroque details and an 18th century obelisk in the main square. With the largest population of the three cities,it is actually a few short kilometers from the coast.
The influence of Frederick II, who spent a great deal of time in Puglia constructing sixty-nine castles and forty-two cathedrals over a thirty year period, is apparent.
Rebuilt in the 1st and 2nd century AD by the Greeks, like so many towns in this region, Ostuni’s history includes various occupations and rulers (including the Romans, the Ostrogoths and the Longboards). In the 16th century Isabella D’Aragona and then her daughter initiated an era of culture and art.
Defensive walls were enlarged and towers were erected to protect the inhabitants from the attacks of the Turks.
In the late 17th century, the city was sold 1679 to the Duke of Giovanni Zevallos whose family tyrannized the city until the Bourbons came to power. Finally, in 1860, Ostuni became part of the newly formed nation of Italy.
Otranto, a charming seaside town at the very tip of Italy’s heel in southern Puglia, is characterized by ancient walls and the crystal clear waters. Like Gallipolli and Ostuni, Otranto was strategically located for foreign invasions of Italy and Europe. And like her sister cities, Otranto has endured and survived for centuries.
Once a Roman port for trade, Otranto was been ruled by the Normans and later, in 1480, attacked and almost completely annihilated by the Turks when about 800 of the townsfolk were transported to a nearby hill and beheaded for refusing to deny their faith.
Otranto’s cathedral, completed in the 12th century, is known for its beautiful Baroque portal, fine rose window and magnificent interior. Itsmosaic floor, reputed to be the largest mosaic in Europe, includes the ‘
tree of life’ with intertwining Norman, Greek and Byzantine designs as well as animals, symbols and words whose secrets are still being studied and deciphered to this day .
Castello Aragonese, a castle in the center of town and overlooking Otranto’s port, was built in the late 15th century by the Aragonese to defend the town against foreign invasions.
Today the only invaders are the tourists who come to enjoy Otranto’s seaside charm as well as its superb seafood including sea urchins, sea bass and sea bream.
Everything you need to say “Si” is here:
Space is LIMITED to 12 Guests!
Still undecided? Questions? Contact Victoria