Alternative Salento, the Messapia: between history, culture and the sea of ​​winter

Alternative Salento, the Messapia: between history, culture and the sea of ​​winter

December 6, 2018 0 By admin

The intensity of the light does not change, the sun is less hot, but the sea is even more immense, lonely and fills your gaze, while the landscape has strangely bright and unexpected colors. The charm of the Salento area acquires other characteristics, but does not lose beauty out of season, indeed invites you to look at it with other eyes and gives the opportunity to discover different spaces: art sites, historical, archaeological and territories of the hinterland impracticable during the warm months . So, after the summer period, salento does not “close shop” and continues to offer a lot. In autumn and winter you can fully enjoy the culinary and cultural traditions linked to rural life. Various routes that can be faced. Among the most interesting in terms of history, landscape, artistic and cultural heritage there are the Messapian areas. The Messapians were an ancient Illyrian population, which dates back to the eighth century BC, settled in the Messapia, or in the “land between the two seas” (this is very likely the signficate of the name given to the territory by the Greek historians) These areas are located between the Murgia and Salento.

Salento, Muro Leccese. Discovering the Messapian Earth

Leaving the sea behind you and pointing the navigator to the north you reach Muro Leccese, an excellent landing point and departure point to discover the Salento hinterland. Two baroque churches face each other on the two opposite sides, but we are not in Piazza Navona, but in the particular square of this splendid village of 4 thousand inhabitants, which was one of the most important messapic centers. This town, which is located in the central-southern part of Salento, 16 km from Otranto, can also offer an alternative stay out of season, on the trail of history and tradition. The visit can start from the small but precious Museo Diffuso Borgo Terra. It has recently presented a new exhibition, an important milestone that unveils “the secrets of the Messapian city”. The permanent exhibition located on the lower floor of the Palazzo del Principe extends the Museum, established in 2004 and the only museum dedicated to the Medieval period of Salento. “One of the most important pieces of the museum – explains the archaeologist Francesco Meo – is the crater of the 6th century BC. C., the only whole in all of Messapia, is a fully reconstructed pot of prestige, which testifies to the presence of the aristocracy in the 6th century Wall, testimony of the political and economic value of the noble class in that period “. Another discovery of great interest, testimony to the intensity of the contacts of the noble Muresi groups with the cities of Ancient Greece in the Archaic period, is a late archaic noble house where 10 silver coins of the late 6th century BC were found. Two elements that characterize the preparation of the messapic section: each explanatory panel is written in two languages ​​Italian and English, and is equipped with a book in Braille which is flanked by a tactile path for the blind and visually impaired.

After the visit of the Museum it is advisable to go trekking to visit the area and enjoy the historical testimonies (among the organizations to report DieNneAvventura). It is interesting to cover a short portion of the Messapian walls, Muro Leccese probably owes their name to them, they are visible for a length of almost 1 kilometer in the countryside to the east of the modern center. They are kept for a height of 3-5 rows, corresponding to 2-3 meters. The course of time and the reuse of large square blocks in medieval buildings have significantly reduced the original height which, as in Egnazia, was about 7 meters. Walking then meet the menhirs, the most significant megalithic monuments, which since ancient times have certainly had a ritual function and thanks to the Christianization have remained intact. Passing from the historical testimonies to the culinary traditions, in Muro Leccese, it is an unmissable appointment and it is the one with the party of “lu Porcu meu”, which takes place from thirty-five years on the third Sunday of October. Dedicated to one of the tastiest meat, the pig, despite the past few years, retains its essence of fun, sharing and hospitality, ancient values ​​handed down by the Messapian civilization. L ‘# meet with the flavors of autumn gastronomy provides the traditional boiled meat, grilled meat, roast pork and other delicacies. It & # 039; then the historic “Cuccagna de lu Porcu meu”, a ritual that repeats itself over time and which has been able to conquer even the youngest, is unmissable.

A real gem not negligible and that helps to understand the historical and religious profile of Muro, is the church of the Dominican convent. The friars were called by Prince Giovan Battista I Protonobilissimo in 1562 and took possession of the sumptuous convent. Later the Prince’s wife built the monumental church that we still admire. Church and Convent were restored in 1996 to host the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union, held in the Italian Presidency Semester. San Domenico, convent and church, is the synthesis of the hegemony of Renaissance art in Salento. “Muro has the ability to enclose beauty, tradition, art and history in just a few steps, just walk through the center to enjoy all this – underlines the mayor Antonio Lorenzo Donno – but the thing that most characterizes it is that it has a community that does not is content, which preserves and cares for its wealth and is always active to innovate in the offer and satisfy even the most demanding tourist throughout the year “. In fact, there is no shortage of high-end restaurants, such as Nonna Rosa in Piazza del Popolo, where the chef Daniele Chiri offers fresh fish prepared with skill. High quality traditional cuisine also at the Messapi by Luigi Pedio. While on the hills of water lilies and children, not far from Giuggianello on the mountain of San Giovanni, the Fòllaro, a restaurant that works at Km0 and offers exquisite dishes between tradition and innovation, deserves a stop. The offer of resorts and bad and brekfast is also very rich. Among the many spoiled by the unique sweet and savory breakfast, proposed by Enrico and Annamaria among the ancient walls of Palazzo Muro Leccese.

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