West surprises between land and sea

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cantine e castelli

On the Ionian side of the High Salento, after exploring the sea side (https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/clear-fresh-and-soft-waters/) it is no less the inside, to visit in the late afternoon, in the light of sunset that makes everything gold color: churches, palaces, castles. Do not miss a visit to Copertino Castle, one of the city’s landmarks along with the wine. Built on a previous Angevin Fortress, the Castle of Copertino, it is one of the most impressive defensive structures of the Salento area. Richly decorated Renaissance doorway, while inside the courtyard deserve to be “discovered” St. Mark’s chapel frescoed by Gianserio Strafella, the Mannerist painter from Copertino, and Santa Maria Maddalena chapel.

Designed by Evangelista Menga, architect of Emperor Charles V, the castle today presents another particularity: the ramparts, as five centuries ago, when on the highest terraces growing vines and olive trees to resist in case of siege, they were planted by Cantina Cupertinum (Via Martiri del Risorgimento 6, tel. +39 0832 947031 – www.cupertinum.it – cantinacopertino@libero.itcontatti@cupertinum.it), historical company of the Apulian wine, Negramaro vines. The first harvest is expected in the next year, but meanwhile the vineyard on the fortified walls has become a reason to visit the beautiful castle of Copertino.

Nardò also boasts a valuable historic center which is a real triumph of Baroque art, thanks to Piazza Salandra, a concentration of works of art including the spire dedicated to the Immaculate of the fifteenth century, the City Palace, the Sedile. There are also many churches that testify the undisputed religious and artistic value of a town already in 1413 became seat of the diocese: the imposing Cathedral, the Church of San Domenico, the Church of St. Tryphon, the Church of St. Anthony and the monument of Osanna near Porta San Paolo. Again, we do not miss the castle designed by Giulio Antonio Acquaviva, Duke of Atri and pupil of Francesco di Giorgio Martini. It lost its look of grim manor, as the Guercio di Puglia wanted it after the Neretina revolution of 1647 broke out in conjunction with the popular revolt led by Masaniello in Naples, when it was the subject of a major remodeling that transformed it into a civilian residence of the family Personè in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

The city tour can end at a table in the historic cellar Schola Sarmenti (Via G. Cantore 37, tel. +39 0833 567247 – www.scholasarmenti.it – info@scholasarmenti.it) where you can try one or more of the twelve labels produced from vines planted sapling with specimens boasting up to 80 years of history. The wines produced from native grapes such as Fiano, Primitivo and Negroamaro enclose a full heart of a terroir caressed by the breeze of the two seas, then resting in large steel tanks beneath the vaulted ceilings of the top of the cellar or in French oak barrels hosted in the suggestive underground spaces to four meters below ground when used as tanks for storing wine.

The kind and prepared Martina has accompanied us in the tasting and tour of the winery that, after a painstaking restoration lasted three years, has been restored to its former splendor of winery built in the mid nineteenth century. The Marra and Calabrese families have strongly wanted to resurrect after 50 years of neglect, this symbol of Salento oenology that inside, plus cellar and barrel room, also has a cozy lounge where guests can taste the local cuisine in combination with Schola Sarmenti labels, for a full and satisfying taste experience.

Going back towards the sea of St. Isidore, a white crescent beach with the turquoise and shallow and transparent waters perfect for families, must stop at the Masseria Bellimento (coastal Santa Caterina – Isidore , tel. +39 327 6929376 – bellimento@live.it) for the purchase of very tasty cheese and dairy products due to the wild pasture of cows that is not difficult to see the sunset over the dunes and onto the rocks to Torre Squillace. Then there are two alternatives: the aperitif at Ristorante Pizzeria da Rocco a few steps from the sea tower view at sunset (Torre Squillace, tel . +39333364 2457) or raw seafood and octopus meatballs almost pied-dans-l’eau byMare Blu at Torre Sant’Isidoro (Via Leuca, tel. +39 338 3406810 – +39 333 3060115 – info@ristoranteblumare.it) with the possibility to choose directly from the benches of the fish inside the room.

Also strongly recommended a boat trip departing from Porto Cesareo along the coast to Torre Lapillo, Torre Castiglione and then to the Isle of Rabbits: to also try the experience of fishing tourism can go out to sea with Giovanni Colelli and his Sparviere (Pescaturismo Sparviere, Porto Cesareo, tel. +39 338 9983491 – www.pescaturismopervivereilmare.it). You can not miss the bathroom in these protected and crystal waters and a swim on the water with the mask to admire the Roman columns resting on the bottom for ages in seagrass meadow, a real biological rarity that provides oxygen, shelter and food to many marine organisms. Among these, the only body up to now known capable of reversing their biological cycle and to escape death: the little idromedusa “Turritopsis nutricula” from the maximum of 2 mm diameter when it reaches sexual maturity after having played instead die, sinks to the bottom and is transformed back into the juvenile stage octopus from which it was generated. At a time when the environmental conditions are favorable, the polyp develops a new phase of jellyfish, and so on, indefinitely. In short, a sort of phoenix but not rising from its ashes, but from the bottom of the sea.

 

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