TravelGuide Otranto: Guide Otranto: Italy - Nozio 0%

Author: Francesco Crippa

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Otranto, Italy

Otranto is the "gateway to the East", the eastern most point in Italy and one of the peninsula's best hidden treasures. Strategically located, its history is full of visitors, conquerors and invaders.
Repeatedly invaded by the Turks, it was ransacked in 1480, commemorated each year at the festival of the blessed martyrs. The cathedral (presumably built in 1080) houses a magnificent floor mosaic and the relics of the 800 men who were massacred because they defied the Turks.
The Otranto castle (1485) was built by the Aragonesi and immortalized by the British writer Horace Walpole, who wrote the first Gothic novel in history (entitled "The Castle of Otranto").
But Otranto's charm is best expressed in the village, one of the most beautiful in Italy. The bare stone paving, the typical Southern houses painted with bright colors, the natural port, the sandy beach and Monte Carlo Magno and Minerva hills with their breathtaking views...and the history in every corner in Otranto.
Entering through "Porta Terra" leads you directly to Piazza Basilica to admire the Cathedral. From here, lose yourself among the narrow alleyways parallel to the sea, especially Corso Garibaldi with its antique stores, souvenir shops, local products and restaurants.
St. Peter's Basilica, behind Piazza del Popolo, is the best example of a Medieval church of Byzantine origin in Apulia.
Just a 10 minute walk away outside the village you'll find Torre Pinta, a beehive tower named after...a pint of beer. Hypogeum (ancient underground tombs also found in Umbria, Sicily and Sardinia) are hidden under the tower with rows of small cells used to hold burial urns and niches used to breed pigeons, lit by the light filtering through the vegetation. The site is private property but you can ask the owner to take a look.


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