Castrignano de’ Greci
In the small Salentino centre, with a population of almost 4.000 inhabitants, there is de’ Gualtieris Castle, a castle belonged to Gualtieris family, the last lords of Castrignano, with a linear style, but with some fine details elegantly manufactured. A visit to the Parish Church named after Annunziata is also worth..
Castrignano de’ Greci is situated in the area called Grecia Salentina, a place in which tradition and history meet, and where an ancient dialect, Griko, is spoken. This dialect is unique: dating back to the Greek-Byzantine domination, it influenced the culture of this territory of Salento.
Grecìa Salentina includes a series of Districts, very close one to another for geographic and historical reasons: their past is marked by the presence of the Ancient Greeks. After Castrignano de' Greci, the most renowned Districts are Melpignano and Corigliano d'Otranto. Let us mention the other small centres of the area: Calimera, Carpignano Salentino, Cutrofiano, Martano, Martignano, Soleto, Sternatia e Zollino.
Melpignano and the Taranta Night Festival
Melpignano is a very little District, whose name might be referred to the Muse Melpomene. The little Salentino centre is famous to host the closing concert of the Taranta Night Festival. In Melpignano’s historical centre there are Dolmen, Menhir and courtyard houses. The palace Marchesale de Luca is one of the spots to visit, like also San Giorgio square, the former Agostinian Convent and San Giorgio Church.
Corigliano d’Otranto is an ancient and charming village, with the splendid baroque Comi Palace and the Cenobio Monastery. There is also the main Church entitled to San Nicola, realized in the second half of sixteenth century and restored around 1700 following baroque style.
A remarkable monument is Arco Lucchetti, a portal built at the end of 1400, like de’ Monti Castle.
Martano is only 4 km far from Castrignano de' Greci. Different dominations passed by one after the other during the centuries, even though the Greeks left the strongest stamp. Prehistorical settlements of the Bronze Age are witnessed by Menhir San Totano and, on the road to Calimera, by Specchia dei Mori, also known as Specchia del Diavolo.
Among the historical buildings, there is the Castle, realized around XV century, commissioned by Ferdinando and Alfonso d'Aragona, and reworked several times over the centuries. There are four main churches among the religious buildings: the parish church entitled to Madonna dell'Assunta, the Church of Immacolata, the Church of the Madonnella and the Dominican Church with the Convent.
Zollino is another little village in Grecìa Salentina, which importance is linked to the presence of a Menhir, renamed Menhir di S. Anna, witnessing the existence of a prehistoric culture in the area. There are many different spots to visit in this village: the Middle Age main church Chiesa Madre devoted to SS. Pietro e Paolo; the baroque S. Anna Church; San Lorenzo Church, by the lost Apigliano hamlet, where an inscription dates back to the Greek domination.
Otranto e Castro
Only about 20 Km away, there are two pearls of the Adriatic: Otranto and Castro Marina. Otranto with its Aragonese Castle and the beautiful Santa Maria Annunziata Cathedral is one of the most desired destinations of Salento. There are a lovely historical centre and the local beaches where to relax. A few minutes away, you will find Castro, which is famous for its coasts and for the presence of ancient caves, including the most known Grotta Zinzulusa.