Salento sightseeing

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Salento

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About Salento

Salento has a rich history and a diverse landscape. It is a favorite summer vacation spot for Italians who come to enjoy the fine sandy beaches of the western coast along the Ionian Sea as well as the chalk cliffs, craggy grottoes and saltwater lagoons of the Adriatic coastline to the east. The interior of the peninsula provides rich soil for the many vineyards and olive groves; this region of Italy produces almost half of the country’s olive oil.

Salento Weather: This southernmost point of eastern Italy has hot, clear summers and mild winters.

Regional Cuisine of Salento: Orecchiette, frisella, baccala all Salentina, pasticciotto, pizzette

Regional Wine of Salento: Salice Salentino, Negroamaro del Salento, Primitivo di Manduria, Castel del Monte

Things to do in Salento: Grecia Salentina, Castello Angiono and Sant’ Agata Cathedral in Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca, Basilica of Santa Croce and Cathedral Square in Lecce

Where is Salento? Salento is the southernmost part of the peninsula that forms the "heel" of the boot of Italy. It lies between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

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Ostuni

City

ostuni art
hotels from 46.58 USD per night
art

Oria

City

oria wine
hotels from 91.94 USD per night
wine

Traveler Stories

Why I love Salento

The wild beauty and quietude of Salento is welcome therapy after the noise and crowds of the northern Italian cities.

For anyone who loves architecture as much as I do, Salento offers stunning examples of unique styles found only in this region.

Grecia Salentina, located south of Lecce, has the whitewashed walls and stucco facades reminiscent of Greek island architecture intermingled with the typical Italianate styles. I was amazed to see that even road signs and menus are in a local Greek dialect.

In the early 20th century, the wealthy of Salento began building spectacular seaside villas in Santa Maria Leuca that were a blend of modern Art Nouveau styling with Moorish accents; going northward along the coast, I saw Gallipoli with its Byzantine and Arabic-influenced structures. As diverse as it may be, it feels right at home here in Salento.

About the author

Donna lived and taught English on the eastern edge of Italy for several years, traveling throughout this beautiful country whenever the opportunity — and the funding — arose.

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Torricella

City

torricella wine
hotels from 46.58 USD per night
wine

What is the best way to get around in Salento?

Answer

What is the best way to get around in Salento?

Salento’s main city, Lecce, is the southernmost terminus of the main railway; from there, you can take the local train system – the Ferrovie Sud Est – to many of the smaller towns on the peninsula.

Because Salento is surrounded on three sides by water with the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west, it is possible to travel to the coastal towns by ferry. You can also hire private boats to take you for a day trip to view the dramatic cliffs and grottos of the east coast from the sea.

One advantage of Salento’s isolation is the lack of traffic congestion. You can easily rent a car and travel to towns and beaches on your own schedule.

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Lecce

City

lecce beach
hotels from 36.78 USD per night
beach

Otranto

City

otranto beach
hotels from 49.04 USD per night
beach

Travel Tips

Things worth remembering in Salento

Fun Fact: The frenzied local folk dance known as Pizzica was once thought to be the only cure for a deadly spider bite.

Local Dish: Orecchiette, which means "little ears," is a local pasta whose shape makes it perfect for collecting mouthwatering sauces.

Local Day Trips: The nearby province of Bari has many attractions worth visiting. Not to be missed are the traditional trulli constructions found only in this area and protected by UNESCO.

Locals Love: If you ever wondered where Italians go during their August holidays, the answer is Otranto, a popular resort town on the east coast of Salento.

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Gallipoli

City

gallipoli beach
hotels from 51.49 USD per night
beach

When is the best time of year to visit Salento?

Answer

When is the best time of year to visit Salento?

It’s always a great time to explore this hospitable southern region given the mild Mediterranean climate. However, if you want to really get a feel for the culture of Salento, August is the best time to visit.

The beaches may be crowded with vacationing Italians, but there is so much cultural activity that you’ll be glad you came. You’ll find celebrations and festivals in many towns and villages, but the largest and most popular is La Notte della Taranta. Held over multiple weeks in the Greek towns south of Lecce, the festival culminates with a final music concert in Melpignano that attracts up to 150,000 spectators, making it the largest music festival in Italy devoted to traditional culture.

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Porto Cesareo

City

porto cesareo beach
hotels from 46.58 USD per night
beach

Salice Salentino

City

salice salentino city wine
hotels from 88.26 USD per night
wine

Cavallino

City

cavallino art
hotels from 61.3 USD per night
art

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Salento

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