9. From Lecce: Full-Day Salento Tour with Professional Guide
Explore Salento and its picturesque towns on a small group, full-day tour from Lecce, traveling by air-conditioned coach with room for no more than 7 passengers. Following a pick-up from your hotel, drive to Galatina, a real gem of art, history and traditions. Of extraordinary beauty is, in particular, the Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, second only to the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi for the presence of many frescoes inside, which were created by Giotto's disciples. Other monuments to visit include the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the ancient "courtyard houses" and the buildings situated in the historical center. Otranto is Italy’s easternmost town and is well-known as “Porta d’Oriente” (literally, “Door to the Orient”). The splendid cathedral, the Church of Saint Peter in perfect Byzantium style, the castle, the towers, the mighty Pelasgi Bastions and the walls that surrounded the whole ancient city make Otranto one of the most interesting cultural destinations in the south of Italy.
Santa Maria di Leuca sits on the southernmost tip of the Salentine peninsula, bathed by two seas, the Ionian Sea to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Santa Maria di Leuca is a tourist center famous for its colorful natural landscape that blends in with its majestic architecture. Located on the Japigo promontory is the Basilica of Santa Maria De Finibus Terrae (at the ends of the Earth). From the basilica, you can reach the old port on foot via two ramps of 300 steps each.
Gallipoli is considered the pearl of Salento. This Greek city can be divided into two areas: the old city and the new village, where the tourist facilities and modern buildings arise. The old part of the city is located on a limestone island connected to the mainland by a 17th-century bridge. It is surrounded by defensive walls built mainly in the 14th-century. It is characterized by a labyrinthine weave of narrow streets, home to traditional shops of local handicrafts, numerous impressive Baroque churches and aristocratic palazzi. Also worth seeing are the cathedrals dedicated to St. Agatha, one of the best examples of the Baroque in Salento, the Angevine Castle built in the 13th-century and the Greek Fountain, one of the oldest fountains in Italy.