May 25, 2024



Factors to do in Otranto, Puglia

7 min read

Otranto is a coastal town in the location of Puglia in southern Italy, not much from the easternmost issue of the Italian peninsula. My notice was initially drawn to this town soon after viewing a stunning picture of its medieval partitions fronting the Adriatic Sea. I investigated the town and figured out about its extensive and tumultuous heritage, stretching back to the 8th century B.C. (!), and produced a notice to pay a visit to it a person working day. For the duration of my vacation to Puglia in May possibly, I made confident to contain Otranto in my itinerary and I stayed there for two nights. I identified a gem of a town with an imposing castle, a maze of charming streets and an totally breathtaking waterfront. Examine on to come across out more about factors to see and do in Otranto, and where by to eat and continue to be.
A boat on the glassy waters of the Otranto harbour

A brief history of Otranto
Positioned about a 45-minute travel from Lecce (just one of my favourite towns in Puglia), Otranto (map) is detailed as a person of the most beautiful towns in Italy. A Greek settlement in the 8th century B.C., Otranto was then occupied by the Romans. It became an significant port and naval foundation owing to its strategic site. In the generations that adopted, Otranto was invaded by the Byzantines, Ottomans, French and a host of other powers who vied to regulate the japanese Adriatic. The siege and occupation by the Ottomans in 1480, throughout which fifty percent the town’s populace was killed, was particularly ugly. Otranto remained an appealing target appropriate up to WWII.
Alphonse Tower and the monument commemorating the Martyrs of Otranto (Ottoman Siege of 1480)

These times, the city is, in my ebook, 1 of the most effective places to take a look at in Puglia. Otranto is well known for its castle, walled city, harbour entrance, sandy seashores and crystal-clear turquoise waters, creating it definitely worthwhile to go to. It’s in particular chaotic through the sizzling, summer time months, so I propose traveling to Otranto in spring (May well-June) or autumn (September-October) when temperatures are additional agreeable and there are much less vacationers. Right here are my suggestions for points to see and do in Otranto:
Check out the Castle
The 15th century Castello Aragonese is an spectacular sight. The perimeter is surrounded by a deep moat and its towers offer amazing sights of the town and the harbour. Walk up to Torre Matta for pretty sights of the previous city partitions and the sea.
Aragonese Castle
The castle walls and moat
Wander around the maze of streets in the old city
The aged city, pretty much wholly surrounded by thick walls, is comprised of a maze of cobblestone streets and alleys interspersed by little squares. There is a plethora of outlets, cafés, wine bars and dining places as properly as several historic sights.
A avenue in the previous city
There are several regional handicraft outlets and wine taverns.
I beloved this put! 🙂
Walk alongside the harbour front
Go for a stroll along the harbour front and sea-walls to definitely respect Otranto’s gorgeous locale. The views of the harbour, with its multiple hues of turquoise, and the medieval walls are unquestionably wonderful. Start off at the ‘La Villa‘ park – never miss out on the beautiful ‘Il Pitosforo’ tree with its small-hanging cover – and keep on to Lungomare degli Eroi, the waterfront promenade.
Il Pitosforo tree in whole bloom
Lungomare degli Eroi promenade atop the town walls
From there, head for the Bastione dei Pelasgi (Pelasgian Bastion) and stick to the wall alongside Through dei Bastioni to Torre Matta. The sea sights are just spectacular! On apparent times, you are going to be ready to see the mountains of Albania in the considerably distance.
Perspective from the Bastione dei Pelasgi at sunset
Check out the Otranto Cathedral
The 11th century Cathedral, or Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata, is just one of the historic highlights of Otranto. Inside of, you are going to obtain an beautiful 12th century mosaic flooring and a gold-gilded ceiling.
Otranto Cathedral – my stop by coincided with a marriage ceremony!
The interior with the mosaic flooring
A close-up of the mosaic ground
Cathedral ceiling
The crypt is a solemn position, with 70 columns supporting beautiful arches. In this article, you are going to uncover a shrine consisting of the skulls and bones of a lot more than 800 citizens who had been beheaded in the course of the Ottoman Siege of Otranto (1480 A.D.) for refusing to transform to Islam. You are going to also discover lovely frescoes on some of the walls.
The crypt
Fresco in the Crypt
Admire the Byzantine frescoes
The Chiesa di San Pietro (Church of St. Peter) is a small church, tucked away in an alley above the Piazzetta de Ferraris sq.. In all probability built in the 10th century A.D., the church is a person of the southernmost Byzantine structures on the Italian peninsula. Inside, you will locate some of the most treasured Byzantine frescoes in Puglia.
Byzantines frescoes inside the church (image by Colar/Wikimedia Commons)

Take pleasure in the sea
After you lay your eyes on that gorgeous sea in quite a few shades of turquoise, you’ll definitely want to leap into its crystal-clear h2o. There are quite a few places in the town from which the sea is obtainable. Some are smaller, sandy beaches although other individuals are very little additional than concrete paths that operate together the medieval sea partitions.
Magnificent crystal-clear water
The closest sandy beach front is Spiaggia dei Gradoni (5-10 minute walk from the outdated town) which has a variety of services like solar beds and bogs. There are also various seashore clubs along this extend of sand.
Spaggia dei Gradoni – Otranto seashore in summer months (graphic by M.Virgilio/Unsplash)
At the Lungomare degli Eroi, you’ll location a smaller patch of sand termed Spiaggetta del Molo (or Children’s Seaside).
Spiaggetta del Molo, with Spiaggia dei Gradoni in the distance
Below Lungomare degli Eroi, the concrete pathway and wave-breaker blocks are common places for the locals to sunbathe and take pleasure in the crystalline drinking water.
The pathway under the walls is a community favourite for sunbathing on heat, sunny days (I was there in spring).
Indulge in classic Puglian cuisine
There are several restaurants in Otranto which serve marvelous Puglian (sea)food stuff and wines. In the outdated town, I endorse dining at Vicolo Matto Fishbar, L’ora di Mezzo and La Pignata.
Vicolo Matto Fishbar
Orecchiette with broccoli rabe, a usual Puglian pasta dish, at L’ora di Mezzo
A small generate absent, north of Otranto, I had a great seafood food at Ristorante Agriturismo “Il Diavolicchio Goloso” (map).
Il Diavolicchio Goloso is a 5-moment travel from Otranto
Delectable food stuff at Il Diavolicchio Goloso
Wake up to an awesome look at
I stayed at Palazzo de Mori, a magnificent lodge in the outdated city. The spacious rooms are scattered across various buildings and some boast fantastic views of the harbour.
My room at Palazzo de Mori
Every early morning, I woke up, opened the home windows and just gaped at the amazing sea perspective. 1 of my favourite moments there was breakfast on the terrace.
The perspective from my space
If you are driving and remaining in the outdated city, be aware that the aged town is for pedestrians only. There are different compensated and free parking lots found at the edges of the old town. If you are being in the previous city these kinds of as Palazzo de Mori, I suggest parking on the avenue (paid out) for 10 minutes and dropping off your baggage at your hotel prior to re-parking your automobile at a person of the extensive-time period parking lots. Palazzo de Mori has its individual parking area about a 10-moment wander from the resort.

There are lots of locations in close proximity to Otranto that warrant a for a longer period continue to be in the city. Just exterior the city, you’ll come across the aged Bauxite Quarry, which has grow to be a noteworthy attraction.
bauxite quarry (graphic by P.Chiabrando/Unsplash)
Just south of Otranto lies the easternmost place of Italy. This place at Punta Palascia is marked by a lighthouse.
Lighthouse at Punta Palascia (picture by M.Virgilio/Unsplash)
A bit even more south, the Costa Otranto Regional Nature Park is a wild coastal location with grass hills that gently slope down to the sea. Visitors are in a position to hike to the Grotta della Macchia (caves) and Torre Sant’Emiliano, the remains of a medieval watchtower.
The character park with Torre Sant’Emiliano in the distance
Just north of Otranto, the coastline is household to some of the ideal beaches and most attractive rock formations in Puglia. Baia dei Turchi, a wondrous extend of white sand, is the most well-liked seaside.
Baia dei Turchi (image by M.Virgilio/Unsplash)
I also propose a stop by to Torre Sant’Andrea, a bit further more north, to see its breathtaking rock formations. This spot is also a well-known swimming and sunbathing spot.
Torre Sant’Andrea (impression by M.Virgilio/Unsplash)
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