Otranto is the town where it is possibile to enjoy the first Italian dawn, as it is geografically situated in the easternmost of Italy.
The town is located in Salento, along the Adriatic coast and it is known as “Porta d’Oriente” because for several centuries, it represented a crossroad between the Eastern and the Western worlds; this is because its geographical location and its outlet to the Adriatic Sea, commonly also called “Otranto’s Canal” – separates Italy from Albania. The distance between Otranto and Albanian coasts is so surprisingly short that on some clear days it is possible to see the Albanian mountains with the naked eye.
Otranto is known as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy and in 2010 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The most important historical building of the town is the Cathedral of St Maria Annunziata. Its floor is entirely covered by a Norman mosaicof great artistic value. It is made of 600,000 pieces and it represents a huge arbor vitae (life tree). Inside the Cathedral you can find the Chapel of the Martyrs of Otranto which still preserves the remains of the 800 Martyrs who were beheaded by the Turks because they refused to convert to Islam, during the Ottoman siege of the town in 1480.
For lovers of photography, town surroundings offers several places which are perfect for breath-taking shots: from the wonderful Baia dei Turchi to the routes that lead to the Punta Palascia Lighthouse, until reaching the suggestive Bauxite quarry.
Otranto’s gastronomy is a mix of flavours from the land and the sea, and obviously it remains true to the principles of Salento cuisine. Some of the first courses are:
- taieddha salentina: rice, potatoes and black mussels;
- sagne ‘ncannullate, fresh pasta similar to “tagliatelle” served with fresh tomato sauce;
- farro soup with seafood and redfish;
- fae nette e foje, fava beans cream with chicory accompanied by toasted bread.
Some of the best second courses are:
- pittule, leavened and fried dough;
- muersi, a mix of legumes and turnips, with little pieces of fried bread;
- stuffed aubergines;
- mixed fresh fish-fry
Finally, we cannot forget to mention the “pasticciotto “, a crumbly pastry shell filled with thick custard.
Otranto represents a destination suited for those who would love to live in a city which overlooks the sea, but it’s also full of art, history and nice food. A precious place frozen in time where you can enjoy the scent of sea salt while you’re taking a walk through the stone-paved alleys of the old town.
Home-offices in this area
Places of interest
- Largo Porta Alfonsina (A)
- Cathedral of St. Maria Annunziata (B)
- Church of St. Pietro (C)
- Torre Matta (D)
- Aragonese Castle (E)
- Pelasgian’s Bastions
🚴♀️ Regional Park Otranto Leuca, cycle path
🐎 Horse ride along Cape of Otranto pathway
🌄 Excursion to the Bauxite quarry
🥾 Trails for trekking from Torre del Serpe to Palascia Lighthouse
🥾 Trails for trekkingfrom Torre del Serpe to Palascia Lighthouse
🦆 Birdwatching in the protected oasis of Alimini Lakes
🏄 Windsurf courses, surf and kite surf at Frassanito
🧗 Free Climbing at St. Emiliano Tower