Salento is the easternmost territory of Italy and here live the Salentinians, descendants of the ancient Messapians. In every small town there are ancient vestiges, underground oil mills, baroque churches, a baroque, bright and musical, more similar to that of Latin America than the Roman throne.
Narrow and winding streets overlooked by courtyard houses, Moorish palaces and many watchtowers on the coast to defend the Turks. Just outside the village the characteristic red earth, dry stone walls and small paiare. This is a land of centuries-old vineyards and olive trees, austere and wrinkled, and foliage disrupted by the warm sirocco and a thousand chirping cicadas. Le radici antiche si mostrano nelle feste locali: la “Fòcara” di Sant’Antonio a Novoli, la “Pizzica” tarantata in tutto il Salento, la “Danza delle spade” a Patù, la “Festa te lu Mieru” per la vendemmia a Carpignano Salentino e le processioni, the religious rites and the innumerable patronal feasts.
This is the Salento, human warmth, inspiration and imagination, an unsurpassed manual ability that takes shape in the meticulous perfection for details in baroque, embroidery, papier-mâché, inlay, wrought iron and Cutrofiano ceramics. A generous land that has always exported first fruits, oil and wine. Here is produced the Negroamaro soft taste, strong and elegant, a place in continuous evolution, that knows how to combine the natural riches with solar sobriety of the people who live here.
In an increasingly busy world we need Salento. Hinged between Europe and the Mediterranean, kissed by two seas: the Adriatic with its high and rocky coast exposed to the north wind. The Ionian Sea, more sheltered in the west with shallow and sandy shores.
The village on the northern edge of the province of Lecce, overlooks the Ionian Sea in the territory of the Arneo toponym indicating a territory rich in water.
The testimonies of the ancient origins are the vestiges of "Scalo di Furno", the Roman marble columns lying on the bottom near Torre Chianca, the statue of "Thot" the Egyptian god and many fragments of Roman amphora in the creek of the Island of Rabbits. "Scalo di Furno" is a settlement of the Bronze Age (18 sec.a.c.), a protohistoric village with huts protected by a wall towards the ground, irregular boulders about 2,5 m. Pliny the Elder (24-79 AD) in the "Naturalis Historia", mensiona the locality as "Sasinae Portus" ie Port of Sasina founded, between the tenth and eighth centuries BC, by a population of skilled sailors and fishermen, from the island of Saseno, island in the bay of Vlora, fierce opponents of Gallipoli to which contended fishing and fishing areas. In Roman times the port was an important port for agricultural products of the surrounding area.
THE STATUE OF THOT
January 1932 near the "Malva" rock, some fishermen catch a statuette in the nets with the appearance of a monkey. Professor Giulio Farina, director of the Egyptian Museum of Turin, at the Archaeological Museum of Taranto recognizes in the find "Thot", an Egyptian divinity in the form of a monkey, assigned to the passage of time, protector of the Scribes and of the cult of the Dead. The statue dating back to the 6th century BC, which arrived on the Ionian coasts with a shipwrecked Roman ship, is now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Taranto.
THE ROMAN COLUMNS
Off the coast of the Torre Chianca inlet, in 1994, the Archaeological Superintendence of Puglia brought to light, at a depth of approximately 5 metres, five monolithic columns in cipollino marble, approximately 9 meters, and up to one meter in diameter. This marble used in the monumental architecture of ancient Rome was usually imported from the East. Probably semi-finished products to be completed. The location and parallel arrangement indicates a shipwreck dating back to the first centuries AD.
SALENTO TERRA DI MEZZO
Near Greece and Asia Minor it hosted the people who came from these territories, the language called "Grico" still spoken in Salento, it is an ancient legacy.
Here the first "Byzantine rural units" called "chorion" equipped with defense towers called "pyrgoi" and the Basilians dedicated to agricultural crops spread the olive tree, the Mediterranean plant par excellence.
The pirate raids and the presence of malaria exerted a heavy depression on the Arneo territory until the 11th century when the Normans arrived, conquered Nardò and thanks to the port activities they granted Cesarea administrative autonomy.
Frederick II of Swabia had the fate of the territory at heart, creating a series of defensive outposts, towers and fortifications from Gallipoli to Avetrana. In the mid-13th century, Porto Cesareo developed its port activities with total administrative autonomy under the Angevins.
At the end of the 14th century it became a dependency of the Principality of Taranto and annexed to the crown of Naples. Subsequently governed by the Aragonese and alternately by the Angevins, it was subjected to an unbearable taxation of boats and fish.
The construction of the new and larger church towards the end of the 19th century dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Perpetual Help marked a certain embarrassment for the Cesarini, for them the saint to be venerated and an object of worship since 600 was Santa Cesarea which had its own little church. The tension between the two Venerables is still felt today and is made evident in the calendar of religious celebrations, those for Santa Cesarea have a place of honor. The inhabitants of Porto Cesareo reserve a special celebration for the Saint with great participation.
The celebrations see the procession at sea with the fishing boats and boats of the town. While on the mainland there will be lights, carousels, sweets kiosks, trinkets and fireworks.
The procession is celebrated on the penultimate Saturday of August, at the head is a vessel adorned with palms, flowers and flags, the statue of the Saint is placed at the bow while the religious authorities and civilians, so slowly the floating caravan crosses the body of water in front of the town.
The following day, Saturday, there is plenty of luck in the early hours of the afternoon, the challengers must take a cloth placed at the end of a bowsprit fixed to the keel of a fishing boat moored in front of the Cesarea Tower . Made slippery, it forces many participants into an inevitable swim.
VIRGIN OF PERPETUAL SUPPORT
The celebrations for the Virgin of Perpetual Help are celebrated between Friday and the first Sunday of July. The procession on land takes place on the afternoon of Friday Eve.
In the first decade of July the Pro Loco of Porto Cesareo organizes the Fish Festival with tasting of the fish and local products. On this occasion are awarded boats with the best catch and fishmongers for the best fish.
On 10 and 11 August, the San Lorenzo fair with an exhibition of crafts and art.
THE WEEKLY MARKET
Thursday is market day so on the Riviera di Ponente under colorful umbrellas find beautiful exhibition clothing, shoes, household items and food specialties.
TODAY CESAREAN PORT
Today it is a beautiful tourist reality with numerous boats dedicated to fishing and a flourishing fish market that supplies Lecce and the province.
The beautiful sea, the sandy coast and shallow waters for tens of meters have allowed a generous development of hospitality, catering and tourism services.
We arrived at Camping Torre Castiglione after crossing half of Puglia! I never imagined to find a crystal clear sea and so much friendliness! The Campsite looks like an oasis...
An excellent structure, clean, tidy, and well organized, pitches completely equipped with sunscreen protective cover that can please or not please but that guarantees an adequate breakage from the scorching heat of Salento, the sea...
Structure kept excellently and very well located. Equipped with direct access to a beach with the crystal clear sea of Salento is already lucky in itself. Excellent organization of the structure that makes the cleaning...
Wonderful experience.. the sea speaks to them by itself, but also everything else... I think it is not easy to have a structure so large, and take care of all the details...but I must say that the toilets were many and always clean...
Great experience is a beach is a beautiful sea, a special thanks to Maurizio night watchman of the beach that made us always feel safe even with children. To return.