Galatina, the beauty in its DNA

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Galatina

No hidden treasures in Galatina. In fact, they are just waiting to be discovered. And they actually deserve to be, as Galatina is a beautiful town with a well-defined personality and a captivating charm. No coincidence this is the city of the tarantolate: in the small chapel of St. Paul is hidden the miraculous well whose water in past centuries freed women affected by the spell of the tarantula, that is, from the spider bite that made them possessed.

The heart of the city is the large square with the Church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, with the baroque façade. In the streets nearby a series of noble palaces one beside the other there are two magnificent eighteenth-century mansions now used for guests of all nationalities. Palazzo Pindaro (via Ottavio Scalfo 40 – info: +39 339 1763688 – +39 349 2176866 – info@palazzopindaro.it) expresses the eclectic personality of its owner Laura Grignani, tireless traveler who has recreated her casual and friendly style, in the six apartments overlooking the exterior courtyard and on the interior one that houses the large pool set among the high walls that protect the guests from indiscreet eyes. On the same side of the street Palazzo Mongiò dell’Elefante della Torre (via Ottavio Scalfo 44-46-48 – info: apalazzomongio@gmail.com), private residence open to hospitality and arts, after the painstaking restoration carried out by the owners, Christian Pizzinini and Antonio Scolari.

Galatina is also the town that has the treasure of the magnificent fourteenth-century frescoes of the Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, Franciscan church inspired by the canons of the umbra architecture. For the richness of its frescoes is defined the Assisi of the South. It was built between 1369 and 1391, by will of Raimondello Orsini del Balzo who, according to the legend, returning from the Crusades brought a finger of the saint which had been torn with teeth. The relic, set in a silver reliquary, is still kept in the treasury of the church.

Among the Baroque and Rococo buildings, is worth a visit the gallery of contemporary art A100 ( Piazza Alighieri 100 – info: +39 0836 56.74.91 – + 39 335 7224233 – info@a100gallery.it) . Located on the first floor of a twentieth century building it is a place open to seminars and workshops with the artists. The space, thanks to its recent restoration and a wise use of colors, welcomes the guests in an ambience which is halfway between London and Salento that fully reflects the personality of the creator and owner Nunzia Perrone. She has a passion for the contemporary art and the right courage to open a gallery in a time like this and in a territory such as Puglia, traditionally not open to the art market.

If you are looking for a good bite to grab, Galatina will not disappoint you. From the Drogheria Stifanelli, an old fashioned shop of local treats (Via Vittorio Emanuele 16 – info: +39 0836 569 853 – info@stifanelli.com), to the celebrated Pasticceria Ascalone (Via Vittorio Emanuele 17 – info: + 39 0836 566009) where losing yourself in the pasticciotto, a custard pie invented right here in 1745. And when it is time for a proper lunch or dinner you can head to Restaurant Anima & Cuore on the first floor of the eighteenth-century Palazzo Tondi-Vignola with small rooms with mosaic floors and a large terrace that overlooks the square of the church dedicated to the patron saints (Corso Garibaldi 7 – info: +39 0836 564 301 – animaecuore11@libero.it). The perfect after lunch or after dinner is the “walking chocolate” at the Eros Bar by Luigi Derniolo (Piazza San Pietro 9 – info: +39 0836 566100 – erosbar@libero.it).

(Traduzione di Monia Saponaro)