Puglia is a world to discover through landscapes, flavors, traditions, culture. And not just in summer: for the climate and for the wealth, in addition to eight hundred kilometers of coastline, Puglia is a destination for all year. Full of scents, of moods, colors that, with the changing seasons, not forgiveness, but changed their spell. There are, then, the “pearls” like Galatina town to which there is no want to be a happy island tourism. Then if for some Puglia is just the beach, others are instead searching for his most hidden soul and in Galatina can find, between the Romanesque and Baroque palaces and farms.
Walking through the streets, captivated by impressive portals and balconies with rich balustrades, they then discover the courtyard houses, where the courtyards had their corresponding cloisters and gardens of nobles homes. Next to the simplest type are examples of the most monumental courtyard houses with the “mignano”, the richly decorated balcony that overlooks the entrance arch to the court. But it is the obligation to advance in the Old Town to look out in the Court Vinella that behind a massive rusticated arch hides one of the most beautiful homes in Galatina court. No sign indicates this magical place that dates back to the early ‘700 and which is characterized by the balcony railings and finely carved stone that look like lace. Also unique headless figure that welcomes those who enter: perhaps a knight with a shield in his hand which he finds himself lost his head nestled higher up the balustrade.
Back on the main road and follow it to the end, you will arrive in front of the Church dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, also known under the title of Our Lady of Grace, it was built on the city walls. Dates back to the early ‘700 and very special is its flattened octagonal shape: its very sober outside line, just move the elegant portal, it does absolutely portends wealth and sumptuousness of the interior with a coffered ceiling, six large windows richly carved and decorated with pairs of angels with cornucopias like a candelabrum and paper mache statues.
Of course in the space between the churches and palaces of Galatina can not miss the mother church dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul, patron saints and protectors of the city. Of particular interest are the frescoes of the vault, the Neapolitan Vincenzo Paliotti and the beautiful polychrome marble altars. Of great value to the ancient chapel of the Sacramento, the second half of ‘600, destroyed by the 1701 earthquake and rebuilt, in which stands the beautiful and suave statue of Our Lady Immaculate, in white marble, sculpture by Giuseppe Sammartino, the author of the Veiled Christ of the Sansevero Chapel in Naples.
Just a nod, as we have already discussed in a previous post (https://www.cittameridiane.it/galatina-la-bellezza-nel-dna/) on the Basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria overlooking the square Raimondello Orsini, dedicated to the man who had it built at the end of 1300 to provide a temple of the Latin rite to the part of the population who did not speak greek. The exterior of the church is clear Romanesque style with the facade adorned with three rosettes and a beautiful portal of Eastern mold topped by a bas-relief with Jesus and the twelve apostles. The interior is of gothic style with the walls and ceiling completely frescoed by painters probably Neapolitan school even if , in some paintings, emerges the giottesco feel mediated by the influence of the Byzantine local painters.
A completely different style to the small but fascinating Addolorata Church which is surprising for the magnificence of the ceiling, paneled, gilded stucco, and rich high altar where are placed polychrome stone and wood statues which have recently regained their bright colors thanks to a restoration that has eliminated the heavy coverage of lime that covered. Strange for a church the presence of four large mirrors in carved frame, decorated in pure gold on the two side walls that expand the space making it appear larger.
Lots of Galatina churches that deserve a visit, but time is running out and however many we should be content to see them from the outside as they are usually closed. So it was for the Carmelite church of which we could appreciate the facade, with stone portal and decorated with four niches richly decorated with statues of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, the first order, and with those of St. Teresa of Avila and St. Magdalen of Pazzi, to the top, while the portal, on the podium of honor, there is the figure of the Blessed Virgin of Carmel.
But, beyond the places, are the history and culture the thread of trips and unforgettable holidays. Travelling means to discover more of the others, but also of themselves. By becoming involved with stories that start from far away confused between mysteries and legends or folk cultures interwoven with sounds and traditions. To all this just add the flavors and strong fragrances and net of Mediterranean cuisine and a sense of taste for life that has few equals in Italy and in the world. In this regard we suggest two addresses to mark on the scratch pad: the timeless Pasticceria Ascalone (Via Vittorio Emanuele 17 – info: +39 0836 566009) for pasticciotti and fruttoni (shortly the post about these delights of Salento) and the Guest House Kaleidos (Via Pietro Siciliani 67, tel. 349 5844083-0836 1903729 – firstname.lastname@example.org), housed in an ancient family mansion with the convinced intention to create an oasis of rest and relaxation for travelers who like us love to accompany from their “hairy friends” who will find a five-star treatment, pardon, bones!