Vacation in Salento: Maldives style beaches at your doorstep
Sun, sea, and wind: these natural elements will characterize your vacation in Salento and will allow you to alternate moments of relaxation on paradisiacal beaches with outdoor activities, including water sports. Salento is also a land rich in traditions: its historical monuments and the exciting folk festivals that enliven its villages are worth the trip.
Are you thinking of a vacation in Salento but are undecided between the Adriatic coast, rich in nature reserves, and the Ionian coast, with sandy beaches as far as the eye can see? Are you inspired by the “White City” of Otranto and the ancient seaside village of Gallipoli? Here are some ideas that will help you choose where to start your vacation in Salento. The first fixed point could be your accommodation: book on Fairbnb.coop a holiday home, a B&B, a typical “Masseria” or “trullo”, to support local communities and the Save the Queen project of Legambiente.
The Faraglioni of Sant’Andrea in Melendugno
Vacation in Salento – Brindisi and the Adriatic coast
Beaches, art, or history: what to see first during your vacation in Salento? You could solve this question by choosing as a starting point a B&B in Brindisi, where these ingredients are combined at their best.
From the elegant promenade Viale Regina Margherita you will be able to admire a unique view of Brindisi old town and, going up the Scalinata di Virgilio (Virgil’s Staircase), reach the Colonne Romane (Roman Columns) terminals of the ancient Via Appia, one of the symbols of the city. On the Island of St. Andrew in front of the port area you will see the outline of the Castello Alfonsino, built in the fifteenth century in red stone.
In Piazza Duomo, in the heart of the historic center of Brindisi, you can visit the Cathedral, built in the eleventh century in Romanesque style, and the Archaeological Museum Francesco Ribezzo, which houses the bronzes found in the waters of Punta del Serrone and other precious artifacts found in Salento. In the ancient district of San Pietro degli Schiavoni you can admire the portal decorated with high-reliefs of the Temple of San Giovanni al Sepolcro and, overlooking the sea, the imposing thirteenth-century Swabian Castle.
Farmhouses and vacation homes in Salento – Lecce and its province
During your vacation in Salento you cannot miss a stop in Lecce, the Apulian capital of Baroque.
After passing through the arch of Porta Napoli, the northern entrance to the historic center, a walk through the noble palaces of Via Palmieri will lead you to Piazza del Duomo, dominated by one of the highest bell towers in Europe. Here you can visit the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta, dating back to the twelfth century but rebuilt in the seventeenth century with baroque forms, and the Seminary Palace, home of the Diocesan Museum.
Continuing along Via Vittorio Emanuele II you will find the Church of Sant’Irene, with its sumptuous baroque interior, and you will reach Piazza Sant’Oronzo, where the column with the bronze statue of the city’s patron saint stands out. From the square you can admire the arena of the adjacent Roman Amphitheater, dating back to the Augustan age, while not far away you will find the majestic Carlo V Castle, which houses a museum dedicated to the tradition of paper mache productions, and the Basilica of Santa Croce, with a triumph of statues, columns and stone decorations on the facade.
The Roman Amphitheater in Lecce
At this point, it is worth reaching San Cataldo, the beach of Lecce par excellence, and then continuing along the Adriatic coast which, passing through the enchanting seaside resorts of San Foca and Torre dell’Orso, leads to Otranto, the easternmost city in Italy. In the heart of its ancient village, which stands on a rocky spur dominated by the Aragonese Castle, you can visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, inside which is preserved a sumptuous Byzantine mosaic floor.
The wonders around Gallipoli and the “Maldives” of Salento
The Ionian coast of Salento is dotted with beautiful beaches and ancient villages. Gallipoli is perched on an island of limestone origin, with walls, ramparts, and the Angevin Castle, of medieval origin, overlooking the sea. Walking through the paved streets of its historic center you will meet several buildings adorned with baroque decorations, among which stand out Palazzo Balsamo and, at the highest point of the island, the Cathedral of St. Agatha, with a spectacular facade in tuff decorated with numerous statues. Just beyond the bridge that connects the old town to the mainland, you can admire the Greek Fountain, which is believed to date back to the third century BC.
To the south of Gallipoli you will find the coast of Punta Pizzo, a protected natural area that includes the famous beach of Punta della Suina and several beaches with fine sand and sloping seabeds, such as Torre Mozza and Pescoluse: for its natural features and its beauty, this stretch of coast is known as the “Maldives of Salento”.
At the end of the coast road, you will find Santa Maria di Leuca, where you can walk along the elegant Lungomare Colombo, dotted with Art Nouveau villas and typical restaurants, and visit the Basilica of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae, built in the sixteenth century on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple: from the square in front of the sanctuary, the view of the expanse of the sea where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet will leave you breathless.
Santa Maria di Leuca
Useful information for a vacation in Salento
How to get to Salento
Salento, a peninsula with ancient traditions squeezed between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, is the Heel of Italy, but don’t let its geographical position discourage you: apartments for rent, masserie, vacation homes, and B&Bs in Salento are easily reached by any means of transportation. The airport of Brindisi is in fact connected to many European airports, even by low-cost airlines, and is the point of departure or transit of most of the trains of the Ferrovie del Sud-Est. In Salento arrives the Strada Statale 16 Adriatica, which until Bari runs almost parallel to the A14 freeway: starting from Lecce the suburban public transport has several bus lines that reach most of the places along the coast, and for many of them in the summer there are a dozen trips per day.
Weather in Salento
Sun and wind are the two elements that characterize the weather in Salento, the south-eastern end of Puglia and Italy exposed to currents of sirocco, especially along the Ionian coast and grecale on the Adriatic side.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, with maximum temperatures steadily above 30°C in the hottest and driest months, July and August, and many sunny and mild days even in winter, with minimum temperatures that usually fall below 10°C only inland. Rainfall is scarce and generally concentrated between November and January, while snow is an exceptional event.
Consulting the weather forecast in real-time in Salento you will be able to know the situation of winds and choose the stretch of coast and the beach more sheltered.
Traditional Salento specialties
In Salento you will find a gastronomic tradition based on simple dishes prepared with genuine ingredients, such as tagliatelle with chickpeas “ciceri e tria“, and a strong influence of Eastern flavors, especially in sweets made with almonds and cinnamon.
Regione Puglia offers a free public Wi-Fi Internet access service, called PIDSS, with hotspots distributed in more than 60 municipalities.
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