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index /// zones


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6 18 34 58 72 84 98 112

breakfast seaside resorts lunch & dinner culture happy hour bars & pubs events & festivals music

/// uselful numbers


preamble “It is everything but the usual guide book!�. This is the answer we have given to everybody. It is neither an events guide, nor a small handbook of history of the monuments. Instead, it is a collection of short, or rather very short stories, written by people who have always been looking at the Salento area with a critical eye. We created many tales to guide you through a typical day, by imagining the best way to live it. From the morning breakfast

to sun tanning on the beach, from a quick sandwich at the supermarket to discovering the history of the province, from the aperitivo to starting all over again at the best nightclubs, parties and festivals. We provided the reference points, you choose the route. You will realize getting lost in the Salento peninsula is extremely easy, but it will be totally worth it. Happy holidays!

2 /// salento summer guide


salento summer guide /// single edition edited by: Salvatore Papa /// editor in chief Daniele Guido /// graphics and pagination Sergio Vaglio /// administration with the contribution of: Federico Vaglio /// account and distribution Erik Chilly /// illustrations Alessio D'Ellena & Silvia Agozzino /// graphic design Daniele De Matteis /// web site reviews by: Alice Sabato /// Annamaria Todaro /// Carlo Di Gaetano Chiara De Carlo /// Elda Grazioso /// Elisabetta Mattia Federica Rossi /// Federico Vaglio /// Giorgio Riccardi Giuseppe Muci /// Laura Gerardi /// Massimiliano De Rubertis Salvatore Papa /// Serena De Carlo /// Sergio Duma translations by: Elena Resera /// Giuliana Fantini /// Lucia Capasso special thanks to: Angelo Felline /// Annamaria Todaro /// Flavia Corradetti /// Giorgio Riccardi Laura Gerardi /// Massimiliano De Rubertis /// Sara Papa /// Sergio Duma printed by: Poligrafica srl - Modugno (BA) URKA! sas /// communication and low-cost services via Don Mazzolari, 13 - 73044 Galatone (LE) +39 348 5957850 /// Winner of the competition Principi Attivi - Giovani Idee per una Puglia Migliore

4 /// zones /// salento summer guide

zones 1 2

Torre lapillo


zones 3 4 5

Torre dell’Orso

Santa Maria di Leuca

6 /// breakfast /// salento summer guide



8 /// breakfast /// salento summer guide

breakfast zone 1 /// Bar Garden /// Garden Bar /// Il Canneto /// Miramare /// 'Ndillo... con dolcezza /// Pasticceria Ascalone /// Piccadilly

10 10 10 11 11 11 12

zone 2

/// Caffè Alvino /// Cornetteria... di notte /// Dolce Lecce /// Icaro Libri&Caffè /// Le Delizie del Forno /// Pasticceria Cherì

12 12 13 13 13 14


zone 3 /// Dentoni


zone 4 /// Caffè delle Terme


zone 5 /// Bar del Porto /// Ice Bar /// Inter Bar /// Kampure

15 15 16 16

night bakeries


10 /// breakfast /// salento summer guide

zone 1

Bar Garden

Gallipoli / via Kennedy /// The distinctive peculiarity of Bar Garden is the open space embracing the kitchen where nightly breakfasts are prepared. As if they said: we have nothing to hide! An advice? Go straight to the croissants. The flaky pastry is evidently factory-made. But the custard is definitely home-made and injected with a big confectionery syringe, so that you can eat the fresh-baked croissant without severely burning yourself. Alternatively, choose the one with Nutella or jam. You will allow yourself a second turn! zone 1

Garden Bar

Galatone / via XX settembre, 193 /// In this village, having breakfast at the Garden Bar is a must. The flaky pastry dough is just perfect, the divine taste of the custard together with the classic and secure flavour of an amazing chocolate make the croissants almost musical. If you are having a bad day, it will suddenly change. Last but not least: pasticciotti, so stuffed as they were about to explode, and the classic cappuccino. Sighing the owner’s name, “Adriana”, with the same passion of Rocky Balboa will be inevitable. zone 1

Il Canneto

Gallipoli / piazza Canneto /// Sirocco, the Southern wind, shakes hands with Tramontane, the Northern wind, right between the walls of the wonderful old town of Gallipoli and the skyscraper that unveils the new town’s horrible architecture. By night, the two winds blow the smell of dead fish, and when they melt together by the harbour, they force passers-by to intermitted apnoea. You can take a breath of fresh air at this small bar, the last stop for late-night revellers. Why is it so special? Because it combines fresh-baked pastries and scratchcards. Who wants ten croissants… or rather who wants to be a millionaire? You choose.


zone 1


Porto Cesareo / piazza Nazario Sauro, 11 / +39 0833 569025 /// In the early morning, after a wild night out, is there anything better than spoiling yourself with good old things? Then you better hurry up and go to Miramare, opposite the Ionic coast. You will be caressed by the smell of freshbaked croissants and pasticciotti and by the sound of the waves sweetly dying against the shore. It is a real pleasure to lazily sit down at the tables under the blue awning, watching the sun rising on the water, while fishermen haul their nets. Life is beautiful, isn’t it? zone 1

'Ndillo... con dolcezza

Gallipoli / via di San Sebastiano, 13 (historic centre) /// There is a person who is willing to satisfy your desires at the most unexpected times. After a night out (or before even starting it), you can please your taste buds just by asking ‘Ndillo. With his good father manner, he bakes croissants by requested flavours (you can even have your say in his Facebook wall). As the name itself points out, everything is done “con dolcezza”... with sweetness! zone 1

Pasticceria Ascalone

Galatina / via Vittorio Emanuele, 17 / +39 0836 566009 /// Andrea Ascalone defines himself as a virile craftsman. Actually, he is an artist of sweetness. Once upon a time (in 1745 to be precise), in this shop his ancestor Nicola created the original pasticciotto. Andrea keeps on creating and selling his works, always recommending not to mistreat them or give them to undiscriminating mouths. His limited edition masterpieces are designed for truly eager souls. Before digging your tongue into these wonders, “the Ascalone”, as he is called, could tell you a story that will take you to an imaginary journey through the most true and sincere tradition. Take note!

12 /// breakfast /// salento summer guide

zone 1


Santa Maria al Bagno (Nardò) / piazza Nardò, 25 / +39 0833 573025 /// The Piccadilly, excellent confectioner’s, but also ice-cream parlour, rotisserie and crêperie, is a popular destination for night owls. Santa Maria is not London, but Piazza Nardò is nevertheless historically relevant. As a matter of fact, some Jews took refuge here, during the persecutions of the Second World War. That is why only a few hundred meters away, you will find a modern memory museum. To avoid low blood sugar, devour a good pasticciotto. zone 2

Caffè Alvino

Lecce / piazza Sant’Oronzo, 30 / +39 0832 246748 /// Having breakfast in your pyjamas while watching TV? Everybody does it. Having breakfast in an historical place like Caffè Alvino, the keeper of Salento’s confectionery culture, located in the wonderful square of Sant’Oronzo? Well, that’s another cup of tea. You will savage one of the best pasticciotto of the area while the patron saint blesses the city from the top of the column in front of you, the Roman theatre at his back and the sleepily passers’-by buzz of conversation of at his feet. A pleasure every citizen of Lecce is proud of. zone 2

Cornetteria... di notte

Lecce / via Vittorio Alfieri, 12 / +39 0832 346435 /// This had never happened to me before. A bouncer standing outside a croissanterie! Never seen in my whole life. But actually, it shouldn’t surprise me. The crowd by the entrance needs to be sorted out and having the munchies at night means everybody is much more nervous. Add the smell and look of sweet and salty delicacies in the hands of people who arrived before: the picture is now complete. Everything is just huge, legitimating slightly higher prices.


zone 2

Dolce Lecce

Lecce / via Matteotti, 42 / open from 8 pm /// If you love crepes after dinner, then save some space in your stomach and come here. The place is quite small, but the owner creates true works of culinary art that will melt in your mouth. Fat will melt somewhere else, but let’s forget about it. Legend says that if you order a coffee, you will get a very tiny crepes, just to oblige. Emotional tears will start glistening on your cheeks. You might have to queue, but it is totally worth it. zone 2

Icaro Libri&Caffè

Lecce / via Liborio Romano, 25 / +39 0832 241559 /// Did you wake up late and can’t make it to prepare your coffee? Then 25 Via Liborio Romano is the perfect place to have breakfast and be treated like a king. While nosing into the available books, according to the outer temperature you can choose between a fabulous coffee cream with dark chocolate or a fresh fruit shake with soft brownies. Enjoy your breakfast in the small “secret garden”, accessible from number 23. Wherever you were going, you will eventually arrive late. zone 2

Le Delizie del Forno Lecce / via dell’Abate, 41

/// As every self-respecting baker, master Francesco does his best during the night, when the alcohol dries your mouth and the gastro-oesophageal reflux is beginning to make itself felt. Chemists are closed, but here you will find a natural palliative: the best croissants in town, together with chocolate bread and other sugared titbits. Pizza and other salty products are drowning under litres of sauce and they are not up to the rest. But come on, you cannot expect nouvelle cuisine in a baker’s. To find “Le Delizie del Forno”, leave your Tom Tom at home and use your nose to follow the unmistakable smell of hot bread.

14 /// breakfast /// salento summer guide

zone 2

Pasticceria Cherì

Campi Salentina / via San Francesco, 3 /// Are we ever going to have a black Pope? Who knows. But this village is certainly open minded as for a very peculiar Salento specialty: black pasticciotto. Named “Pasticciotto Obama”, it is characterized by chocolate layer and filling. After being proclaimed citizen by the municipality of Campi Salentina, master Angelo’s work of art has landed in the USA, praised by the Italian press. Next stop: the White House. Can you imagine: “Mr President, it was created in your image and likeness”. zone 3


Torre dell’Orso (Marina di Melendugno) piazza D’Acquisto 8 / +39 0832 841306 /// The classic of the classics. In Torre dell’Orso, it is compulsory to stop by at Dentoni, in the morning, afternoon or late evening. Appreciated for an excellent ice-cream, and even more for its cakes and crepes, the breakfast at Dentoni is well known not only to local people, but also and above all to tourists. Try the Nutella croissant with its peculiar shape and an extra filling compared to the other ones. Unfortunately, in summer, Dentoni is almost always closed in the middle of the night. Let’s protest! zone 4

Caffè delle Terme

Santa Cesarea Terme / viale Terme, 1 / +39 0836 949781 /// If you go there by day, at least make an attempt: catapult yourself all the way to the balcony, try and conquer the only table facing the cliff. If it is occupied, it doesn’t matter, you can take a seat in the spacious and fresh terrace. Look up: stellar vaults and an extraordinary glimpse of Moorish architecture. Just relax and enjoy one of the famous croissants with custard (which is homemade, mind you), baked either by day and by night for indomitable partyanimals.


zone 5

Bar del Porto

Santa Maria di Leuca / via Doppia Croce, 65 / +39 0833 758581 /// Santa Maria di Leuca, the tip of Italy’s heel, cherishes so many myths and such a long history that it would be impossible to make a list. Our advice? Go there in the early morning, eat up the 300 steps of the monumental stair towards Africa, have breakfast at the Bar del Porto and start exploring. Once you have recharged your batteries (and calories), start over towards the 19th century villas or the millenary caves, while catching a glimpse of the Ionian and Adriatic seas continuously caressing each other. After the trip and an aperitivo at Bar del Porto, get ready for reclimbing the flight of steps. In the direction of Italy, this time.

zone 5

Ice Bar

San Gregorio (Marina di PatĂš) / near the parking areas /// Be honest: on holiday you are likely to wake up very late. But should you plan to change your habits to enjoy a big sweet breakfast, remember that Ice Bar opens at lunchtime. Yet, it does not close until the following morning, at 5 am. So do something else in the meantime, but then leave your diet resolution at home, hurry up and order one of their huge croissants. We recommend the ones filled with Nutella and white chocolate.

16 /// breakfast /// salento summer guide

zone 5

Inter Bar

Tricase / via Umberto I /// Toto turned his misfortune into his own fortune. He suffers from insomnia, so he avails himself of the opportunity to open during the night. In summer or in winter, when it is raining or when the stars are shining, he is always there, firm and constant like the universal gravitation. Nobody knows how old he is. Some say he was born before births even began to be registered. While waiting for the carbon 14 test, we suggest you to soothe your languid appetite with pasticciotto and cappuccino, or to satisfy your munchies, with rustico and Dreher beer. To each, his own. zone 5


Torre Suda (Racale) / corso Vittoria seafront / +39 389 9737401 /// Torre Suda is in the shade of the bigger city of Gallipoli. In summer, it is a quiet holiday resort‌ maybe too quiet! That’s why Kampure is a fundamental resource for young holidaymakers. Sober and minimal, open all day, good for breakfast, aperitivo and dinner, excellent pizza and big sandwiches. Kampure hosts live music, that to be honest is not always recommendable, unless you can bear tribute bands. Its added value are nightly croissants, a true salvation for party animals coming back from Gallipoli.


night bakeries /// zone 1

zone 2

Bar Garden

Dolce Lecce

see p. 10

see p. 13

zone 1

zone 2

Gallipoli / viale Kennedy

Il Canneto

Gallipoli / piazza Canneto see p.10 zone 1


Porto Cesareo piazza Nazario Sauro, 11 +39 0833 569025 see p. 11 zone 1

Ndillo... con dolcezza

Gallipoli / via di San Sebastiano, 13 (historic centre) see p. 11 zone 1


Santa Maria al Bagno piazza Nardò, 25 / +39 0833 573025 see p. 12 zone 2

Cornetteria... di notte

Lecce / via Vittorio Alfieri, 12 +39 0832 346435 see p. 12

Lecce / via Matteotti, 42

Le Delizie del Forno

Lecce / via dell’Abate, 41 see p. 13 zone 4

Caffè delle Terme

Santa Cesarea Terme viale Terme, 1 / +39 0836 949781 see p. 14 zone 5

Ice Bar

Marina di Patù (San Gregorio) by the parking area see p. 15 zone 5


Torre Suda (Racale) corso Vittoria seafront +39 389 9737401 see p. 16

18 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide


seaside resorts

20 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide

seaside resorts zone 1 /// Lido degli Angeli /// Lido dei Pirati /// Lu Chiapparu /// Mar Y Sol /// Orange Sun /// Parco di Porto Selvaggio /// Punta della Suina /// Torre Uluzzo /// Zen

22 22 22 23 23 23 24 24 24

zone 3 /// Baia dei Turchi /// Balnearea Beach /// Lido San Basilio - Mamanera /// Porto Badisco /// Spiaggia dei Laghi Alimini /// Torre Sant’Andrea

25 25 25 26 26 26


zone 4 /// AcquaViva /// Lido Caicco /// Porto Miggiano

27 27 27

zone 5 /// Felloniche /// FunnuVoiere /// Insenatura di San Gregorio /// Kaibo /// Lavaturu /// Pescoluse /// Ponte Ciolo /// Santa Maria di Leuca

28 28 28 29 29 29 30 30

surf spots


22 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide

zone 1

Lido degli Angeli

Torre Lapillo (Porto Cesareo) / Porto Cesareo coast road /// Popping into a place like this should be compulsory for the name itself: Li-do de-gli An-geli. It’s musical, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the first people who arrived here in the 70s started to build abusive houses. Porto Cesareo became the queen of building illegality in Italy. Just a few years ago, even the sea was classified as suitable for development, because of such vested interests. Just leave the architectural ugliness behind you. Beyond the dunes you will find a wonderful beach: fine sand and limpid sea, above all when the Northern wind blows. While when Sirocco, the Southern wind, blows, waves tend to be threatening. In addition, water is quite deep just a few metres from the waterline. So if you are “tall” like the average Italian and you cannot swim, you better stay on the beach. zone 1

Lido dei Pirati

Porto Cesareo / via dei Bacini / +39 333 3599548 /// Ok, ok, this is not the most renowned beach of Porto Cesareo. But come on, there is no comparison. An expanse of the Ionian sea which is always crystal clear. A row of super cheap beach umbrellas and sun beds. A wood and cane structure repairing some tables from the sun. A stall offering everything you request. Yes indeed, by asking the right way, Fernando will personally cook a steaming impepata di cozze (mussels with pepper) or golden squid rings. At cost price. And don’t dare leaving anything on the plate, or he will be offended. zone 1

Lu Chiapparu

Santa Caterina (Nardò) / via Cesare Cantù /// The name of this place means “caper”, as this precious culinary decoration grows wild here. A part from it, “lu Chiapparu” is mostly famous because you can dive from 4 metres. It is so fashionable that you might have to queue. Even though there are mainly rocks, a natural clearing allows you to comfortably lay down as if you were on the beach. The alternative is a more prickly and inaccessible rock. A row of pines shadows shade-lovers. Basically, you have it all.


zone 1

Mar Y Sol

Gallipoli / Lido Canne /// The coastal area of Lido Canne could seem just like any other place facing the Ionian sea: fully equipped resorts, beach umbrellas everywhere, stalls, loud music and overcrowded free beaches. But should you have to choose where to stop by, let us suggest you the Mar Y Sol. To begin with, you can pretend you are able to play beach volley in the shadow of the pine forest, and then just lay down on one of the above mentioned places. Bear in mind, though, that completely stretching your legs out can be quite difficult in the weekend. You will have fun, provided you don’t find the continuous parade of musclemen too bothering. zone 1

Orange Sun

Porto Cesareo / village of Lido Canne / via Torre Lapillo, 81 /// There are two possible reasons for choosing the Orange Sun. Either you have an unbridled passion for this wonderful sea and for their famous yoghurt with fresh fruits. Or you are willing to take the risk (or pleasure) to run into football players, VIPs and above all trash TV ‘s musclemen (who just want to show off their new tattoos), religiously followed by their half-naked girlfriends who are never even half available. If you succeed in convincing the owners to switch the stereo down and stop listening to the latest summer hits, you could be so “lucky” as to watch a live singing performance by people who are definitely too cool for school. zone 1

Parco di Porto Selvaggio Nardò / village of Porto Selvaggio

/// They call it beach, but there’s nothing sandy here. The only vaguely similar thing is a small strip of piled rocks, which are not even comparable to the wonderful cliff nor to anything else around. After risking to roll down the slope of the natural park, you will find yourself contemplating one of the purest places of the peninsula. Even if the pine forest is overcrowded by people and lasagne, swimming in this crystal blue water is an unassailable pleasure. Once you are done with the exhausting reclimbing and reach your car (parked by the street despite the “no parking” sign), remember that cursing will do no good to cancel your fine. Watch out: there is a free parking and a paying car park just round the corner. Be watchful, you are being watched!

24 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide

zone 1

Punta della Suina

Mancaversa / village of Pizzo / Gallipoli coast road /// Looking for a gay friendly beach? Here it is. Over the last few years, this shore has been characterized by open-mindedness and freedom from prejudice. A place where everybody can feel free to do what he or she wants. Let’s be clear, we are not in Woodstock, but in this area it is a luxury, above all because of the five-star location gifted by Mother nature. Caribbean style, sea included, and a truly amazing sunset. During the weekend, you can keep wearing your pareo until late night, accompanied by lounge and chill-out hits chosen by the DJs. The over crowdedness might be annoying but if you go beyond the small bar and leave the rocks on your left, you will find a onekilometre-long panhandle of sand. 100% natural. zone 1

Torre Uluzzo

Santa Caterina (Nardò) / S.P. 286 /// I reaffirm: ri-Badisco. In this case it is the Ionic city of Porto Badisco to be reaffirmed. The same caves and the same primitive Picassos. Nonetheless, while in Badisco the seascape is gentle and the horizon line is long, in Torre Uluzzo, close to the natural reserve of Porto Selvaggio, the extremely deep inlet will take your breath away. Like in Dante’s Inferno one must go down, yet everything but Lucifer is waiting at the bottom: the colours of a postcard sea and a group of German girls, who find the low neckline vulgar because it hides part of the breast. One of the wonders of Salento. zone 1


Gallipoli / Galilei seafront /// “Elegant” is the most common adjective to describe the Zen bathing establishment, part of the conveyer belt of cars and luxury of the Galilei seafront. Elegance might be a relative concept, but the absolute beauty of this beach and its thrilling horizon are not questionable. Add all comforts of modern fully equipped beaches, and your bathe will put the idea of paradise we were promised at catechism in concrete form. On the contrary, if you don’t give a toss about class and elegance, you ugly and dirty freaks, go to Frassanito!


zone 3

Baia dei Turchi

Otranto / village of Alimini / S.P. 366 /// In the same place where hundreds of holiday-makers are now sun tanning, six centuries ago almost 18 thousand ill-disposed Turks disembarked. Conquering the city of Otranto and converting the population to Islam by force were their main objectives. As you can imagine, this plan did not go down well with the local population and during one of the bloodiest battles in history, 800 people died as a protest. In addition to the historical interest, the shore can count on significant naturalistic value. That’s why over the last few years another heated battle has been fought, luckily without weapons nor casualties. The battle between ecologists and some pitiless entrepreneurs, who had been stopped from building new bathing establishments. The beach is still free, Italy’s honour was upheld. zone 3

Balnearea Beach

Otranto / village of Alimini / +39 0836 801077 / /// Rather than a beach, this is an overcrowded anthill. Did you want to relax? Wrong place. Every moment is perfect for going wild, no break allowed. By day, have a dance on your sun bed and let pure fun enthral you with the entertaining vocalists and the happy hour. At nightfall, keep on dancing under the gazebo or under the stars at fashionable parties. Drinking an aperitivo on the wooden terrace by the sea? Definitely cool. Last but not least, spoil yourself with fresh fish and champagne. zone 3

Lido San Basilio - Mamanera San Foca (Melendugno) / S.S. 611 Km 12300

/// A few kilometres away from the unbearable chaos of San Foca, there is a beach characterized by the colours of the crystalline sea, but above all by a marked difference between a very quiet day and a very lively night. Indeed, in the evenings of August this place suddenly turns into a meeting point for lovers of Salento’s famous dancehalls. Let me introduce you to the Mamanera. Internationally renowned reggae deejays were and will be the undisputed protagonists of your hot summer nights.

26 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide

zone 3

Porto Badisco

Porto Badisco (Otranto) /// Legend, history, nature. There is no better place than Porto Badisco for a touristic brochure of the Salento region. Legend: in his journey as an exile towards Lazio, our great-great-uncle Virgil’s Aeneas disembarked here. History: the Neolithic cave art of the Grotta dei Cervi (Cave of the Deers) is so unique and popular that the stylized man became a sticker every car in Lecce must have. Last but not least, nature: basins of sand and rocks from La Fraula onward. Dive into this blue. zone 3

Spiaggia dei Laghi Alimini Otranto

/// This beach was named after the two back lakes (Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo), where bathing is unadvisable, unless you are the protagonist of the TV series Jackass. Six kilometres of extremely fine sand crossed by a long chain of high dunes which separates the beach from the pine forest, the perfect place to have a roll in the… pine needles. One of the main characteristics of this beach is the shin-level sea bed. If you don’t fancy beach umbrellas, or rather too many beach umbrellas, the situation is less commercial at the two farthest ends. It is forbidden to get there by car, but if you are willing to experience a moment of city thrill, take the nice overcrowded shuttle from the parking area. Otherwise, put your beach towel on your shoulders and you’ll be there in ten minutes. zone 3

Torre Sant’Andrea

Torre Sant’Andrea (Melendugno) /// Imagine a rock which is so friable that fishermen can till it and modify the coast, by creating inlets and shelters for their boats and for themselves. Something like this would be illegal nowadays. But such ingenuous and spontaneous past unlawfulness made a contribution to create one of the most characteristic places of the province. Renowned for stacks rising on the crystal clear water and awarded with the Blue Flag, Torre Sant’Andrea maintained the familiar atmosphere of an old fishers’ village. There is also a beach set in a small bay, but nothing compared to the rocks.


zone 4


Marina di Marittima (Diso) / S.P. 358 /// The entrance, hidden by trees, suddenly appears on the coastal street connecting Adriano to Castro. Big terraces will guide you to the parking area first, and then to the sea. AcquaViva is a wonderful place: a small harbour protected by gentle rocky slopes, like fiords, with a sandy sea bed exalting the crystal blue of the sea. Probably one of the Realists’ most portrayed villages. The name AcquaViva originates from the presence of numerous sweet and gelid water springs cleaning the sea and the thoughts. Bathes on a full stomach and when the Southern wind blows are to be avoided. zone 4

Lido Caicco

Santa Cesarea Terme / via Roma, 18 / +39 0836.944215 /// Do you suffer from dizzy spells? Then this is not the right place for you. Such a sheer drop from the cliff to the sea will make your head spin. The Caicco is right here in the village of Santa Cesarea, where the Adriatic sea starts passing the baton on to the Ionian. This shore was built along many terraces set in the cliff, with a bustle of steps and a stack creating a natural swimming pool. In the past, it was one of the most exclusive clubs of the Southern coast, nowadays it is a very fashionable place for sun tanning or just lazily having a cocktail. zone 4

Porto Miggiano

Santa Cesarea Terme / Otranto coast road /// Sometimes ugly buildings hide idyllic landscapes. In this case, the abandoned building site before the sea is definitely an ugliness. Just pass it by with your eyes closed, and an inlet set among the rocks and sprinkled with unaccountable colours will magically appear in front of you. The beach is not indicated: take the road from Santa Cesarea Terme to Castro, you will find a new holiday village on your right, and the tower of Porto Miggiano on your left. There you go. It is often overcrowded, but there is always plenty of place on the rocks. Because of some undisciplined boats mooring too close to the seashore, the Southern wind may bring some engines’ oil. Cursed be they!

28 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide

zone 5


Marina di Patù (Castrignano del Capo) / S.P. 214 /// If you have been disappointed by San Gregorio, turn to Leuca for a stop at Felloniche: a wonderful bay, where a rocky inlet protects a strip of free beach and crystalline sea. Avoid the second week of August, as the blue of the sea presents greenish traces of touristic boats. On the way back, stop by in Patù for a cultural visit. The municipality hosts the ruins of the ancient Messapian city of Vereto, and the “Centopietre”: a megalithic monument and the perfect holiday picture. zone 5


Corsano / S.P. 358 km 38 /// People of Salento use to say that the beach is only for them tourists. Only the rock can emphasize the elegance of the natives, laying in the sun like lizards. The thing is, no Gps will indicate where to turn from the coastal street between La Serra and Novaglie. No 4X4 will save you from the trapping tideway of the parking area along the street. No ambulance will come if you fall and smash against the rocks. But if you pass the tests, the reward is a truly breathtaking spectacle. You, the sea, and nothing else. zone 5

Insenatura di San Gregorio Marina di San Gregorio (Patù)

/// In the past, this inlet was a port of call for fishermen’s boats. Surrounded by rocks, it is impossible to just lay down like a steak cooking in the sun. The sea is so beautiful and clean that you cannot but diving. A residential villa scotfree replaced a 16th century tower. But you will be able to reach the top by going up the steps. Enjoy the marvellous view under the survived figs trees... provided they were not replaced by plastic palms in the meantime.


zone 5


Torre Vado (Salve) / Torre Vado coast road /// Many people come to Salento to visit the “Maldive”, a bathing establishment resembling the Indian archipelago only for its name and marketing. Just a little further, you will find the less known Kaibo. Here, the idyllic inspiration is much clearer. Big parking area, fully supplied and capacious bars and a nice meadow accompanying you to the beach. By day families browse attracted by services and games for their children. By night, chicks, bottles of Rum and typical party songs. zone 5


Marina Serra (Tricase) /// One of my happiest memories of college is the religious education at the first hour’s lesson. Father Eugenio used to arrive half an hour late, the bicycle on his shoulder and inexplicable wet hair. Once, while playing truant, we found his secret. The inconsistent priest woke up early to go and catch sea chestnuts. His hunting ground was the “Lavaturu” (the small bowl): a large inlet in Marina Serra where love and sea chestnuts proliferate safe from prying eyes. Steep rocks and submarine caves provide another touch of adventure. zone 5


Torre Pali (Salve) /// Up to a short time ago, Pescoluse was commercially and naturalistically one of the most uncontaminated areas. Along 6 kilometres of coast the only beach umbrellas you could see were those hoisted by families with children and grandparents, while parking metres were still considered a touristic gadget. But then its pale blue water, the row of flowered dunes, the extremely fine consistency and golden colour of the sand eased the comparison with the Maldive bathing establishment. Cunning fellows took undue advantage from it, they bought up permits and built relatively invasive shores. Don’t let the sign ”spiaggia libera attrezzata” (free equipped beach) deceive you. You can spread your towel on the sand and bathe wherever you want to, but at least hold your breath under the water because everything else must be paid through the nose.

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zone 5

Ponte Ciolo

Gagliano del Capo / Adriatica coast road /// Throwing yourself from a thirty-metre-high flyover in front of a curious crowd crowning new idols every day is an eager occasion if you are egocentric and brave. At the same time, it is the only extreme sport you can play for free and above all while enjoying a breathtaking view. The Ciolo is a sort of canyon with a series of small stairs caved in the rock. By swimming across the cliff’s cave, you will be able to reach the heart of the overlooking mountain. It is compulsory to take pictures. zone 5

Santa Maria di Leuca Castrignano del Capo

/// The tip of Leuca divides the two seas. On the other hand, the sea unites geographically divided Countries. Legend says that Ulysses called here, as he mistook the tip of Italy’s heel with his beloved Ithaca because of all those Proci. As a matter of fact, many moneybags get ashore here, fascinated by micro beaches and fashionable bars. In order to enjoy Petrarca’s “clear, fresh and sweet water” we suggest you to take a boat tour of the caves. From the Cave of the Devil to the “three doors”... any port (or cave) in a storm, either you are sailors, soldiers or wanderers.

32 /// seaside resorts /// salento summer guide

surf spots /// source: zone 3

zone 1

zone 2


A-Frame (Right and Left)




On rock

On rock



Beach and rock

Beach and rock


  




  

NorthWest West SouthEast

SouthWest SouthEast

NorthWest North NorthEast East SouthEast

   

Follow the road markings towards Frassanito camping site.

The spot is next to the restaurant “Lo Scoglio”, opposite the tower of the village.

The spot is right on the seafront.



Porto Cesareo Lo Scoglio

San Cataldo


zone 5

zone 5

Torre San Giovanni Astor Beach

Torre Lapillo Stella Maris

A-Frame (Right and Left)

Right and Left (Variable)

Right and Left (Variable)



Beach break







NorthWest West SouthWest

NorthWest West SouthWest South SouthEast

SouthWest South SouthEast

It is the first beach of Torre San Giovanni, opposite the harbour which faces South. Take the street towards beach and turn to the first road.

S.S. Lecce-S.M. di Leuca, junction Alliste-Felline, follow indications towards Torre San Giovanni. Reference point: the Astor Hotel.

From Porto Cesareo take the coast road towards Torre Lapillo. The spot is located just after the resort ‘Bacino Grande’. Pass it and turn left by the sign ‘Stella Maris’.

Torre San Giovanni Onda Marina resort

zone 1

34 /// lunch & dinner /// salento summer guide


lunch & dinner

36 /// lunch & dinner /// salento summer guide

lunch & dinner take away


zone 1 /// Gusto e Sapori /// Panineria Ferruccio /// Pizzamania /// Punto Snack /// Rosticceria Moscara /// Sor’Alba

zone 1 38 38 38 39 39 39

/// Le Tre Sorelle /// Pizzeria Minerba /// Pizzeria Napoli da Ciro /// Ristorante Franco /// Robiria /// Terra di Bacco


/// Il Maestro

40 40

/// Il Vagabondo /// La Papperia da Davide /// Vesuvio 3

zone 2 /// La Puccia Paccia

zone 2

zone 3 /// Delizie Salentine /// Mercato Comunale


zone 3

zone 5 /// Minimarket /// Paninaro Fanciullo

41 42 42 42 43 43

41 41

44 44 44

zone 5 /// L’Isola del Gabbiano /// Lohengrin

45 45


restaurants zone 1 /// Agriturismo “La Lucia” /// Araknos /// Capitan Nemo /// I Vitelloni /// La Maruzzella /// Lu Cannizzu /// Mare Fritto /// Ostello /// Scapricciatiello /// Trattoria da Adriana

zone 3 45 46 46 46 47 47 47 48 48 48

zone 2 /// Baccanera /// Elliniko /// La Remesa /// L’Osteria della Divina Provvidenza /// Pescheria Friggitoria F.lli Lubelli /// Trattoria Nonno Pici /// Zio Angiulinu

49 49 49 50 50 50 51

/// Fanny /// Il Contadino /// La Casereccia (da Zonzi) /// La Puteca /// Lo Zenzero /// Lu Puzzu

51 51 52 52 52 83

zone 4 /// Da Amedeo /// Puteca de Mieru

53 53

for celiac people


small culinary dictionary


38 /// lunch & dinner /// take away /// salento summer guide

take away zone 1

Gusto e Sapori

Nardò / piazza delle Erbe, 2 /// Irresistible Lady Maria Antonietta knows how to ensnare senses of people passing by. You can’t cross piazza delle Erbe without stopping at Gusto e Sapori. Born as a take away delicatessen, if you really can’t resist hunger you can eat on the spot the ancient flavours of Salento’s tradition. Pitte, sauseges pignate and various bites have the real smell of natural food. Thanks to the wood oven cooking but especially thanks to Maria Antonietta’s skills, from now on you won’t eat anything else. zone 1

Panineria Ferruccio Gallipoli / Galilei seafront

/// Man does not live by bread alone, but going by Ferruccio’s business you could surely state the opposite. Every night his paninoteca boasts hundreds of ravenous visitors who are happy to indulge themselves and choose from a wide range of tasty combinations. You’ll hear long-standing customers complain about annual price rises, even though they do it with their mouth full and mayo dripping on their jacket. Through an assembly line your order takes shape in stop motion and will end in your hands that have never looked so small. zone 1


Galatina / piazza Dante Alighieri, 65 /// Skiving off school surely is one of the most important experiences of youth. In every town worthy of the name, the public park, “la villa” in Salentino, is the headquarter of those who don’t answer at the roll-call. This cutting edge sandwich bar/rotisserie (hot dogs where not widespread here until the 90s), thanks to its position in front of the neatest flowerbeds in town, satisfies truants without snacks during the day and their unaware parents at night. Business is business!


zone 1

Punto Snack

Porto Cesareo / via Garibaldi, 70 /// At 6.30 pm when the sun goes down and the sea starts increasing your appetite, before even getting under the shop sign, the smell of savoury crepes, arancini, lasagnas and various pizzas blows you away. Some families already are at the tables and young boys drink beers sitting on the bar stools at the counter. The only thing left to do is to waityour turn in line while looking at the new fishes that populate the aquarium this year. zone 1

Rosticceria Moscara

Galatina / via Roma, 140 / +39 0836 565093 /// It’s hard to explain to Nothern Italian tourists what a typical rotisserie from Salento is like. Then, if they ask you with all their Northern-Italian bumptiousness where roast chicken and lasagnas are, try to act timely and shut their mouth with a good rustico. They will stop immediately. It’s well known that the rustico is our specialty. Among the best, there are those of Rosticceria Moscara (ask for Pico Pasi), in Galatina. A friend of mine from Australia who passed from here a few years ago found herself jumping like a kangaroo from a pasticciotto to a rustico for three days. zone 1

Sor’Alba - La Casa der Tramezzino Galatina / via Lombardia, 4

/// (Speaking in Italian with a strong accent from Rome) This son of a bitch! He makes a lot of money with sandwiches, burelle and more! Did anybody ever tell him that he comes here and steals our job? Right in our land, where the best rustici of the province are made (end of accent). The truth is that Simone, that strapping man you will find in La Casa der Tramezzino, even though he was raised in Galatina (his father started the business in the 80s), never stopped feeling Roman, even though he is perfectly integrated in town. His sandwich bar makes him proud just like that of a Maghrebin in one of the many not very welcoming European cities.

40 /// lunch & dinner /// take away /// salento summer guide

zone 2

La Puccia Paccia Lecce / viale Japigia, 7

/// Not only puccia (typical bread from Apulia). After wandering around to find a parking spot, the first impression is to be amongst drunk people: some crazy and hyperactive waiters, others who are light-headed and even some who forget to take the bill, even the customers become a little “pacci” (crazy). Unfortunately the interior is a bit small, but pizza is excellent and regular customers are nice and “typical”. Certainly more suitable for people who like rustic and genuine places that are not outdated like the historic “La Puccia”, don’t get confused. zone 3

Delizie Salentine

Otranto / via Antonio Primaldo, 7 /// Coffee with blown ice is one of the many variations of simple espresso that makes all people of Salento proud. Everybody knows the procedure, except the nice lady that runs this place. She managed to invent a hot sub-variation of the acclaimed speciality, bowel movements assured. Besides this, however, everything else is great. From first courses to long fried calzoni and fat croissants chock-full of home-made cream. If you go for lunch, you’d better stop after dessert. And since prices are tempting too, until 2 am you can eat and drink with no stomachache. zone 3

Mercato Comunale Otranto / piazzetta Idro

/// White walls pre-industrial architecture and hidden rubbish. Covered markets have a charm that resists time. The same goes for their prices, almost immune to inflation and the surrounding context. Take away food and specialities from Salento, filled sandwiches, focaccia, fruits and vegetables and marble tables at the heart of it , where you can enjoy your lunch while still covered in sand and with a few odd coins. And the smiles of dealers will satisfy you once and for all.


zone 5


Torre Vado (Salve) / corso Venezia, 17 /// 2 pm. Forty degrees in the shadow, sand everywhere, salty sweat, dim sight. I don’t have notes, only a few coins. From a distance I can spot something floating in the sultry air: “Mi-ni-ma-r-ket”, “FIL-LED rolls”. The heat suddently increases. But once I am close, I notice a fridge full of beer and cold drinks inside and a price list made in the image of and to the likeness of my coins. “A sandwich with provola piccante and mortadella and a beer, please”. Hallucinations are not filling. I am safe. zone 5

Paninaro Fanciullo Fast food

Wherever there is sea and fried smell Leuca seafront, Lido Marini, Otranto and Gallipoli /// Fanciullo (child) only by name, because he has never been a child. He was born right there between the grill and the sandwiches and for forty years he has fried his face. When I was a child, I used to follow his trucks to steal an I and an L from the side (Fanculo, means fuck-off in Italian). However much filthy, his most in demand sandwich is filled with sausage, ketchup and sacrifice. Sacrifice is what he wipes out from his forehead with the same hand that gives you the sandwich. Sniffing is believing.

pizzerias zone 1

Le Tre Sorelle

Gallipoli / via Antonietta De Pace, 40 / +39 0833 262693 /    /// Gallipoli is in synch with Naples. Proof of that are the recent hordes of tourists from Campania who invade the pearl of the Ionian sea and the common and let’s say “neomelodic” beauty of the two cities. The embassy of Neapolitan taste in Gallipoli is the restaurant/pizzeria Le Tre Sorelle (the three sisters) that is completely Neapolitan, from the menu to service, from staff to minstrels who liven up nights with their guitars. Pizza here has a good reputation and it is said to be a real Neapolitan pizza, which is already the highest praise.

42 /// lunch & dinner /// pizzerie /// salento summer guide

zone 1

Pizzeria Minerba Aradeo / via Pablo Neruda

/// Some say that towards the end of the 70s a giant octopus run aground on a beach in Gallipoli. At the same time, in Aradeo, the award-winning Pizzeria Minerba was born, where besides pizza, seafood salad goes over big. Now, I don’t want to play with coincidence too much, but ever since I remember (I was born in 1980) the taste of the seafood salad has always been the same. Like the furniture, anyway. And to tell the truth, also prices are pretty much the same. I won’t add anything else, I believe I already gave you three good reasons to drop in. zone 1

Pizzeria Napoli Da Ciro

Nardò / via XXV Luglio, 22 / +39 0833 571140 /// Amongst Neapolitans, Ciro is probably the most common name. But the one I know has nothing ordinary. First of all because he is one of the few people from Southern Italy who migrated towards the South; secondly, because of his pizza-making abilities. Well, I’ve never been to Naples and I never had the pleasure to eat their fantastic pizza there. What I can certainly assure you, however, is that Ciro makes the most Neapolitan pizza I have ever tried. And I mean “one of the best pizzas” in this area. Trust me. zone 1

Ristorante Franco

Galatone / via del Mare, 2 / +39 0833 865086 /// Ask anyone from Galatina which is the best pizza in the world and he’ll answer “Franco’s”. Picturing it in their mind is enough and two minutes later they will be right there, like every night, despite good resolutions, impatiently waiting for their turn. Waiting during weekends can last more than one hour for take away, a little less at the table. But Franco refuses to listen to reason, he doesn’t need an assistant. He is stubborn and it’s said that he didn’t disclose his culinary secret to nobodym not even to his son who, by the way, works there as a waiter. How can we not wish Franco to live many more years!


zone 1


Galatone / via XX Settembre, 162 /// The award “Best Price Pizzeria” goes to Robiria. Far from chaotic seaside towns, in a not-too-kitsch atmosphere, this museum of reasonable receipts is perfect for end-of-holiday nights when your debit card is as thin as a processed cheese slice. My advice is to gorge on the excellent starters and, if you are almost satisfied, share a pizza, they are giant anyway. Don’t forget ice-cream. If you have been nice it’s possible you’ll be offered a limoncello. Molto bello! zone 1

Terra di Bacco

Galatina / via Pistoia, 26 +39 0836 528120 - +39 347 1786043 / c   /// It’s not always time to go wild. Some nights one prefers to dine in a relaxed, cosy and quiet atmosphere. If this is the case, Terra di Bacco is the pizzeria you’re looking for not only for the quality of its pizzas (a softer and more digestible dough is hard to find) but also for the place itself, a perfect mix of rustic and modern, half way through a traditional pizzeria with a wood fired oven and a pub. Excellent and wide range of wines to choose from, the name speaks volumes about it. zone 2

Il Maestro

Lecce / via Pietro Palumbo, 5 / +39 0832 242562 /// For almost sixty years Benito, our “Maestro” (master), has been rolling out and baking pizzas. And if they call him like that, there must certainly be a reason. He is there, bent over his creations, sure like a motorist that drives through the same road every day. The secret does not only lays in the ingredients but in those smooth hands as well. Try caprese, packed with mozzarella, but also a simple pizza margherita won’t disappoint you.

44 /// lunch & dinner /// pizzerie /// salento summer guide

zone 3

Il Vagabondo

San Foca (Melendugno) / via Garibaldi, 4 / +39 327 6641853 /// A hideout for the starving. This is what many people think about pizzeria Il Vagabondo. San Foca, usually filled up with teenagers and families, thanks to this low prices pizzeria with huge servings is the ideal place for young tourists and locals, ready to eat a lot and spend a little. The biggest pizza of the whole Adriatic coast in Salento is made here and the honesty of waiters advising you to wait until you see its size before ordering anything else is remarkable zone 3

La Papperia da Davide

Corigliano d’Otranto / via Garibaldi, 14 / +39 0836 1955154 /// Run by Davide, a Neapolitan who settled in Salento, La Papperia is recommended for its delicious pizzas and the simple and welcoming atmosphere. Obviously, it is not only a pizzeria but also a restaurant and, for lovers of Salento’s specialities, it boasts a good typical cooking. Excellent choice of wines. Some nights of the week, moreover, the cosy atmosphere becomes happier with karaoke and it is entertaining to taste a pizza napoletana while listening in the background to a young lady from Salento worbling old Italian songs out of tune. zone 3

Vesuvio 3

Torre dell’Orso (Melendugno) / Villaggio Torre Saracena +39 0832 841149 /// In Torre Saracena you can find the most famous pizzeria by the metre in Salento. It’s huge and lively thanks to its 20? 30? waiters who speed among tables as if they had roller-feet; the pizzeria Vesuvio is so lucky because of the excellent promotion it carried out over the years. Open during winter as well, it is a popular place for everybody, despite hours of wait you might have to face. However, they’re not all fools, so this means it’s worth it.


zone 5

L’Isola del Gabbiano

Marina di San Gregorio (Patù) / via Kennedy, 2 / +39 0833 767843 /// It’s an unpretentious place, but at least you can eat a good pizza avoiding the escape of your pockets from your trousers. It’s very informal and you can easily go there with flip-flops and beach pants. While you wait with a grumbling stomach, we recommend to try a couple of frittini (fried specialities), that won’t do harm. An abyss will open, ready to welcome your margherita in one bite. zone 5


Tricase / via Varisco, 15 / +39 0833 772163 /// Once in Tricase, young Lello was asked: “Neapolitan? Migrant?”. With the cheekyness of a surfer in the mountains he spoke up: (strong Neapolitan accent) “Why? Can’t someone from Naples be a tourist?”. To confirm this theory he starts a business after the other. Since then, he doesn’t seem to have clear ideas: in his place Irish beer is served with Neapolitan pizza. His Irish pub is called Lohengrin but everybody calls it Bavaria. Excellent meat selection and homemade beers.

restaurants zone 1

Agriturismo “La Lucia”

Nardò / Villaggio Resta S.P. 112 Nardò-Avetrana / +39 338 7309940 /// The short dirt road you have to follow to get to the masseria La Lucia will be paid off by a momentous blowout, what’s more even quite cheap. In a rustic and plain environment in the heart of the red land of Salento you can try how resistant your trousers are, stuffing yourself with typical dishes straight from the cattleshed and fields of the masseria: barbecues, wild chicories, purpette (meatballs), homemade pasta with spicy ricotta cheese ‘scante, munaceddhre (snails) and obviously lots of wine.

46 /// lunch & dinner /// restaurants /// salento summer guide

zone 1


Aradeo / via Bosco, 74 / +39 0836 552 965 /    /// In the past populated by pizzica musicians like, for example, Pino Zimba immortalized by Edoardo Winspeare, director from Salento, through his role on the big screen; Araknos might seem all about tambourines and taranta, but it’s not like that. If during winter the place is more than welcoming, with rustic walls, a cosy and quiet environment embellished by typical spiderweb shaped decorations with fake tarantulas to please dark people, during summer it is possible to eat local dishes and drink wine on the confortable and wide terrace. There are plenty of events (poetry lectures, books presentations) and live music. zone 1

Capitan Nemo

Gallipoli / piazza della Repubblica /// In the heart of the old town there is a place where you can eat a lot of fish for an honest price. You only need to choose: a take away fish or a take-it-easy fish on informal plastic tables. A very young local couple, Salvatore and Daniela, prepares for you the best simple seafood dishes of Gallipoli: marinated anchovies, sefood salad and octopus salad, mussels and clams with pepper, swordfish, squid skewers, mackerel and so on. For those who are against barking and love the biting (but only fish!) zone 1

I Vitelloni

Galatina / via Santa Caterina Novella / +39 340 4756078 /// Quality salami lovers, for you who appreciate cheese with pears, there’s something here to seek your teeth into! I Vitelloni is one of the few places in Salento where you can find various kinds of cold meats, ham and cheese from Norcia (Protected Geographical Indication, of course). Some examples: the classic salami from Norcia, salame Corallina, prosciutto di Norcia – it seems that it outstrips prosciutto San Daniele – or coion de mulo (mule bollocks) – we don’t know how to make it and don’t want to learn it. Then there’s the range of caciotte norcine (cheese from Norcia). To taste with jams and preserves. But don’t tell the peasant!


zone 1

La Maruzzella

Lido Conchiglie (Sannicola) / seafront / +39 0833 208900 /// It is necessary to respect this kind of places that made the history of local catering. La Maruzzella explodes in abundance, nowadays also on its receipts, but just because here everything is oversized, starting from the staff. All what lives under water is worthy of being fried in hot oil, in a pan or roasted: marinated anchovies, octopus balls, tiny fish, seafood salad, sea urchins, cuttlefish, etc. Half on your plate, half in the chef’s mouth, so everybody’s happy. zone 1

Lu Cannizzu

Porto Cesareo / piazza Nazario Sauro, 11 / +39 0833 560335 /// It’s very unlikely that you resist smells that give off from the cane thicket surrounding the basic tables outside this restaurant. Crowd, crowd, crowd, it’s true. But Cosimino’s legendary and genuine cuisine is worth the line, trust us. Home cooking tradition since 1949, no small talk. Typical and natural dishes in the heart of Porto Cesareo small port. Your palate will be spoilt for choice: sea urchins linguine or mussels au gratin? Fish soup or grilled prawns? It’s pointless: you’ll order everything. zone 1

Mare Fritto

Porto Cesareo / via Torre Lapillo, 285 / +39 338 1483804 /// You’ll find it immediately: it’s right under the tower, straight on the rocks. Just to make things clear, we’re talking of a prefab with tables, tablecloths and plastic cutlery. Spartan, to say the least. But fish is unquestionably fresh, the menu is essential and highly respectable. You’ll have from risotto to fried fish, from mussels to octopus balls. And your fish will roast in tin foil. Everything washed down meticulously by white wine on tap. Prices are definitely honest.

48 /// lunch & dinner /// restaurants /// salento summer guide

zone 1


Seclì / largo Garibaldi / +39 333 4879850 /// Seclì is a small towns in ruins pointed out, for example, as “the only town where the centre is also the outskirts”. A town that does not have much to offer but that is standing out for an incredible passion: horse meat. Another rumor is that those who go to Seclì by horse always go back home walking. In the Ostello too, horse is the main dish. The problem is to get there: after an avalanche of dried tomatoes, fried peppers, fried meatballs, hot salami and God only knows what else. What is more, there’s no suburban atmosphere here, it’s quite the opposite. Ancient tastes in a nineteenth-century corner, right behind the castle’s walls. Go by car, out of prevention. zone 1


Lido Conchiglie (Sannicola) / seafront / +39 0833 208601 /// Not really a fashion boutique, Scapricciatello is however a mythical restaurant, carved in the collective imagination of the 80s of Maradona’s Napoli. Today, like in the past, there’s no room for etiquette or hypocritical good manners, so spoiled rich young men should throw away their designer suits or go for a walk. By now, the line of greedy customers in August is proverbial like traffic in Palermo, but there’s no plan to introduce reservations, that would be gross. This place earned its popularity with a huge quality (and quantity)-price ratio. As you well know, when you make a virtue of vice, a look at the wallet is not a bad idea. zone 1

Trattoria da Adriana

Tuglie / corso Cesare Vergine, 30 / +39 0833 1938575 /// This trattoria offers a good mix of Salento and Roman dishes. What really typifies it are its slightly promiscuous and sexy shows with guests such as Max that liven up this apparently common inn. There’s no lack of characters, starting from Lady Adriana, owner and chef. But the best wish is to go when the legendary Piero of Radio Egam is there commenting with his indecent jokes on scarcioppula (artichokes) and piticuscio. Excellent prices. As their facebook profile states (roman accent): “you drink, you eat to your taste and prices are the best”!


zone 2


Campi Salentina / largo Cuore di Maria, 9 / +39 329 0048311 /// One of the most inviting places of Campi Salentina and surrounding areas. It’s a mix of everything: wine shop, restaurant and pizzeria. But its asset is the care they put into making it special. Furniture, obsessively decorated with empty, broken or painted bottles; the staff, all nice chicks; the food and wine list. As a matter of fact, the menu offers the most refined Mediterranean courses, with a special focus on home made dishes and and quality products from Cisternino (Brindisi), the chef’s obsession. zone 2


Lecce / viale dell’Università, 87/B / +39 320 3176201 /// If you like strong flavours and honey desserts, Elliniko is made especially for you. Roast meat, like only the Greeks can prepare, iced Mithos and “bouzouki” music will liven up your nights. Maybe, after drinking some Ouzo, you’ll be able to speak Homer’s language while winking your eye at the charming owner: “To logaraismò, parà kalò” (“the bill, please”). zone 2

La Remesa

Cavallino / via Trieste, 17 / +39 0832 611994 /    /// An old shed turned into a highly regarded small restaurant where you can taste many specialities from Salento. So ciceri e trie (chickpeas and a special kind of pasta) for sure, sagne ‘ncannulate cu la ricotta scante (twisted lasagnas with salty dried ricotta cheese), maritati al pomodoro (special pasta in tomato sauce) and so on. Meat in every form, fried and non fried fish and starters able to make your organs explode. Everything is natural and carefully prepared. Shed? No way! There’s also a garden, citrus trees with a colonnade from Lecce, a wonder for summer dinners, a rest from the “dog days” that will help your digestion. Happy prices.

50 /// lunch & dinner /// restaurants /// salento summer guide

zone 2

L’Osteria della Divina Provvidenza

Lecce / via Rubichi, 4/C / +39 0832 1792078 /    /// Welcoming, informal and experimental are the right words to define this small restaurant that has a dish called barocco. Its name, on the contrary, comes from the old challenges that chefs had to face, when “religiously” baptizing every course, with a dedication to some priest or saint. In short, people who grew up to the music of blasphemies. A place that, for its history, would have risked excommunication, had it not been for its divine courses. zone 2

Pescheria Friggitoria Fratelli Lubelli Frigole / piazza Frigole, 7 / +39 368 984399

/// It’s clear that if I talk about plastic plates, the simplest associated idea is low prices. Hence, I avoid the riddle and tell you that it’s just the way you imagined it. Mixed fried seafood, seafood salad, octopus alla pignata, octopus balls and many more delicacies are served in what might seem a common house garden, with plastic tables and chairs, and disposable tablecloths. The great piece of news of 2009 were french fries. In short: do not expect exotic dishes. And perhaps it’s better to make a reservation, it’s only open from 8pm to midnight. zone 2

Trattoria Nonno Pici

Acaya (Vernole) / via del Fossato, 4 / +39 0832 861007 /// In Acaya there’s a small walled town where everything seems to have remained undamaged for centuries. This is also true about home made cooking with its unmistakable smells and tastes in this small and family run eating house. Do not miss ‘nsurti (pittule, small meatballs and croquettes prepared and fried on the spot), small bits of pignatu (horse meat in tomato sauce cooked in a pot) and muersi (stewed vegetables and legumes served with fried bread crostini). The house wine is thick and mellow.


zone 2

Zio Angiulinu

Lecce / via Principe di Savoia, 24 / +39 0832 245146 /    /// It’s like eating at granma’s house, in front of St. Pio’s prints while the radio news bulletin is on. You sit, you don’t know what you’ll put in your mouth, but you know that it certainly is good and genuine as well as big and homemade. Typical courses of Salento’s tradition: ciceri and tria (chickpeas and special pasta), meatballs and homemade pasta with tomato sauce, potatoe croquettes, parmigiana (slices of fried aubergines seasoned with tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese baked in the oven) and horse chops. If you are satisfied even when you look at the bill, it won’t be just because you drunk four more glasses of good house wine. zone 3


Corigliano d’Otranto / Contrada Palazzo S.P. towards Corigliano d’Otranto / +39 0836 543710 - +39 339 3079795 /// It’s hard to find a place that combines three different typologies at once. The first is that of classical family restaurant where you can eat pizzas and excellent local specialities, with satellite channels inside and outside, in a lush garden with beautiful plants, magnificent trees and luxurious fountains. The second type concerns children, since there is a playground appreciated by those little pests. Finally, the third is the privilege of young people who can go wild to the rythm of techno while holding a beer in the dedicated dancefloor. ‘Fanny’ deserves a try wether you are snotty kids in kidergarden, young disco freaks or married people who don’t regret it. zone 3

Il Contadino

Otranto / via Frassanito, 20 +39 0836 803065 - +39 0836 803214 /    /// Typical courses served in this agriturismo, a stone’s throw from the more hectic city of Otranto, are good, good and good again! Everything is prepared with home grown products. Among all tasty dishes, home made pasta is really delicious. The wine cellar suits all tastes and budgets. Quick, careful and almost friendly service. Avoid weekends and enjoy this place making a reservation during week days.

52 /// lunch & dinner /// restaurants /// salento summer guide

zone 3

La Casereccia (da Zonzi)

Soleto / via Umberto I, 36 / +39 0836 663477 /    /// They say that the sense of smell is what best recalls memories, so be ready to think about your night at Zonzi for weeks. Once you get in, the smell of fried food “jumps” on you and will never leave until you wash your clothes. But there’s also food, a lot of food, and panzerotti as long as sausages (the speciality) and sausages as big as panzerotti. Finally, the bill is as low as Lehman Brothers quotations right before the collapse of the US stock market. And maybe they even pocketed some money. zone 3

La Puteca

Corigliano d’Otranto / via Dante Alighieri / +39 0836 329955 /// There’s no denying it: those Greeks are really good at everything. They are not content with having one of the most important medieval fortress in Salento, nor happy about celebrating a funeral in Greek, not even satisfied with belonging to one of the DOC areas (Controlled Denomination of Origin) in Salento. They must overdo. They can also cook, eat and digest everything between a church and a castle. Where? At Puteca (store) that Urka! strongly recommends for three reasons: home made sea urchin chitarre (literally “guitars”, a kind of spaghetti) – and we could stop here – for music lovers and Genoese-style snails – nothing to do with escargot. Fair prices and buon appetito to you all. zone 3

Lo Zenzero

Otranto / village of Frassanito / +39 0836 411604 /// What strikes you most when you set foot in this restaurant is human variety: ladies in evening dresses, hippies and a few gutter punks, Zenzero appears to be a nice and young place. Even though some prices are only listed by the weight on the menu, have no fears: you won’t be dumbfounded when they bring you the bill. And if the brilliant owner Tiziano likes you, he won’t forget to offer you a good liquorice liqueur after dinner.


zone 3

Lu Puzzu

Sternatia / via Piave, 39 / +39 0836 666677 /    /// In the heart of Salento’s Greece there’s a meeting point for those “bitten by taranta” who prepare themselves for musical and alcoholic perfomances of the biggest night in Melpignano. On Tuesdays you can bring with you tambourines and accordion and improvise between one course and the other a stornello of pizzica (short popular Italian lyric, usually improvised) equal to local stars such as Uccio Aloisi, Cavallo, lu Biagiu and Cumpare Enzu. Instead, attractive young ladies can be invited to dance by elderly and often tipsy local gentlemen. But never forget to leave empty their glass of mieru. zone 4

Da Amedeo

Castro / via Sant'Antonio, 46 / +39 0836 947040 /// You are in Castro, close to the castle that overlooks one of the most beautiful bays of Salento. Lady Maria, guardian of her father’s Amedeo precious cooking secrets, welcomes you in her orange grove to recommend the dish of the day. Her cooking wisely combines sea and land and ranges from rockfish tubettini (tiny pasta tubes) to spaghetti with mussels, clams, cherry tomatoes and a pinch of chilli, to finish with her chocolate “delirium”. For those who are not satisfied by usual tastes. zone 4

Puteca de Mieru

Minervino / via Vittorio Emanuele, 47 / +39 0836 889023 /// Puteca de Mieru is a lovely typical Salento’s place (Lecce’s stone walls, wooden benches, cosy atmosphere, fittings that recall oil mill tools). Since it’s not very big it’s upon reservation. You will be welcomed by a single person who actually represents three: owner, waiter and, last but not least, chef. At La Puteca you can often find musicians and dancers ready to go wild to the rythm of pizzica. Thanks to wine and small spaces, you’ll end up in a crazy row.

54 /// lunch & dinner /// salento summer guide

for celiac people /// pizzerias zone 1

Il Covo della Taranta

Galatina corso Garibaldi, 13 +39 329 9842820    zone 3

Pizza Flash

Maglie / via Palma, 33

+39 347 7020612    zone 3

Pizza del Sol Calimera via Roma, 77

+39 320 0527895    zone 5

Antico Borgo

Presicce piazza del Popolo, 32 +39 0833 722124    zone 5

Il Carpaccio

Gagliano del Capo piazza Falcone e Borsellino +39 0833 547174   

zone 5

zone 2


Fiori di Zucca

+39 0833 931872   

+39 0832 230313   

Torre San Giovanni corso Annibale, 68

Lecce via Forlanini, 26

zone 5

zone 3

Taviano via Castelforte, 118

Cursi / via E. Montale

Pizzeria S. Lucia Rist. 2002 +39 0833 911388   

restaurants zone 1


Parabita / via Isonzo, 2 +39 0833 1828283    zone 1

La Campina de Don Paulu Galatina via Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa

+39 380 5065970    zone 1

Lo Sturno

Parabita piazza Umberto I

+39 0833 593477   

Locanda Riccomaggio

+39 0836 332800    zone 3


Castro Marina via Panoramica, 100 +39 0836 943007 zone 4


Supersano via Vittorio Veneto, 27 +39 0833 631687      zone 3


Palmariggi via Roma, 45

+39 0836 354497   


small culinary dictionary ///   


     

      

Pastry with sponge dough and custard, glazed with white melt sugar.

It is everything but a banal iced coffee. Try it with almond milk.

  

Pasta with chickpeas and pieces of fried bran dough.

 

Snails characterized by white gastropod shells, usually roasted or fried with bay leaves.


A sort of biscuit with toasted almonds.

    

Dried broad beans without external layers, which are cooked in water until they reach the consistency of a mash.

 ( )

Hard wheat ring-shaped snacks with the consistency of a breadstick. They are dipped into water and flavoured with tomatoes, oil, salt and oregano.

An oval shortcrust pastry wrapping an excellent custard

Tender little pieces of horse meat cooked in tomato sauce.

  

Two layers of baked focaccia bread containing potatoes, cheese, breadcrumbs and eggs and stuffed with fried onion, tomato sauce, black olives, oregano and capers.


Tender pancakes made with salt, water, flour and yeast.

    

Bread flavoured with black olives and other sauces.

  

Stewed octopus, whose name derives from the terracotta pot used for cooking it: the “pignata”.


 ‘

French pastry stuffed with white sauce, mozzarella, tomato sauce and a pinch of black pepper.


Marinated fried fish dipped in the saffron.

Frisa flavoured with other seasonings, like rocket salad, peppers, onions, etc.


Melons that resemble cucumbers, but they are not. Excellent in salads.



Macaroni hollowed by hand with an iron stick.

  

Soup with dried peas and pieces of fried bread, served with fried peppers.


Cocoa biscuits glazed with melt cocoa sugar. Mouth-watering.

 ()

Wild bulb with a bittersweet taste. The king of vegetables in oil.

Trunk-shaped ice-cream filled with Savoy biscuits or sponge cake, liquor or Marsala zabaglione.


A typical dish with layers of potatoes, mussels and sliced courgettes.


Roasted giblets of lamb or kid wrapped in the peritoneum.

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58 /// culture /// salento summer guide

culture zone 1 /// Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria /// Castello di Copertino /// Centro storico di Gallipoli /// Cimitero Monumentale /// Isola di Sant’Andrea /// Mercato del Pesce /// Museo Civico Comunale /// Palude del Capitano /// Santa Maria della Grottella – Cappella di Santa Barbara /// Santuario del Crocifisso

62 62 62 63 63 63 64 64 64 65

zone 2 /// Basilica di Santa Croce /// Borgo Fortificato di Acaya /// Santuario della Pazienza /// Vincent City

65 66 66 66


zone 3 /// Cattedrale SS. Annunziata /// Cava di Bauxite /// Il Giardino Megalitico d’Italia /// Roca Vecchia / Grotte della Poesia /// Stazione Marittima

67 67 68 68 69

zone 4 /// Grotta della Zinzulusa /// Quercia delle Cento Pecore

69 69

esoteric places


60 /// culture /// salento summer guide

zone 1

Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria Galatina / piazza Orsini

/// The Basilica of Saint Catherine was built in 1391 for giving a place of worship to the Latin population who did not understand Greek, and by doing so the Greek religion was replaced. The architecture is a mix of Gothic and Romanic style. The Apocalyptic pictorial cycle and the cycle on the life of Saint Catherine are extremely interesting. This is one of the churches that critics always mention when referring to Apulian art. It’s now or never. zone 1

Castello di Copertino

Copertino / piazza Castello/ +39 0832 931612 /// Wear the shiniest armour in your wardrobe and mount your faithful jade. Cross the deep moat and the stately main gate and go into this overshadowing fortress which dates back to the 16th century. Once inside, look through the slits of the majestic corner towers, get lost in the numerous rooms which were once inhabited by knights and princesses. Alternatively, you can put your proton pack on your arms and start hunting ghosts in the long passages of the castle. zone 1

Centro Storico di Gallipoli Gallipoli

/// The historic centre of Gallipoli is a net of narrow and tortuous alleys, inspired by the Islamic architecture. Such structure dates back to the first half of the10th century AD, when the city was dominated by the Saracens., The main street, Via Antonietta de Pace, divides the city into two areas along the east-west direction (Sirocco and Tramontane), by following the classical design of Greek cities. The whole island was fortified with ramparts because of what had happened in Otranto, namely the Turks’ attack in 1480. Smart people, no doubt!


zone 1

Cimitero Monumentale Parabita / via Po

/// A conglomeration of geometrical shapes and hidden corners, full of mystery and symbolic meanings. When crossing the threshold you will get the impression of being in a theatre, rather than in a cemetery. Serpentines of flowered burial niches replace the “behind the scene” and at the top, exactly at the centre of your horizon, a small temple unveils the following section: a concentric labyrinth which resembles a classic capital from the top and an Egyptian necropolis from the bottom. All materials are perfectly integrated with those used in the nearby old cemetery, now almost covered by lichens. Therefore, it is considered post-modern as it was built between 1972 and 1982, antique (knowledge) for researchers of the whole world that studied it, and at the same time modern, a sort of archeological park, proving a renewed interest in art of young people. zone 1

Isola di Sant’Andrea Gallipoli

/// Would you like to visit a place where there is nothing to see? Are you willing to take a break from white beaches for enjoying the lunar influence of an island where the vegetation is scarce as the sun burnt even the last rare bushes that mirrored on the white walls of the lighthouse? Would you like to go rabbit-hunting? Actually, you will lie to your heart and call those big rats moving in the ditches: “rabbits”. Visit the island of Sant’Andrea off Gallipoli coast. I would do it, and I am not being sarcastic. The void can be fascinating too. zone 1

Mercato del Pesce Gallipoli / Harbour

/// The strong and penetrating smell of fish and the skilful mercantile abilities of fishermen (fishmongers with burned skin) constitute a chaos which will confuse and disorient you and at the same time fill your shopping bags with some of the best fresh catches of the local sea fauna. Who cares if you don’t know the name of the spieces? We are aware of the fact that you cannot resist to the call of sea chestnuts and mussels, to be immediatly opened and eaten, to the exotic charm of shells and sponges with different shapes and colours, which can be used as souvenirs.

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zone 1

Museo Civico Comunale

Gallipoli / via De Pace Antonietta, 108 / +39 0833 264224 /// Are you a fan of the macabre kitsch style of Italian horror movies? Then you really have to pay a visit to this place, also because admittance is only 1 Euro. In the big and ancient building of the historic centre you will be surrounded by collections of stuffed animals, 16th century weapons, remains of sarcophagi and Messapian grave goods, not to mention the skeleton of a 20meter-long whale. And what’s more, ask the guardian to introduce you to the gruesome world of fetuses under formalin. Remember to go there early, it closes at 4 pm. zone 1

Palude del Capitano

Porto Cesareo / Nardò-Sant’Isidoro coast road (S.P. 286) /// Legend says that an old sea dog was looking for a place to rest after a long wandering life from harbour to harbour. He eventually chose this strip of coast to built his home. The ruins of the House of the Captain still watch over the lagoon and by observing them it is easy to understand the reasons why the sailor decided to stop here. In a surreal background, inhabited by fish, birds and rare vegetation species, you will see limpid sheets of brackish water, the so called spunnulate: cavities created by the collapse of underground caves. The silence and quietness dominate over this suggestive strip of uncontaminated bush. zone 1

Santa Maria della Grottella Cappella di Santa Barbara Copertino / via Padre Giovanni Donato Caputo /// Copertino is not only the city of Italian singers like Adriano Pappalardo and the band Negramaro, it is also famous for being the birthplace of Saint Joseph, the saint who flew. Do not imagine tourist journeys on the air nor futuristic flights to the space. Saint Joseph, during his ecstasies, used to hover by some centimeters. But he didn’t have it easy: he was accused of being Messianic and handed over to the Inquisition tribunal. Thanks God he was recognized innocent and in 1767 he was declared saint. In Copertino there


are many traces of his life: from the small cattle shed where he was born, to his father’s house, from the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Grottella, key place for his vocation, to the chapel on Santa Barbara, where he carried out his penitence, also through flagellations. zone 1

Santuario del Crocifisso Galatone / piazza del Crocifisso

/// The Crucifix, as they call it, proves that Salento had successful gold diggers too. Years of hard work turned the inside of the church in a religious jeweler’s, a typical example of seventeenth-century magnificence risen to work of art. They say that while building it, the safety rules were not respected and a worker fell from the scaffolding and plunged on the marble with his head. A miracle avoided his death and now at the centre of the church a hole covered with a cross commemorates that event. The wonderful façade in stone from Lecce could be sufficient for the laziest camera users. But cross the threshold and you will find much more: pure luxury. zone 2

Basilica di Santa Croce Lecce / via Umberto I

/// The Basilica of Santa Croce (1353-1614... and more!) is a triumph of Lecce’s decorative fantasy and of the inspiration of Salento’s masters. A true competition among artists: Gabriele Riccardi, Giuseppe Zimbalo and Cesare Penna. Let’s play a game! Look at the Baroque puzzle, try and find the signature of one of the artists: a self-portrait mixed among the lions’ heads and the seraphic angels. Next to the Basilica, the equally important Palazzo dei Celestini connected to the Basilica itself, which hosted the Celestines for 300 years.

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zone 2

Borgo Fortificato di Acaya Acaya (Vernole)

/// After spending a whole day on the beach in a semi-comatose state, pretend to be intellectual and satisfy your thirst for culture by visiting Acaya. This small fortified village is located between an expanse of age-old olive trees and dry stones. Time seems to have stopped centuries ago and in the small streets which cross in the shadow of the walls and the castle, or in a typical trattoria, the chaos of the city will be a far away memory. zone 2

Santuario della Pazienza

San Cesario di Lecce Via Cerundolo, 26 / +39 349 3626430 – +39 0832 200120 /// Don’t let the name deceive you. This is not a Church and there are neither priests nor bells. The term “sanctuary” refers to a place of earthly worship: the house of the painter and sculptor Ezechiele Leandro, who filled his garden with crazy and surreal works, that are now famous all over the world. His sculptures (almost 2000 pieces) are three-dimensional naive mosaics made up by fragments and built stone after stone, as he used to say. Puppets and monsters which caused a true rebellion among the superstitious citizens of San Cesario, who persevered against his house by asking for a petition to remove it. “They destroy one work, I will build another ten”, he said, “they cannot stop me any more”. By collecting iron scraps and other used materials from the street, he re-used everything even in his pictures, product of a free mind, departing from the mould of academic art. The Tacheles of Berlin is nothing by comparison. zone 2

Vincent City

Guagnano / Contrada Scalera /// Sometimes works of art resemble human beings. Or rather, sometimes artists through their lives and creatures turn themselves into pieces of art. Vincent Maria Brunetti embodies this stereotype. After a long career in the grey Milan and after a mystical crisis, he moved to Guagnano for creating an extravagant house-museum. Inspired by Hundertwasser and Gaudì, the Vincent City is a


triumph of colours and kitschy taste, entirely decorated with ceramics and surrounded by statues (some of them representing saints). The most classical pieces of art are to be found inside where some mosaics by the Salento’s artist Dorodè stand out. The house is open to all at all times and during the day you can constantly hear loud dance music from the street. Vincent is there, waiting for you in his stool, while he paints his delirium. A true fun, which also appears in the movie “Italian Sud Est” by the Fluid Video Crew. zone 3

Cattedrale SS. Annunziata Otranto / piazza Basilica

/// Built in 1088, the Cathedral of Otranto is the biggest Church of Apulia. History tells that it resisted to the Turkish invasion of 1480. In the apse of the right aisle, the bones of the Martyrs of Otranto are kept inside seven big closets. These are the remains of 800 citizens who were slaughtered by the Turks on the Hill of Minerva because they refused to deny their Christian faith. After this full immersion of dramatic episodes, we suggest you to walk along the seaside to imagine how the Ottoman attack could have taken place. Keep your eyes open, you never know! zone 3

Cava di Bauxite Otranto / “I Reali” wood

/// Mars probably looks just like this. Abandoned in 1976, this cave is one of the most incredible and crazy places, surely one of the most special places you can happen to be. The flaming red of the iron soil, in contrast with the surrounding green and the blue of sea just round the corner, is one of the reasons to thank God you are not colour-blind. At the bottom of the cave, in a sort of crater, a tiny water table created a small lake which is 100 metres across and a few metres deep. The presence of bauxite bestows the peculiar colour and creates a unique atmosphere. If you don’t want to get lost, you better ask for information before the night falls and aliens arrive. Indeed, you can get there only through narrow paths in the direction of the Torre del Serpe.

66 /// culture /// salento summer guide

zone 3

Il Giardino Megalitico d’Italia Giurdignano

/// Menhirs undoubtedly represent the most ancient form of phallic architecture. Most reliable theories claim they could be either astronomical observatories or arms of a sundial for registering movements, times and astral phases and verifying the most favourable cycles for human activities. As for the dolmens, which were probably realized later, researchers believe they served two possible purposes: either for funerals or as a sacrificial altar. In the small village of Giurdignano, between dry stones and age-old olive trees, you can set out on a journey to a fascinating prehistoric past. The most common route starts from the municipal school, in the outskirts. Here you will immediately find the menhir of Saint Paul, which rises on the crypt dedicated to the same saint. Inside the crypt, some frescos of Saint Peter and Saint Paul are preserved. By following the paved road, after about ten metres it is possible to see firstly the “menhir of Vicinanze I”, and secondly the “menhir of Vicinanze II”. Not far, there is a Byzantine crypt. By passing through the olive trees in the road connecting Giurdignano with Giuggianiello you will find the dolmen Stabile, one of the best preserved dolmens of the area, which dates back to the second millennium BC. After seeing many small traces of ancestral art (more than 25 megaliths), in the direction of Minervino you will eventually arrive to the “Masso della Vecchia” (literally: the Stone of the Old Woman). Legend says that a witch used that covering disc as the wool winder of a spindle for her spells. Another theory says that dolmens and menhirs had a propitiatory function for fertility. Definitely better than Viagra! zone 3

Roca Vecchia / Grotte della Poesia Roca Vechia (Melendugno) / S.S. San Cataldo-Otranto

/// Take a bathe in the coves or dive headlong from the Adriatic cliff. And then take the opportunity to dive yourself up to the history of peoples who lived here: within a stone’s throw from the sea, the archaeological park of Roca Vecchia tells the vicissitudes of fierce Messapii, while among the ruins of Medieval fortifications and close to the remains of the castle, you can still hear the scream of terror “Mamma li Turchi!” (Gosh, the Turks!). You can’t miss the 5 metres jump in the crystalline water of the Grotta della Poesia (Cave of Poetry). But mind the belly flops!


zone 3

Stazione Marittima Otranto / via del Porto

/// Did you have the impression to be in the middle of a journey to the 16th century? Stop. You will be catapulted on a very elegant and linear ferryboat, the result of the astonishing separation of the ramparts from the mighty castle. The boat is the maritime station of Otranto, which was even included in the anthology of the World Atlas of Contemporary Architecture. The building is considered as the only contemporary work of art of the last decade in the whole South of Italy. It was designed by the Mario Cucinella Architects office and it resembles the shape of a boat facing East. The surface, completely covered by hand-cut stone from Lecce proves that shapes and volumes which are up to the most contemporary Western cities can be respectfully combined with local craftwork. It is really something! zone 4

Grotta della Zinzulusa Castro Marina / via Zinzulusa

/// It is one of the most beautiful karstic manifestations of the whole Salento region. With less than 5 Euros you will be able to admire stalactites and stalagmites which have been dominating and giving shelter to nice bats over the last millennia (don’t worry, they are inoffensive). The name of the cave comes from “Zinzuli”, which means “tatters” in the local dialect. Actually the calcareous concretions of the cave look like tatters. After the entrance, a hundred-metrelong karstic gallery leads to the area of the “Duomo” and then to the “Cocito”, the most submerged part of the cave. In high season it is almost impossible to find a car park in the front square. We suggest you to go on foot or by bike. zone 4

Quercia delle Cento Pecore Scorrano / close to the Nacrilli farm

/// Once upon a time in a village called Scorrano, there was a marvellous oak tree, whose branches gave relief to the flocks on hot summer days. It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale, but it is not. The oak realty exists and it has been there over the last 700 years to give shelter to people who are willing to lay down under its thick foliage and to listen to its never ending stories. Some time ago, a strong wind eradicated it, but the love of people bought it back on its roots. Now it deserves a tight hug.

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esoteric places /// zone 3

Chiesa di Maria Santissima Assunta Soleto / piazza Cattedrale, 1

The alchimist Matteo Tafuri recruited a group of witches who invoked a band of flying devils to build the bell tower (called Guglia Ursini) in a single night. But at cockcrow, four devils turned to stone at the corners of the bell tower. You can still see them on the laced banister of the third floor. zone 5

Chiesa del Diavolo Tricase / via SS. Medici

Pressed by the citizens who wanted a church, the Prince of Tricase turned to the Devil. If the church had been built over a single night, the Prince ion return would have offered the Host to a he-goat, Lucifer’s favourite animal. The devil kept his promise, but the Prince did not dare to defy God and he broke the agreement. The angry Devil triggered a terrible typhoon which brought the church’s bells to the Canale del Rio, where you can still hear their sound in a stormy night. zone 5

Isola della Fanciulla

Salve / go West from Torre dei Pali, almost 100 metres from the beach The body of a maiden who had been killed by pirates was found covered in a fine layer of sand by some fishermen on this small island. Legend says that, in some nights, when the sea is very choppy, you can still hear the quiet wailing of the maiden.

zone 5

Vore di Barbarano

Barbarano del Capo (Morciano di Leuca) S.P. Barbarano del Capo-Morciano di Leuca Legend says that Lucifer lodged here. A man went and shaved his beard, but as it kept on growing again, the man screamed something like: “My God, this beard!”. Offended by such rudeness, Lucifer got angry and started to throw fire and flames against him. The fire falling to the ground created the “Vore” of Barbarano (big and deep circle holes on the ground).

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happy hour

72 /// happy hour /// salento summer guide

happy hour zone 1 /// Barrueco /// Cotriero /// Fico d’India /// Gaf /// Goa /// Pane, Olio e Fantasia /// Samsara

76 76 76 77 77 77 78

zone 2 /// All’Ombra del Barocco /// Astoria Bar /// Bamboo /// Bar Martinica /// Caffè Personé /// Martinucci /// Shui Bar

78 78 79 79 79 80 80


zone 3 /// Era Ora /// Giro di Boa /// L’Ora di Mezzo

80 81 81

zone 5 /// Bar del Moro /// Bar Tropical /// Lido Playa Blanca /// Solatio /// Vesoma Cafè

81 82 82 82 83

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zone 1


Santa Caterina (Nardò) / C. Cantù seafront /// The street taking you from the Barrueco to Santa Caterina’s little square is pretty much like a catwalk: the Ionian Coast is “the place to be” for the ones who like to draw admiring looks. But it is well known that the fashion world is a stressful one. That’s why a mojito-based refreshing break is a must every now and then, to be enjoyed strictly along the seafront. You cannot miss the specialties of the Barrueco, including the “fried pizza” which is tremendously high in calories. Watch out not to overdo, the catwalk is waiting for you! zone 1


Mancaversa (Gallipoli) / Lido Pizzo / +39 340 6662833 /// Apart from being one of the coolest outdoor music club of the summer, the Cotriero surely is one of the few beach resorts (the so called “lido”) worth existing 24/7. The special atmosphere at dusk is not due to the fashionable wicker chairs, nor to the super cocktails drunk by the bodybuilders on duty. Instead the atmosphere is a careful combination of the play of light on the sea, the DJs accurate selection of songs and those out-of-their-heads people having fun by going hang gliding. It seems that sometimes they fail to follow the flight path and land sharply over the counter. Watch your back! zone 1

Fico d’India

Nardò / Torre Uluzzo /// After going up the breath-taking (and break-breaking) path crossing the pine park of Porto Selvaggio (WWF protected area) you can recharge your batteries with a good prickly pear aperitif. Three axioms which cannot be overlooked on holiday sum up the essence of this place: “cool people, cool sound, cool atmosphere”. The minimal house parties are high in quality (especially the pre-parties organized at the Casablanca and at the Bagged out). Wonderful girls hang around the tables while super fit bartenders show off their muscles while filling a glass with Bacardi.


zone 1


Gallipoli / via Giudecca, 2 (corner piazza Canneto) / +39 348 3716296 /// Are you taking a tour of Gallipoli and you get thirsty all of a sudden? No problem! The fresh fruit cocktails prepared at the GAF are a panacea for your dry throat. If you wish to eat something to accompany you drink then try some excellent piadina (a kind of flat, unleavened bread) or bruschetta (grilled bread with different toppings) and enjoy it all in the middle of a glamorous environment. The view? Unrivalled! You can see the castle, the boats and the bow nets of the fishermen of Gallipoli (you can hear them using some coarse language while they get their nets fixed, especially if their fishing day didn’t go as they expected). zone 1


Porto Cesareo / village of Belvedere / via Manzoni /// It is a very posh and chic place. You can understand it just by looking at the white coated beach umbrellas and deckchairs. It is very easy to bump into bold guys talking about abs or amino acids or into lively girls carefully analyzing the nutritional information of their crackers in here. It really depends on the DJ on duty but sometimes the music is not that bad, especially if the DJ is a bossanova expert. Take a look at the prices if you fancy ordering some frise (durum wheat baked bread): with the money spent in a single afternoon you could buy dozens of frise and get by the entire season. zone 1

Pane, Olio e Fantasia

Gallipoli / piazza della Repubblica / +39 0833 261779 /// Adamo brothers will capture you (at a culinary level of course) with their self produced olive oil to be tasted on bread or as the essential ingredient of a variety of vegetables, pickles and dishes. Forget your light summer appetizer! But don’t worry, the price include some good rock music (live music on Wednesday and Saturday).

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zone 1


Gallipoli / village Baia Verde / Sud coast road / +39 328 1154455 /// Fashionable, trendy and glamorous. These are the adjectives people use to describe the Samsara. It is not a banal place though. It is the symbol of Salento getting closer to the riviera romagnola. Leaving aside the showing-off widespread activity of muscles and loincloths, you will enjoy a cutting-edge summer experience in here. The furniture is a proof of it: there are curtains, blinds, wicker chairs, gazebos, wooden structures and even a mini spa area with a Jacuzzi. At sunset, at the stroke of the aperitif hour, the tribal rhythms will begin and the crowd will move from the beach to the beach resort. Tsunami! zone 2

All’Ombra del Barocco

Lecce / Corte dei Cicala / +39 0832 242626 /// Via Giuseppe Libertini is slowly becoming more and more similar to the city of Parma, which absolutely doesn’t mean that the Lecce stone (a kind of limestone) is acquiring the appearance of a Parma cheese. It means instead that the city centre, the wine, the food tastings and culture are becoming increasingly valued in Lecce. You can witness this spirit at the All’Ombra del Barocco, the café of the most important bookshop of the city. This café, which is covered by barrel vaults, has been renovated in accordance with strict architectural rules. It is the perfect place where to read a book, taste a good wine such as the Salice Salentino and enjoy typical food products. We actually wonder why aubergine parmesan is not on the menu. zone 2

Astoria Bar

Lecce / Porta San Biagio /// You go shopping and you suddenly get hungry, and by chance you find yourself nearby Porta San Biagio. Then stop by this little bar, order an aperitif and cancel your dinner reservation. You will be provided with all you need to satisfy your appetite: olives, savoury cakes, mozzarellas, little sandwiches and focaccia (flat oven-baked Italian bread). Food is always fresh. The aperitif is only 5 euros per person, so if wish invite a friend you would cut a dashing figure!


zone 2


Lecce / via Schipa /// When you enter the Bamboo you wonder if the owners have a degree in architecture. The place is quite little but the very nice owners manage to accommodate everyone who wish to take a sit. It doesn’t matter if you need to squeeze into this place in order to taste the famous piadina (a kind of flat, unleavened bread) and a pink dip which causes addiction. It’s time to party: birthday parties, graduation parties and….piadina for everyone! zone 2

Bar Martinica

Lecce / via Vittorio Emanuele II, 23 / +39 0832 300977 /// Edoardo De Candia has been one of the most misunderstood artists of Apulia. He was a dissolute painter devoted to alcohol and he toured a madhouse for quite a long time. In the last years of his life he used to hang around the streets of Lecce, where he mainly drew female’s bodies and sold the drawings at a cheap price, just enough to get himself something to drink. He has been recently assigned the nickname of “new Matisse” thanks to his unmistakable stroke. De Candia used to go to this little bar dating back to the 70’s where he sold his drawings to buy some wine. You can admire much of his artwork, which is displayed in this sort of non conventional art gallery, while having an aperitif. zone 2

Caffè Personé

Lecce / via Umberto I, 5 / +39 0832 246302 /// Personè is the name of a virtuous artist from Salento who lived in this building for a while in the 17th century. It seems that in the past this place was a synagogue. It’s all about a nobility business and an even more aristocratic location. This café indeed is located in the middle of the baroque of Lecce, in front of Santa Croce. It overlooks one of those typical timeless porticos of the old part of Lecce. Caffè Personé is a restaurant as well, but the wine bar is the true pearl; it is said to be the best in town. Enjoy the history while you are having a tea, a fruit aperitif, a glass of wine or something to eat.

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zone 2


Lecce / via Giacomo Arditi, 11 / +39 0832 091258 /// Here you can find what all of us would like to enjoy at least once a day: an aperitif, an ice cream, a savoury cake. The ice creams can be huge or extremely little, it all depends on the ice cream seller on duty who prepares it for you. The chic side of the place is due to a carefully prepared and at the same time bewildering aperitif (made of fried food, potatoes, canapés and much more) and to a spectacular fruit cocktail. It is a chain and if you love it you can find it all around Salento. For the affectionate ones. zone 2

Shui Bar

Lecce / via Umberto, 21 / +39 388 7957019 /// A corner of Japanese modernity at the heart of the baroque of Lecce. Kitsch? Maybe, according to someone. But the aperitif rocks and the young locals gathering in the crowded square simply love it. The Shui staff are very good at organizing events and entertaining. While you are having your aperitif you can enjoy the acrobatic moves of the barman and the excellent music of local jazz players and you start getting lost. Then you get out of the place and you try to make some sense out of the decorations engraved on the Santa Croce façade. At that point you are totally lost. zone 3

Era ora

Torre dell'Orso (Melendugno) ring road corner via Camping Sentinella / +39 328 8926722 /// It is a fresh summer evening, you are sipping a cocktail, you are relaxing on a hummock and your feet are touching the grass. The white gazebos are surrounded by dim lights and the sky is full of stars. Music and friends are there. It is not a surreal place. “Era ora” (meaning “finally”) is the expression you will use once in here, as well as the name of this cocktail bar in Torre dell’Orso. If you do not wish to relax too much the place is provided with a soccer and a tennis field, otherwise you can rent a rickshaw and spend funny or romantic moments along the promenade. Amusement and relax all in once.


zone 3

Giro di Boa

Otranto / village of Frassanito / close to the campsite /// If Salento is the Jamaica of Italy, the Giro di Boa is the Jamaica of Salento. A sort of no man’s land for plaits lovers and free souls. Even dogs wear dreadlocks in here! After leaving this place, even if you don’t smoke, you will become addicted to the marijuana smell. While looking at the garbage left at the entrance of the beach, a friend of mine once said: “Jamaicans are cleaner than we are”. It is such a pity though because the scenario created by the sea waves at dusk and the colors of the far away surfers’ sails is a truly striking one. The reggae music in the background and the accessible prices makes it an attraction you cannot miss. zone 3

L’Ora di Mezzo

Otranto / piazza del Popolo / +39 340 8045480 /// You know very well that Otranto is overcrowded by tourists during the summer. Some of them pass by to have an aperitif or for a quick drink. This is an outdoor bar located in a little square. It is very much like a living room surrounded by a super white and dazzling Mediterranean architecture. It opens in the morning but the best time to go is probably at dusk. The wooden tables and chairs located outside will make you feel like you are some old men sitting at the bar of the village. Such a pleasant feeling. zone 5

Bar del Moro

Marina di Patù (San Gregorio) / piazzetta via del Mare /// A body immersed in a fluid can float, a body found encased in concrete probably knew too much to stay alive. In San Gregorio it was decided to build a concrete structure on a simply legendary little shore. Too bad. Thank God the sunset is not screwed up if at the Bar del Moro what is “encased” in a Martini drink is nothing more than an olive. Aperitifs at night are full-bodied and makes you want to dance. Seize this opportunity to meet new people and have more fun.

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zone 5

Bar Tropical

Tricase / via Mascagni, 1 /// If you dare to say “good morning” while entering this bar, Antonio will blatantly tell you to go to hell. He knows no limits. For this reason the aperitifs served at the Bar Tropical are simply monumental. Antonio will be the one serving you, then pay attention to speak no more than a few words and to arrive on an empty stomach. Those who know no limits do not like unfinished meals either. zone 5

Lido Playa Blanca

Lido Marini (Ugento) / Nazario Sauro seafront / +39 320 3515195 /// Lido Marini is another little jewel of the Ionian Coast, half way from Gallipoli and Leuca. It is a section of barrier reef: an immaculate beach, white thin sand and a crystalline sea. The seabed is so low that Romans very smartly used to get stuck. Here there’s no better place to chose than Lido Playa Blanca, which is open all day long. Try the aperitif and enjoy some typical products such as friselle (durum wheat baked bread), croquettes and bruschette (grilled bread with different toppings), as they become tastier when you enjoy them close to the sea. zone 5


Torre Suda (Racale) / seafront /// Let’s be honest: there is not much going on in Torre Sauda, but who cares! The sea is wonderful. Anyway there is the Solatio, a very nice place located nearby a tower, which in the past was the bulwark for Turkish raids, and a sea cliff. Seen from there the Ionic sea could look like an ocean, if only Calabria wasn’t there to spoil our exotic dreams. It is open all day long but go there to have an aperitif. For two good reasons: the mojito is excellent and the sunset looks like a postcard. If you are lucky enough you will listen to live music, which is not bad at all.


zone 5

Vesoma Cafè

Santa Maria di Leuca / piazza Savoia / +39 346 3103249 /// In the past there was a square in here, now there is an Irish pub. Actually the square is still there along with a concrete paving and maritime pine trees, but some glass walls protect you from mosquitos and bad weather. The Vesoma is located in an isolated corner in front of the city market. It is a discreet and elegant place where you can enjoy some friselle (durum wheat baked bread) with tomato topping and a good beer.

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bars & pubs

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bars & pubs zone 1 /// Baghdad Cafè /// Bar Minerba (Cola) /// Buena Vista /// Caffè Bellini /// Cantine /// Est Cafè 2 /// Gatto Nero /// Kilometro Zero /// Vite Vinotecherie Musicali

88 88 88 89 89 89 90 90 90

zone 2 /// Bar Carletto /// Bar Las Vegas /// Caffè Letterario /// Joyce Pub /// Momà /// Nando /// Paolone /// Paranà /// Prophet /// Tazo /// Trumpet /// Urban Cafè /// Zei

91 91 91 92 92 92 93 93 93 94 94 94 95


zone 3 /// Babilonia /// People

95 95

zone 4 /// Avamposto /// La Roccia Hotel

96 96

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zone 1

Baghdad Cafè

Aradeo / via D’Annunzio, 2 / close to piazza San Nicola /// /// Why would a tourist be interested in such a small town bar like this? Because drinks are cheap? Because you can find yobs, metalheads, hippies and pretty boys and nobody feels out of place? Maybe to feel the thrill of not being sucked up too much and deal with a barman who is not a puppet and when he’s tired he’s tired, so it’s useless to ask him a mojito at this time, because you’re not a hot babe and he would never waste mint for you, go home, you must have some, don’t you? Maybe because there you’ll find those assholes who wrote this guide and maybe we can have a drink together. zone 1

Bar Minerba (Cola)

Aradeo / via Martiri della Libertà, 65 / +39 0832 332390 /// Next to Pizzeria Minerba there’s its bar winebar. Now, do you know what an oxymoron is? For not very intellectual people, an oxymoron is that figure of speech where two contradictory words are associated. Some examples? Ancient youth, refined loutishness, expensive saving. It’s exactly what you’ll find in Minerba’s bar-winebar, where the barman serves low quality beers to worn-out men while the owner has a consultation with distinguished bourgeois about this or that wine bar or this or that Negramaro vintage. Among our staff’s favourites. zone 1

Buena Vista

Gallipoli / Riviera Nazario Sauro, 127 / +39 347 7283710 /// A piece of Havana on one of the bastions surrounding Gallipoli’s old city walls. If you come by at sunset for an aperitivo, the red sky that frames Sant’Andrea Isle on the horizon will leave you breathless. But it’s not only about poetry: white curtains that envelop basket chairs, small tables and a good music selection (with DJs from all over the world) will make you feel like Tony Montana in Scarface. Instead of the pool you’ll have to be content with an infinite sea’s expanse.


zone 1

Caffè Bellini

Gallipoli / corso Roma, 9 / +39 0833 263622 /// Gay-friendly from June to September. The most fashionable cocktail-bar in Gallipoli, a real shop window for those who want to show off the latest spangle spring/summer collection. It’s said that even Moira Orfei (famous Italian circus owner) from time to time raids among tables, but without her lions, to draw inspirations for creating her outfits. Here you can organise your disco nights and you can find reductions and free entry tickets for women to get into the most undressed places in Salento. You can’t go wrong, it’s right where the every-night-traffic-jam starts in the main street of the town. zone 1


Gallipoli / viale Bovio, 28 / +39 0833 263273 /// It was born as a wine bar and small winehouse, it lives as a wine and cocktailbar and ends with its drunk customers, Breathalyzer-proof, obliged to take a miniature train from South-East at the local train station. If you spend a late afternoon there, be careful because you run the risk of finding yourself late at night chatting with the owner like old friends among frise, bruschette, cheese and cold meat selections, washed down by rivers of wine. Live music in the square almost every night. zone 1

Est Café 2

Copertino / via Re Galantuomo, 1 / +39 333 3563201 /// A walk around the castle to enjoy the first fresh air at night and you’ll inevitably end up in the lively Est Café 2. Happy hour, theme nights and live music to satisfy you. Thirsty throats will be pleased with the “Project Bièrethèque”, a wide range of foreign beers divided according to taste and brewing. The icing on the cake is the tap broaching Heineken at zero degrees.

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zone 1

Gatto Nero

Torre Lapillo (Porto Cesareo) / via Zanella /// The big black cat on the shop sign silently listens to the town’s heartbeat. On the one side the screaming of the Thursday morning market, on the other the chatter of young people strolling on the high street at night. Sit on the small veranda that gives onto the square where some old man is fluttering a newspaper for some air. An iced spritz (sparkling white wine and Aperol) out of the sun and summer will be very close, among the comings and goings of soft dresses and sandy feet. zone 1

Kilometro Zero

Galatina / corte di Santo Stefano, 4 /// “Zero km” shopping is based on local productions that do not travel long distances and do not come from unknown places. Located in a courtyard in the historic centre of Galatina, this ex-cellar, now wine bar, draws its inspirations from this philosophy and it chose its name accordingly. A nice little place to happily get drunk while eating cold cuts, taralli and excellent tarallonzi whose shape resemble a dog’s poo. The beer is zero km too: the B94, a good homemade beer from Salento. Inside the bar, you will find exhibitions by local artists and musical entertainment. zone 1

Vite Vinotecherie Musicali

Nardò / via De Pandi, 19 / +39 0833 564896 /// Nardò is the second more densely-populated city of the province, after Lecce. Until a little time ago, Nardò was also a unique and incomprehensible case of nightly desertification. The only people passing by were somnambulists. Now, Nardò seems revived. One of the symbols of this belle époque is the winebar located in one of the quaintest historic centres of the area. The musical selection has been entrusted to Raffaele Casarano, the director of the Locomotive Jazz Festival. Closing the street to traffic would be perfect, but everybody knows it: somnambulists must be handled with care.


zone 2

Bar Carletto

Lecce / piazza Partigiani 44 / +39 0832 397130 /// Somebody defines it as: “a tale in the novel of formation of every young person in Lecce”. It sounds pretentious for an ordinary bar. But Carletto’s ordinariness constitutes its peculiarity: it is the prototype of a country bar. Here, everybody knows everybody else. It is a continuum of pats on the back, prying eyes, bad jokes and fake and polite smiles. One of those places where there are only two possible ways of facing life: by buying either a ticket for the match or a scrathcard. zone 2

Bar Las Vegas

Campi Salentina / via Piazza Libertà, 47 / +39 0832 791840 /// Every village has one, but a few villages have it like the Las Vegas. Much more than a simple bar, it is the meeting point for alternative and warped people. A trans-generational crowd of ex-punk, rasta and ska musicians, b-boys, Italian song’s lovers, ravers, literates, daring and unprejudiced video makers, skaters, dissolute people with ruined faces, and maybe there is still Tapino, the first dog to hit the headlines because he was arrested and sent to the dog asylum. He has bitten a disrespectful passer-by. But the whole Las Vegas was on Tapino’s side. zone 2

Caffè Letterario

Lecce / via Guglielmo Paladini, 46 / +39 0832 242351 /// There is a Literary Café in every city. And every single Literary Café is attended by people who feel sensitive towards this noble adjective. Similarly, a part of the population keeps away from it, but this is fine too. “Culture, we put it under our feet”, somebody said while others sit down and drink on these sofas in one of the liveliest places of the historic centre. If the Northern wind blows, sit inside and if you’re lucky enough you could meet the best artists of the region slouching on the armchairs.

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zone 2

Joyce Pub

Lecce / via Matteo da Lecce, 5 / +39 0832 279443 /// Between Sant’Oronzo and Santa Croce there is a nice Irish pub, inspired to the purest Irish culture without being kitsch. As a matter of fact, it was not banally called “William Wallace” (no offence), but Joyce, as the famous writer. The high-quality policy has been rewarding and now the Joyce is considered as an “historic pub”, undoubtedly a great compliment. In summer, it is always crowded with scions of good families from Lecce and its province, draining Guinness. Getting in is an almost bold enterprise that not even the barriers at the entrance (we refer to the monetary barriers at the counter) can contain. zone 2


Lecce / piazza Vittorio Emanuele /// Look at this: five cocktails for ten Euros. No kidding. Well, do not expect litres of drink and famous brands, but the quality-price relation is undoubtedly the best of the area. It will take quite a long time to get your plastic glass above all in the late night, when people queuing are already drunk. As a consequence, you will risk to remain all packed in the adjacent little square, which is always full of youngsters. But come on, you are in the heart of the city centre, don’t complain. zone 2


Lecce / via Benedetto Cairoli, 19 /// The classic tour of the bars starting from via Cairoli begins at the Nando. Have a Peroni first, go on with a small pizza, go back to another Peroni, which can then turn into wine, bitters or a cocktail, and finish with screams, din and full-face smiles. For the majority of people in Lecce, the tour ends where it was just meant to start. Nobody cares what’s behind the corner any more. The Italian saying: “Chi non beve in compagnia o è ladro o una spia” (he who drinks alone is either a thief or a spy) is perfect for this place, where drinking alone is a deadly sin.


zone 2


Lecce / near piazza Vittorio Emanuele /// The same old concept but re-interpreted really well: bar open till late night, plain furniture to avoid people standing inside, low prices to attract penniless students and long-time unemployed people. A must if you stop by at Lecce before setting out for other places. The few Erasmus students in town are all here, collecting the last coins for another shot. And if you cannot avoid it, have a snack too. zone 2


Lecce / via Giuseppe Candido 1 /// Sergio perfectly knows the rules of the market. And he, the tall and big owner, doesn’t give discounts, rather the contrary. By day, one price. By night, another one. In the price basket measuring inflation, Sergio confuses everything. But that’s how the market works and despite all Sergio knows that his prices are very reasonable because everybody keeps on drinking here, careless of the inflation and the anti-atmosphere interiors of his bar. You can’t have it all! zone 2


Lecce / via Maggiulli, 4 / +39 0832 246143 /// An extraordinary variety of draught beers in a peculiar atmosphere. At tables resembling those used by amanuenses, you will find yourself fantasizing about the confessional under the calm stares of Sibyls and Prophets. Glance up at the roof full of coasters and you’ll be willing to loudly invoke another pint. While burping, spoil yourself with a plate of cheese or cold cuts. Cheers!

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zone 2


Lecce / via dei Perroni, 2 / +39 0832 332390 /// Did you know that Porta San Biagio (the Door of Saint Blaise) is dedicated to the protector of the throat, the saint bishop of the city of Sebastea, in Armenia? No?! And who cares! For party animals of Lecce, this is just the door to enter the famous “street of the pubs” (also because via dei Perroni sounds too unpleasant). The first place you will find is the Tazo American bar. Good taste, discreet and with a vocation for modern arts, it hosts mini-live concerts and DJ sets. But above all, crepes are delicious. Mind your gluttony: Saint Blaise could descend with two lighted candles and set fire. zone 2


Lecce / via Principe di Savoia, 1 / +39 0832 240704 /// The summer air between via Principe di Savoia and via Umberto I, in the heart of the baroque architecture of Lecce, has the magical shine of exotic tales: it is filled with humidity, perfume, humours and hormones. In August, sweating with 40 degrees on that crossroads is a pure ecstatic experience, which can turn into a paradisiacal experience if you drain a cold beer while you sit down admiring the decorations of the buildings or the tourists’ parade. The Trumpet’s summer gazebo is right there, in the perfect place. There might be a photographic exhibition inside, but the true show is outside. zone 2

Urban Cafè

Lecce / piazza Vittorio Emanuele, 11/a / +39 0832 288388 /// Created as a sort of cocktail-disco-bar, the Urban boasts an excellent central position in an overcrowded little square. Surrounded by other similar and competing places, on the weekend you will certainly recognize it thanks to the 90s voice of the speaker accompanying the DJ’s house music. Evenings start with a cheap aperitivo in a relaxed atmosphere, and end with higher volume of music and alcoholic chats. People arriving for the happy hour end up staying all night long.


zone 2


Lecce / Corte dei Chiaromonte, 2 (crossroads with via degli Antonietta) /// The classic place whose typical client is the classic left-wing student of Philosophy. Definitely too many dogs and neglected beards. But on the other hand it’s always full of people inside and outside and often with different (intellectual and university) faculties. Even if it is an ARCI club, prices are not as low as you would expect, but concerts and events are all free, so all things considered it’s fine. Should you come back more than once, don’t be surprised at finding always the same people. zone 3


Torre Sant’Andrea (Melendugno) / largo Porticciolo / +39 0832 841099 /// The Babilonia has always been one of the historic places of Salento’s summer nights for less chic people. But now, its popularity backfired on it. Everybody goes there, not only people who love reggae music or those who exploit the suggestive and dark background to withdraw on the rocks. It is an almost magical place, but until now all attempts of organizing concerts or dance halls have been fruitless. It is still far from regaining the reputation of favourite place for tourists on the Adriatic coast. zone 3


Soleto / largo Osanna / +39 0836 663810 /// The People is far and away the cheapest place where you can enjoy the happy hour with an aperitivo. Actually no other place stands comparison with the prices of this half bar-half pub with an amusement arcade and a jukebox. At the end of the day you cannot complain. And when the happy hour strikes, don’t worry: the spell will not break.

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zone 4


Santa Cesarea Terme / Porto Miggiano /// If you love the crowd, it’s your place. Music all evenings and all types of people of all ages. Low-necked and chic dresses, but a relaxed atmosphere. While sitting barefoot on a sofa, enjoy the happy hour with friselline and a beer to lubricate your pharynx. Only one advice: don’t leave your shoes too far. If you’re lucky, you will have to collect them on the other side of the bar. In the worst case scenario… well, going back home barefoot is very natural anyway. zone 4

La Roccia Hotel

Castro / coast road towards Tricase / +39 0836 979013 /// White and blue. The palette of a landscape painter wouldn’t need any other colour here. If you close your eyes, they will remain engraved on your eyelids and generate an abstract picture conveying feelings of wellbeing, luxury, calm and pleasure. On the contrary, if you prefer the actual representation of this picture, you will certainly acknowledge the sign of La Roccia HotelRestaurant-Bar. White as the snow and blue as an uncontaminated sea. And eventually, after squinting, you will notice the sinuous shapes of wonderful bathers. No Picasso would dare to deform such wonders.

96 /// events & festivals /// salento summer guide


events & festivals

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events & festivals July


zone 1

zone 1

/// Festa di Santa Cristina 102 /// Mollone in Festa 102

/// Birra & Sound 104 /// Hey Hey Odelay! 104 /// Locomotive Jazz Festival 104 /// Sagra te la Carne te Cavaddhru 105 /// Salento Summer Festival 105 /// Streamfest 106

zone 2 /// Pork Day /// Sound Res

102 103

zone 3

zone 2

/// Sagra dell’Insalata Grika e della Salsiccia 103

/// Gusto Dopa al Sole 106 /// Jam Jam Reggae Festival 106 /// Sant'Oronzo 107

zone 5 /// Cinema del Reale /// Sagra delle Dieci P

103 103

zone 3 /// Festa te lu Contadinu /// Il Mercatino del Gusto /// La Notte della Taranta /// Sagra della Municeddha

107 108 108 108


zone 4 /// Festa della Fica


zone 5 /// Festa della Madonna /// Festa di San Rocco Danza delle Spade /// Sagra delle Quattro Pignate

109 109 110

September zone 1 /// Cristo di Tabelle


zone 3 /// Festa te lu Mieru (Sagra delle Sagre)


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July zone 1

Festa di Santa Cristina Gallipoli / July

/// I have always feared Santa Cristina because a bad story circulates about this divinity taking away from the sea one man and one woman during these days. Imagine how many times I got sunburned at the beach when I was a kid, simply because my mother was warning off ill-luck and wouldn’t let me go into the sea. It is a great feast though! Three days of illuminations, markets, fireworks and good “scapece” (fried fish with breadcrumbs, vinegar and saffron. Do not miss: 1) the afternoon procession on the sea with boats full of people; 2) the maypole; 3) the flag throwers show, the climax of the entire feast. zone 1

Mollone in Festa

Copertino (masseria Mollone) / July /// The countryside road leading to the old manor farm takes us back to a century ago. The feast recalls the old countryside traditions of our grandparents, pizzica (a popular Italian folk dance, originally from the Salento peninsula), pettule (deep-fried leavened dough balls) and mieru (wine) do the rest. Visitors, such as nostalgic old people, middle aged tradition lovers and young foreigners snob beer and hot dogs and prefer tasting the typical cicore reste (a chicory based dish). Then at midnight, after the fireworks, the unbridled pizzica dances start. zone 2

Pork Day

Carmiano / July /// What an insult to call it the pork’s feast: actually the poor pig is the only one having nothing to celebrate. The “Friends of the Pork Day” is a cultural association whose members, sworn enemies of vegans, funded this annual event as well as the association to celebrate the pork. On the menu you will find only porkish food. Obviously that’s just a pretext to enjoy typical dishes. The soundtrack ranges from pizzica to reggae music to Balkans music. You dance and sweat in order to ward off any possible pig flu!


zone 2

Sound Res

Monteroni di Lecce (piazza Falconieri) / +39 329 3385280 / July /// Research centers do exist in Salento as well. Sound Res is a festival aiming at giving life to new works. Eminent musicians such as Terry Riley and Philip Glass attended this festival in the past. In 2010 the guest star was the Canadian musician Patrick Watson. He performed with David Sheppard, coveted composer and sound designer from London and Cesare Dell’Anna, a trumpeter from Salento. In addition workshops for kids and other workshops with the protagonists were organized. Full speed ahead! zone 3

Sagra dell’Insalata Grika e della Salsiccia Martignano / July

/// It doesn’t look like something very typical. Actually it isn’t, for once! It is more like a festival of genuine products getting closer to the organic way of life. Quality is assured: local products and organic food. Let’s admit it: this grika salad is quite heavy even though very digestible. The ingredients are the following: tomatoes, cucumbers, white onion, chilli, wild rocket, capasa black olives, capers, oregano, cheese and extra virgin olive oil from Salento. Long live the lightness! zone 5

Cinema del Reale

Specchia / / July /// The Cinema del Reale is a very excellent one within the province. This cinema shows experimental movies, personal diaries, family movies, reportages, historical inquiries and documentaries realized by famous and less famous artists. Despite the few economic resources available, this cinema manages to communicate and touch deep inside. The real side is communicated by the characters playing in movies that sometimes need many years to be finished, precisely because the stories told evolve during the time. It is an outdoor international event where to enjoy live music and aperitifs.

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zone 5

Sagra delle Dieci P Barbarano del Capo / July

/// You will not need a time machine to jump into the past, ancient flavors and truly genuine dishes will be enough (ok you’re right, pittule might not be that light, but that’s just details). Try to grab the more you can as soon as you arrive, since food is excellent: meat, fish and sausage sandwiches. Sweet tooth people will literally freak out because of the home made sweets and cakes. Because of the high number of visitors it will take you quite a long time to fill up your plate, but the gigantic female cooks will keep everyone calm. Then it is better to try to stay patient or to get hold of a rolling pin to defend yourself!

August zone 1

Birra & Sound

Leverano (area mercatale) / August /// A risky combination of dance music, reggae music and Raffaella Carrà songs hit the ears of people passing by. No worries because once the funfair area is behind you, you will enter the true festival. You will enjoy huge quantities of beer, the barbecue meat, the pizzica sound and sweaty bodies. Late at night you’ll be still there laughing with groups of people with improbable accents, or maybe you’ll be trying to get the empty jugs left over by drunk people. zone 1

Hey Hey Odelay! / +39 339 1503608 / August /// “It will be a hot summer”. “It will be a cold winter”. “Mid seasons have disappeared”. “One euro is about two thousand lire”. “Odelay takes place in August”. The Odelay cultural association has been around for five years now and it is the most valid alternative for the popular nights of Salento. The association goes for indie music and during the summer we promote music festivals, dj-sets, themed parties and concerts together with a mini-festival dedicated to new national talents. Gentlemen’s Agreement, Girl With The Gun, Fitness Forever, Disco Drive, Violetta Beauregarde are some of the artist of the past


editions. If you think that in Salento there is only the pizzica sound, you are totally mistaken. zone 1

Locomotive Jazz Festival

Sogliano Cavour / / August /// This free jazz festival lasting two days shows that in Salento there is much more than the pizzica. It is a festival widely appreciated by jazz lovers. Some of the artists performing at this festival are Paolo Fresu, Franco Califano, Cuong Vu and the award-winning saxophonist Soweto Kinch. These artist perform in association with many other musicians and orchestras. Once the festival is finished you can enjoy the dj-set music in the little square in a relaxed atmosphere, and see the sunrise from the San Mauro’s hill, like in 2009 with the trumpet of Fresu. Long live Sogliano, long live the art! zone 1

Sagra te la Carne te Cavaddhru Seclì / August

/// I was reading that an entire horse is eaten at this festival. I think that by now vegetarians are performing hara-kiri, animal rights activists are about to launch a petition, Italians are disgusted because horses are elegant animals and it is not very nice to eat them ( if I were a horse, I would hope reincarnation didn’t exist, for intrinsic reasons and because being reincarnated as an Italian would make me suffer even more). Here in Seclì horse meat is a specialty. You can eat horse steaks, horse sausages, horse bowels and horse muscles (the famous pezzetti). Enjoy!

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zone 1

Salento Summer Festival

Gallipoli (Parco Gondar) / / August /// Reggae music first of all. Many artists have been performing at this festival, such as Scratch Perry, Anthony B, Buju Banton, Capleton e Beenie Man and Italian reggae musicians, especially from southern Italy. At this festival you can also listen to ska music, patchanka from Salento, Italian alternative rock music (such as Afterhours) and hard rock music (such as Soulfly). It is a festival where very good “mainstream underground” musicians perform. If you want to understand what has been going on in Apulia over the last years, you must attend this festival. zone 1


Festival itinerante. Evento conclusivo Gallipoli (Parco Gondar) / August /// The Streamfest is an international festival of eco-digital culture. It made Salento discover electronic music. The most appropriate adjective for this festival would be “eco-cool”: there are hi fi’s, screens and lights operating through solar energy and many other eco-friendly devices. Everyone loves it! In 2009 Cassius could not perform at the festival, apparently he missed the plane. Apart from that, other excellent musician such as Leroy Thornill, Ellen Allien, Thomas Brinkmann, Congorock, ect. performed at the festival. In addition there will be conferences, workshops, exhibitions and events linked to theater and dance. Nothing compares to it. zone 2

Gusto Dopa al Sole

San Cataldo / / August /// It is the Jamaican oriented event of Salento. “Gusto Dopa” gathers reggae music lovers. Many other minor event have been put together to realize this festival. It takes place during 4 days, and the audience is made of people with dreadlocks and twists and by dogs such as pit-bulls and wild dogs. The is a strange fog on the way back: breath it as much as you can.


zone 2

Jam Jam Reggae Festival

San Donato di Lecce / / August /// The Jam Jam festival so far has been the most commercial one around. Last year the guest star of the festival was Shaggyn, then we can understand that it is different from the Gusto Dopa Sole Festival. The posters look like they are promoting a club, it means that the audience is an undecided one. We hope this year a positive change will take place. zone 2

Sant’Oronzo Lecce / August

/// “Le farò da padre” (I will be your father) is an important movie of Alberto Lattuada of 1974. In the middle of the building speculation era a young lawyer from Rome would like to build a touristic village in Salento, thanks to the help of a rich countess of Lecce (Irene Papas). The city looks beautiful in the move, and in the middle of it there are the images of the procession of Sant Oronzo, the most popular countrish festival of the province. Lights and music characterize this festival lasting 3 days . It takes place when people from Lecce go back to their city after the holidays. The funfair, located in the stadium area, is excellent. It is the biggest funfair of the year (prappies included). zone 3

Festa te lu Contadinu

Serrano (Carpignano Salentino) / second half of August /// The tourist office of Serrano did an excellent job: very well organized booths, short lines and typical dishes of the countryside. You will find the typical sandwich with servola (sausage) or with horse meat, pittule alla pizzaiola (savoury fritters) pimbitori schiattarisciati cu la cucuzza e li pipirussi siccati (fried tomatoes with zucchinis and dry peppers), minchiareddhi cu li coppuli (homemade pasta with tomato and strong ricotta cheese). You will enjoy some popular live music as well.

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zone 3

Il Mercatino del Gusto Maglie / August

/// This is the perfect place where to take your rude tourist friends and avoid to make a bad impression. This event is organized with a lot of dedication. Everyone can find what he or she likes: meat, wine, beer, cheese and cold cuts. There are many different products to be tasted, and they are very well organized in the booths. By paying a few euros you can have access to a separate area for the wine tasting. The wines are offered by prestigious wine makers. zone 3

La Notte della Taranta

Melpignano (piazzale Ex Convento degli Agostiniani) / August /// My grandmother used to tell stories about this event and about the dancers of the taranta. She described them as devils with tits, and I used to freak out. My father saw them in the 60’s dancing I the square, while they were exorcised by the music played by drum players. Then tradition turned into folklore and then into a business. Now instead of drum players there is an orchestra, and the dancers are radical chic women who spend their holiday in Salento. They wear hair bands, long skirts and fair trade earrings. If it is the first time you go to Salento, you should go to this festival. It is better if you go by train to avoid a traffic jam. zone 3

Sagra della Municeddha Cannole / August

/// The municeddhe (little nuns) are snails producing a white liquid similar to cream, which then forms a kind of smooth shell. People from Salento like it very much. I think it is like eating beatles or insects but it is a tasty culinary tradition. In Cannole people are called cuzzari, meaning that they like to collect these nails. This is why this 4 days event has been created. You can enjoy these snails cooked in many different ways: fried, roasted or with a tomato sauce. Apparently these snails are good to fight indigestions. “The more you eat them, the better the digestion� elders say. It is better not to completely trust them.


zone 4

Festa della Fica

Marina di Marittima (Diso) / August /// Don’t laugh. The Festa della Fica (fica = fig tree/vagina) is not what you think it is. It’s much more. The village of Marittima twinned with the French city of Vèzenobrès even organize the “Journées mediterranèes de la figue” (Mediterranean days of the “fica”). It is true and stop laughing. There are more than 60 varieties of “fica” in the Salento area and there’s no better occasion than this to try them all. I said, don’t laugh. The festival takes place around a fig tree in the zone 167. So what, are you jealous now? zone 5

Festa della Madonna Santa Maria di Leuca / August

/// The feast begins on the 14th of August with a procession carrying the statue of the Virgin Mary through the streets of the village. On the following day, the procession continues on the boats, decorated by old fishermen for the occasion, all following the fishing boat with the divinity. Eventually, beer in hand, take some time to admire the triumph of colours of the final fireworks from the harbor of Leuca. Legend says that during these two days the Virgin Mary takes away the souls of three people from the sea. Actually, there is a kernel of truth about this story, as some “clever” people decide to dive after eating tons of meatballs. Basically, the Virgin Mary takes the souls of three fools. zone 5

Festa di San Rocco - Danza delle Spade Torrepaduli (Ruffano) / August

/// Did you fall victim of the bite of taranta while wandering around farms and festivals of the Salento region? Then you cannot miss the famous “Dance of the Swords” or “fencing pizzica” of Torrepaduli. Starting from the evening of the 15th of August until the next sunrise, on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Roch, coupled dancers imitate an imaginary duel with knives, lunges, feints and low blows while dancing. All around them, the hypnotic sound of tambourines vibrates in the air all night long while elderly people invent rhymes inspired by the wine.

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zone 5

Sagra delle Quattro Pignate Tiggiano / August

/// The village is divided into four parts and each area gets a set of typical dishes to be prepared in order to test the culinary abilities of every mum and grandma. The result defies a real gastronomic competition, while all employment and hygienic laws are broken. But, as the Italian saying goes: “on a full stomach no revolutions take place”. Narcotized by sauces and smells, everybody eats and nobody asks questions.

September zone 1

Cristo di Tabelle

Galatone (località Tabelle) / September /// Lost in the rough and ancient countryside between Galatone and Galatina, the tiny church of Cristo di Tabelle had been the framework for an absurd festival, something between the gipsy and the bestial, resembling the Medieval “feast of fools” for many years. The greasy pole is among the bloodiest and most blasphemous ever. Unfortunately, the planer of normalization neutralized all the fierce and transformed the feast into a simple festival like many others, as if we needed another one. But there still is a September atmosphere that makes you want to eat chestnuts. The place is very nice though less suggestive than in the past, when you would have walked all over your best friends for a piece of cheese. zone 3

Festa te lu Mieru (Sagra delle Sagre) Carpignano Salentino / first weekend of September

/// Over the last thirty years this small village with almost four thousand souls has hosted another four thousand people for toasting to the vintage time and dancing national-popular music. The evening ends with people throwing celery to each other, in the battle of lanciu te lu lacciu. If you take the Latin expression “in vino veritas” (in wine there is the truth) for granted, then you would think that people in this region are primitive drunks. But remember that: “Osce nisciunu ave pinsare alli guai, lassamuli stare, li vitimu crai!” (Today, forget your troubles, leave them behind, let’s think about them tomorrow).

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112 /// music /// salento summer guide

music disco zone 1 /// Bassa Marea Lido Club /// Bahia del sol /// New Casablanca /// Picador /// Praja Disco /// Quartiere Latino /// Rio Bo

116 116 116 117 117 117 118

zone 3 /// Babilonia /// Bahia /// Chicalinda /// Mediterraneo

118 118 119 119

zone 4 /// Blu Bay /// Guendalina

119 120

zone 5 /// Gibò /// Lido Azzurro

120 120


live music zone 1 /// Cotriero /// Parco Gondar

121 121

zone 2 /// Coffee and Cigarettes /// La Svolta /// Livello 11/8 /// Magnolia /// Manifatture Knos /// Shade

121 122 122 122 123 123

zone 3 /// Al Relitto /// Buenaventura /// KalĂŹ /// Soul Food

123 124 124 124

getting lost in Salento


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disco zone 1

Bassa Marea Lido Club

Torre Lapillo (Porto Cesareo) / via 2 / +39 0833 856030 /// Night & day version. By day, the beach is crowded with teenagers and their scooters. By night, the refined club shines in all its splendour. The candlelit entrance leads to an elegantly furnished awning facing the beach. The youngsters of the area will make you want to dance all night long. But keep your thirst under control: you may have to run into debt for a bottle of water. And don’t even try to escape without paying: the security watches over every original attempt of evasion. zone 1

Bahia del Sol

Torre Lapillo (Porto Cesareo) S.P. Porto Cesareo-Torre Lapillo, 97-99 / +39 0833 565222 /// But for Uccio, the ageless ice-scream vendor, you’ll have the impression to be in the Maldives: crystal clear sea, fine sand and straw beach umbrellas. On Friday night the wooden dance floor brightens up with Radio CiccioRiccio’s DJs. Sexy jets of water refresh the fiery bodies dancing under the hot sun. On Thursday and Saturday night, the beach turns into a fashionable club. Private oases of relax in hemp, straw and wood for the chicest people. zone 1

New Casablanca

Porto Selvaggio (Nardò) / +39 330 339194 /// Its clients range from the local radical-chic guy to the hipster holiday-maker, attracted by refined house music. The Casablanca is undoubtedly the coolest club along the Nardò-Gallipoli coast road. Last year the line-up was simply amazing: Erol Alkan and Boyz Noize, just to give you an idea. Obtained from an old oil mill, without the lights, the counter and the leather sofas hidden behind silk curtains, it looks exactly like the country-seat of a friend from Salento. Which makes the place even more welcoming.


zone 1


Lido Pizzo (Mancaversa) Gallipoli-Mancaversa coast road / +39 320 4729292

/// Picador is a character of the Spanish bullfight. But in this case the name rises some malice among people who know the dialect of Salento and who are aware of the fact that this place is gay-friendly (pica means penis). Founded just a few years ago, it is already well-known, also because of its spicy trashglamour nights. The location is very suggestive: it was built right in the middle of Punta Pizzo, a piece of Mediterranean scrub resembling a landscape of Gauguin, which has recently become a protected area after a twenty-year arm wrestling between the environmental organization Legambiente and the giants of the building sector. The battle was won by Legambiente, to the great joy of tourists, ecologists and nudists whom you will find here and there. By the way, mind the Picadors! zone 1

Praja Disco

Baia Verde (Gallipoli) / S.P. towards Leuca, km 2 / +39 0833 277384 /// A praise to dance music plus a smash sound: the Praja is a mecca for summer party animals. It is a continuous surprise, as every night there is a different event. The Praja is always crowded with extravagant people dancing deep house, techno, electro and jungle mixed by elderly DJs during the theme parties. Steel, white leather and banana-tree: the refined design of the furniture, set into the wildest nature of the gardens is the framework of one of the most vibrant music temples of the whole Ionic coast. zone 1

Quartiere Latino

Pine wood of Lido Conchiglie (Gallipoli) / +39 0833 209427 /// The initiation to disco music for all local teenagers took place here. The first: “Mum I’m going to dance, I’ll come back late” had the Quartiere Latino as its final destination. Actually teenagers represent a small minority, above all after 1 am. But if everybody comes here, there must be a reason. Whether because of the location (on a hill among pine trees), or the structure (a series of terraces facing the sea at different levels), or the music (commercial and house) or the Big Brother selection from June to August, the place is always crowded.

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zone 1

Rio Bo

Gallipoli / S.P. Lido Conchiglie-Sannicola / +39 0833 275080 /// Once upon a time, there was a farm. Now it is called fashion club. Does it mean that if you go there wearing sandals or snickers they won’t let you in? Probably yes, but only if your feet stink and they are totally right, you skunks! Among very high palms, banana trees and sofas, Greek columns, hiding curtains, pillows, suffused lights, a swimming-pool, two dance areas and many private areas, dancing won’t even cross your mind. The only certainty: this is the best place to score. zone 3


Torre Sant’Andrea (Melendugno) Largo Porticciolo Torre Sant’Andrea / +39 0832 841099 /// The inlet of Sant’Andrea would be the perfect picture if it wasn’t infested by the irrepressible spirits of the Babilonia, the historical fortress of nightly entertainment. A sort of wooden dive, or rather, as the owners themselves describe it: “a dough of wood, flour, yeast, heart and tomatoes”. Minimal house and reggae are all the rage, together with everything these two genres imply. It is the place to be for alternative Italian bands. But administrators shouldn’t worry too much, only 2 months of summer Babylon and then the beach goes back into the winter hibernation, covered with seagrass. zone 3


Laghi Alimini (Otranto) / +39 338 4862297 /// Bahia: the classic temple of fun at the Lido dei Pini, near Otranto. Not exactly advisable for penniless people. Yet, this is the perfect place if you want to realize the fantasy of wasting all your money in a few nights, of joining the fight of 70s and 80s revival “entertaingnorance” or if you just want to drown in the lust of beautiful thighs and killer stiletto heels. The structure is really nice: tropical- exotic just to the right point, to limit all excesses. For louts… with class.


zone 3


San Foca (Melendugno) / San Cataldo-San Foca coast road /// By day, it looks like a bar of a lost Caribbean beach: a dark-wooden hut surrounded by sun beds, deckchairs and sofas where youngsters and families drink lemonade while getting stoned with UV rays. When the night comes, the DJs start playing music while bands of burnt boys and girls dance barefoot on the sand. The house line-up is remarkable and also commercial nights are not so bad. When the music is over, move to the village and storm the hawkers for a good sandwich with cavaddhru (horse) meat. zone 3


San Foca (Melendugno) / San Cataldo-San Foca coast road /// “Exotic atmosphere at accessible prices”, this could be the motto of San Foca. The coast road is made up by a series of small nice and free spots on the beach, where you can dance by the sea until the sun or the police invites you to stop. Indeed, the Mediterranean area is the freakiest place of the Salento region. Sound system and techno nights alternate during the weekend. If you hate admissions, lists and shirts, this is your place. Wait for the sunrise on the empty terrace, while finishing your drink. zone 4

Blu Bay

Castro / via Sant'Antonio / +39 338 4862297 /// A super VIP club on the Adriatic Sea, rhyming with Ciak and Bahia (the other two temples of Salento). So VIP that you risk to meet the participants of Italian talent shows or – even worse – trash TV musclemen. The swimming pool is so huge that a mini island/dance floor can fit in, besides another floor in the main room. Pure house, certainly not freak beat. From the deep to the minimal to the garage, when DJs are not in the mood. Nu Mediterranean architecture, extremely chic.

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zone 4


Santa Cesarea Terme / coast road towards Castro / +39 347 5359923 /// When you’ve reached the top, you realize the Guendalina is just as good as the clubs in Ibiza or Mikonos. Or even better. This famous club, besides offering a top-class DJ set, is located in a unique place: the peak of a promontory where Italy’s heel stands out in all its magnificence. At sunrise, it is wonderful to get lost through the gardens of the club and see tired youngsters lying in the shadow of an eucalypt plant while staring at the sunrise. The first sunrays enter the amphitheatre, the main room, and illuminate the crowd. Bring your sunglasses because you will still be dancing when the sun peeps in. zone 5


Gagliano del Capo / S.P. 358 – Ponte Ciolo / +39 0833 548979 /// In the 90s, the sticker of Gibò was so popular that every car in the province had one. Not because of its particularly nice graphics (to be honest it was horrible). But it was a sign of the strong image that Gibò still boasts. Clients are not exactly teenagers, but the “jeux de vivre” and will to have fun are always there. Evenings start with live music and finish with lounge house. You don’t necessarily have to get in, but at least reach the top of the cliff because the view at sunrise is really breathtaking. zone 5

Lido Azzurro

Castrignano del Capo / Cristoforo Colombo seafront / +39 333 5006098 /// The tradition of theme parties at Lido Azzurro dates back to the mists of time. The legendary dockings of Aeneas in Leuca and later in San Pietro – according to the latest research by the University of Salento – were due to the habit of inviting special guests for theme parties like “Neanderthal revival” or “Toga party”. Now the VIPs are less noble (mostly trash TV protagonists) but they give autographs more easily and without too many miracles or useless lectures. PRs have it easier now too: can you imagine what flyers could be at the time of Moses.


live music zone 1


Lido Pizzo (Mancaversa) / +39 340 6662833 /// The most suggestive place where you can enjoy live music. Even though in the past the line-up mainly included reggae and ska, last year the bands also covered indie, rock and punk. Besides hosting two of the coolest festivals of the area, namely Arriva Odelay! and the Bikini Kill Festival, Cotriero stands out for diversified music selection and late night DJ set. Excited dancers often decide to dive in that sort of natural swimming pool which is the sea. Sand and rocks, suffused lights and tropical furniture complete the picture. A must. zone 1

Parco Gondar

Gallipoli / Galileo Galilei coast road seafront /// It was an old playground a stone’s throw away from the sea. Today it is one of the most famous spots of the Salento area, where concerts, festivals and DJ set take place, besides the well-known Streamfest. By day, it is a multifunctional entertainment centre, with basket fields and five-a-side pitches, markets, exhibition areas and frozen beers, all set in a wonderful Mediterranean pine wood. By night, big musical events steal the show. It won’t be easy to get out. zone 2

Coffee and Cigarettes

Lecce / via Paladini, 23 / +39 0832 244877 /// The nice promenade of via Paladini is now one step longer with the new Coffee and Cigarettes. Less intellectual than the nearby Caffè Letterario, it looks like a super stylish American bar, complete with a red lacquered counter on the right and a half-moon stage on the left, where musicians-equilibrists pack. Diversified clients, without peculiar traits. The only people who do not go unnoticed are young or rather very young strie (girls) from Lecce. Male tourists are warned, female tourists better take some precautions.

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zone 2

La Svolta

Lecce / via XX Settembre, 5/A / +39 329 8455974 /// Bix Beiderbecke was right when he claimed: “One thing I like about jazz, kid, is that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Do you?”. In this restaurant, which was founded as a jazz bar, you never know what’s going to happen either. There are evenings dedicated to old cartoons and TV series, sushi on Thursday and spaghetti at midnight. It’s no surprise that so many people come back every night just to see what else they can invent. zone 2

Livello 11/8

Trepuzzi / S.S. 7 ter / +39 0832 305693 /// Thanks to the initiative by Laboratori Urbani, the Salento area has now been provided with an hangar for big indoor concerts. It is not a stadium, nor a crumbling ex-something to organize illegal rave parties. This is an old flower market which has been renovated and completed with acoustic project, rehearsal rooms, recording studios and many other places for associations dealing with music. Not only concerts, but also big events, courses, internships and artistic workshops. The same hectic people involved in the homonymous recording company, the 11/8, manage this place, and as far as we know them, we have great expectations. Taking into account the space they have always dedicated to gipsy music and Mediterranean contaminations, this place could turn into the navel of the Mediterranean area. zone 2


Lecce / via Santa Maria del Paradiso (street corner with Porta Rudiae) /// ‘’We can speak English”, written on a poster. They are right in underlining it considering the broken English of the majority of their colleagues. Whether for the lack of places or for their passion for camping, many people prefer to sit on the sidewalk rather than on the tidy candlelit tables. An excellent music selection could distract you from the relatively high prices. Yet the magical effect will suddenly disappear at midnight when the volume is turned down because of intolerant neighbours.


zone 2

Manifatture Knos

Lecce / via Vecchia Frigole, 34 / +39 0832 394873 /// It is definitely the big thing of local culture. Expectations cannot but being high. A genial idea promoted by the regional program for youth policies Bollenti Spiriti, an urban laboratory, an ex factory that produces culture. At present, it is the headquarter of a dozen among the most active associations of the area. In a single place you can find: theatre, cinema, music, journalism and visual arts, all side by side. Last but not least, the jewel of the Apulia Film Commission’s Cineporto: a multifunctional film studio with a Kubrickian Space Odyssey’s film track. Outside, there is even a big space for concerts. Your eyes will hardly believe such prodigy of Lecce’s civilization. zone 2


Lecce / via Oronzo Quarta, 18 / +39 0832 523839 /// Delicate flower decorations and minimal furniture are sufficient to enhance this place, which is quite small but with a nice garden. Leave the traditional music and “pizzica” at home and take a cigarette break outside while waiting for an indie concert by the local band of the moment. Trembling tables and gallons of beer prove that elegance is the hidden face of rock. zone 3

Al Relitto

Laghi Alimini (Otranto) / Otranto-Torre dell’Orso coast road /// Cultivated in the owner’s small garden during the winter, the mint becomes the protagonist of the summer in the excellent mojitos prepared by that crazy band of friends behind the counter. The Relitto is an oasis in the almost uncontaminated desert of the Adriatic coast road between Torre dell’Orso and Otranto. Far away from the jet set of touristic centres, it will spoil you with old colourful chairs and just the right music. Only one fault: the queue at the counter. Good for them.

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zone 3


Torre dell’Orso (Melendugno) / San Foca-Torre dell’Orso coast road /// There is no way out. Coming here is a must for people who set alternative music against the traditional “pizzica”. Local nonconformists consider it an almost religious engagement and at least once a year they all wait for the sunrise. Nobody can escape the famous indie-rock Saturday evenings with DJ Tobia bossing around. Quiet beach by day, under the stars dancing people takes it over, with shapes sparsely moving on the beach and a clinging crowd on the dance floor. Occasional concerts, free admittance and free parking confirm the mystical character of this place. zone 3


Melpignano / via Verdi, 33 / +39 0836 33003 /// The city of Melpignano has been genetically modified by the traditional dance taranta. The Kalì is located right in the city centre, but it set out on a different musical journey, continuously looking for mature sounds and tastes and getting free from the totalitarianism of the local tradition. Restaurant, pizzeria and lounge bar constitute the setting for high quality live music. The wine selection is excellent and the menu too, with delicatessen as the pearled barley with fish and Argentine Angus rib steak. Other added values: a huge garden and the suggestive natural setting of the Church of Saint George at the back. zone 3

Soul Food

Torre dell’Orso (Melendugno) / seafront /// At first sight, you will wonder why the Soul Food is so popular in the Salento area, so much as to end up in a guide book. Its secret ingredient is music. Many famous Italian singers started here. Actually the location is remarkable too: the beach of Torre dell’Orso is one of the most beautiful of the region. But the real plusses are: small live concerts, the DJ set, the vaguely Mod atmosphere and the smell of vinyl, bruschetta (topped toasted bread) and fried fish which it’s not easy to find in the coasts of Salento. Unfortunately.


getting lost in Salento /// In August on Saturday night, me and my circle of friends use to go to Bonaventura, at Torre dell’Orso. We almost always leave from Aradeo and if everything goes smoothly we get there in 50 minutes. It’s a long time, isn’t it? And still we are in Salento. From Turin to France it takes exactly the same time. To make myself clear, those 50 minutes are not real. Well, they are, but they don’t represent the actual journey. Who’s so dumb as to go out, walk around the block, come back home through the window and finally get to the bathroom where he needed to go in the first place? Maybe somebody who wanted to have a wee so badly, that as the toilet was engaged, he started to move hectically around. Basically, we always go to the toilet before leaving and we even happen to stop on the way. We’ve been studying this road for years and 50 minutes is our record time. We are Italians! Some years ago we had the “brilliant” idea to try an alternative route, but as soon as we got to the ring road of Lecce, we took the wrong direction and had to take the first junction not to end up in Australia (you cannot make a U-turn on that road). We found ourselves in another dimension. Only the moon and my old car’s feeble headlights cleared our way. All around us, olive trees and dry stones. The noise of the silence almost covered that of my broken muffler. Above us, a

wonderful starry sky. The tension started to rise. Everything was too dark and weird. It was clear that we had lost our way. No guiding star to help us orientating, no GPS to compete with the unknown. Suddenly, a road sign: Capoccia. Capoccia?! What the fuck is Capoccia? Where are we? We were at Capoccia. None of us had ever heard of that place before, but at least it was a glimpse of civilization. Without even realizing it, I took a dirt road on whose sides there were piles of rusty road signs. “That’s where they end up!”, I thought. Capoccia was the cemetery of road signs. A “oneway only” coupled with a “no thoroughfare”, a “U-turn” and a pitiful generic “San Foca- Torre dell’Orso”, our sign! Anguished, we kept quite. Suddenly, a powerful beam almost blinded us. It’s a sign of God, I thought. It was only the tractor of a tired farmer. His name was Gigi. Gigi brought us out of there, he offered us some wine and told us which way to go. We had left home at midnight, at 4 we finally got to Bonaventura, without following a single road sign. People of Salento dislike metallic signs. We prefer to talk to people, to help foreigners and if a pile of metal prevents us from doing so, then we find our own Capoccia and bury it. So go and find your own Gigi and in 50 minutes you will get everywhere.

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uselful numbers /// /// emergency services

/// first-aid

Carabinieri 112

Hospital “Vito Fazzi” Lecce 0832 661403 - 0832 661111

Police 113 Firemen 115 State Forestry Department 1515 Revenue Guard Corps 117 Ambulance 118

Hospital “Ferrari” Casarano 0833 505204 - 0833 508111 Hospital “San Giuseppe” Copertino 0832 930405 - 0833 936111

Sea Rescue 1530

Hospital “Santa Caterina Novella” Galatina 0836 529203 - 0836 529111

Breakdown Service / Official Receiver 335 257142 - 0833 867621 (nightly)

Hospital “Sacro Cuore di Gesù” Gallipoli 0833 273787 - 0833 270111

Children Emergency Line Children 19696 / Adults 199151515

Hospital “Michela Tamborrino” Maglie 0836 485000 - 0836 420111

Regional Waterworks 0832 224211 - 800 735735 ENEL Energy Provider 800 900800

Hospital “San Giuseppe Sambiasi” Nardò 0833 568303 - 0833 568111

/// car rental

Hospital “I. Veris Delli Ponti” Scorrano 0836 465151 - 0836 420111

Sixt 0832 303517 Maggiore 0832 428483 Rollo 0832 300184 AVIS 0832 228585 Automat 0832 312109 AVIS Brindisi Airport 0831 418826 Hertz Brindisi Airport 0831 413060 Maggiore Brindisi Airport 0831 418155 Sixt Brindisi Airport 0831 411253 Europcar Brindisi Airport 0831 412061 Thrifty Brindisi Airport 0831 413711 /// taxi in Lecce piazza Mazzini 0832 246150 Train Station 0832 247978 piazza Sant’Oronzo 0832 306045

Hospital “Card. G. Panico” Tricase 0833 545201 – 0833 544104 /// other services Chamber of Commerce of Lecce viale Gallipoli - 0832 684111 Customs of Lecce via del Mare, 93 - 0832 458303 Prefecture of Lecce via XXV Luglio, 1 - 0832 6931 Public Prosecutor’s Office - Minors Lecce - 0832 311727 Police Headquarters of Lecce viale Otranto, 1 - 0832 6931

Salento Summer Guide  

Events and places in Lecce and Salento. Restaurants, bars, food, monuments, beaches and festivals during summer.