This unusual honeymoon itinerary features the most alluring destinations and the most luxurious accommodations. Stay in charming country retreats, Masserias and luxurious resorts. This itinerary takes you to the discovery of the unspoiled Salento and let you experience it all. Soak up the ambience and experience the Italian romance of the beauty of these unspoiled areas. For adventurous explorers.
FULL DAY ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDED TOUR OF OTRANTO AND ALIMINI LAKE
Around Otranto there’s an emerald green lake surrounded by red land. It is a deposit of bauxite, a sedimentary rock mainly made of oxides and hydroxides of iron and aluminum, usually employed to produce aluminum. A mine was active in this forsaken area for nearly forty years, offering jobs to generations of workers from 1940 to 1976. The bauxite extracted here was destined to the factories in Porto Marghera, near Venice; once the mining stopped, water infiltrations slowly formed this lake and gave way to an alien landscape.
Otranto is definitely one of the most beautiful sea towns of Salento and of Puglia in general.
The castle is a fortress built by the Aragonese of Naples between 1485 and 1498, probably over an existing building dating back to Frederick’s time. It has a pentagonal and irregular plant, with a moat that stretches around the perimeter and, once, it was also equipped with a drawbridge that was the only entrance point. It is constituted by three cylindrical towers and a spear bastion, nicknamed “Diamond Tip”, built in 1578. Inside, there is a small square with a staircase leading to the upper levels. Currently, the castle is the space where exhibitions, cultural and artistic events take place.
ORECCHIETTE AND TURNIP TOPS COOKING CLASS
Orecchiette is the typical pasta shape from Apulia. Lovely with broccoli, anchovies, garlic and chilli, these traditional concave disks of pasta are made in a unique manner. Flower, water and years of experience. Try to learn while out in Apulia
Specchia, in 2013 the city received the recognition as “Jewel of Italy“, making the old town a characteristic scattered hotel, among the first examples in Italy. The symbol of the town is the Risolo Castle, but there are also worship places such as the Mother Church and the former Convent of the Black Franciscans. Recently recovery are the old underground oil mills, examples of industrial architecture and the social and economic life of Salento. Outside the town, the surrounding countryside, you can visit the Byzantine church of St. Euphemia.
SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA
Santa Maria di Leuca sits on the southernmost tip of the Salento peninsula where the waters of the Adriatic Sea mingle and merge with those of the Ionian. The wonderful villas in Santa Maria di Leuca make the promenade of the borough of Castrignano del Capo unique. Liberty style is the main one, but there are also more Moorish motifs and oriental-like gazebos.
They are the holiday houses of noble families or rich-bourgeoisie which, towards the end of the 19th century, embellished the peaceful seaside town, giving it an oriental and unique charm.
The boat trip allows you to visit the main caves of Salento. You can admire the Ionic and Adriatic side and the most pleasant part of the excursion is certainly the stop for the bath, which allows you to access swimming in one of the caves and, perhaps with a mask, to observe the unique backdrop.
SALENTO DINNER WITH TARANTA SHOW
Watch a show or even take part in the traditional Pugliese dance of the Taranta. Let your hair down and dance about and sing with the locals.
Lecce is the the pearl of Baroque architecture and of the magnificence of Salento. The most beautiful thing about Lecce is the amphitheatre which was discovered at the beginning of 20th century by some workers during the construction of the building of the Bank of Italy. It was completely buried under the city, so much so that it is still not 100% visible. It is the most important testimony of the Lupiae Roman period, the ancient Lecce. It is though to date back to between the first and second century A.D, between the age of Augustus and the Trajan-Hadrian one. It could hold around 25000 spectators.
Then Piazza del Duomo: it is a closed piazza. There is only one entrance, on one side, the other three sides are completely enclosed by buildings. In the square, you will find the Cathedral with two facades, the Bishop’s Palace and the Seminary.
Finally, the Basilica of Santa Croce has the peculiarity of appearing all of a sudden among the narrow streets of the historical centre, a few steps from Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Along its entire facade, you can admire a narrative full of symbols, religious references, saints, popes, rhetorical figures, epic battles between East and West and many other curiosities.
Founded by Idomeneo from ancient Crete, the town soon became part of Magna Graecia and remained so until Pyrrhus, presumably following one too many disastrous victories, was defeated by the Romans. The Byzantines rebuilt the town in the form we recognise today.
The island heart of Gallipoli is home to numerous impressive Baroque churches and aristocratic palazzi, testament to the town’s former wealth as a trading port. A labyrinthine weave of narrow streets all eventually lead to the broader sea-front promenade with its wonderful views.
TRAPPETUM, A JOURNEY THROUGH THE ANCIENT CULTURE OF OIL
The itinerary provides the exploration of some of the most fascinating and mysterious underground oil mills in Salento. It will be possible to visit recovered oil mills and made usable by the owners and others instead, which despite being abandoned, can be visited with the use of torches that make the route more adventurous and interesting. An expert guide will explain to the participants all the secrets of the mysterious world of underground oil mills, working environments and the hard lifestyle of the millers.
The Regional Nature Park of Porto Selvaggio, covers an area of 1100 hectares in the municipality of Nardò and is part of an area by the sea, where reforestation has been started since the 50s.
The landscape, is characterised by a thick pine forest, surrounded by the wonderful Ionian Sea.
Take the chance to watch foxes, weasels, hedgehogs, chameleons and, during the bird migration season, also blackbirds, thrushes and hoopoes, beside the lesser kestrels and the kestrels.
One should also admire the wonderful small pebbles beach in the bay of Porto Selvaggio, crowded in summer, and the underwater caves.