Italy
Otranto

Here you’ll find travel reports about Otranto. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

17 travelers at this place:

  • Day11

    Otranto II

    June 22 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Heute verlassen wir unser Ressort wieder. Die zwei Ruhetage waren angenehm, doch sind wir froh, weiter zu kommen. Mit diesem Wochenende setzt nämlich die Hauptsaison ein und das Hotel hat sich ziemlich gefüllt.
    Ehe wir unsere Reise nach Grottaglie fortsetzen, kehren wir noch einmal zurück nach Otranto. Hier wollen wir die Kathedrale besichtigen, denn diese hatte während unseres ersten Stopps geschlossen, denn in Italien halten auch Kirchen Mittagspause. Grund für den kleinen Umweg sind die Bodenmosaike in der Kirche, die aus dem 12. Jahrhundert datieren.
    Anders als bei unserer Fahrt nach Santa Cesarea Terme wählen wir heute einen Weg durchs Binnenland. Dabei entdecken wir im Vorbeifahren einen Dolmen (Dolmen Li Scusi bei Minervino) den wir selbstverständlich besichtigen müssen. Dolmen sind in Apulien häufiger anzutreffen und dieser ist ein gut erhaltenes Exemplar.
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  • Day8

    Otranto am Absatz des Stiefels

    June 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Von Lecce machen wir uns auf, um den Absatz des italienischen Stiefels, die Halbinsel Salento, weiter zu erkunden. Otranto ist wohl neben Lecce einer der touristischen Hauptorte hier. Zumindest empfiehlt uns die nette Mitarbeiterin der Tourismusinfo von Lecce, dass wir dort Quartier nehmen sollten, hier gäbe es zumindest Restaurants.
    Wir fahren mit dem Auto durch endlos scheinende Olivenplantagen. Hier weiter im Süden sind diese eher braun als grün. Die Bäume sterben ab. Grund dafür ist das Bakterium Xylella Fastidiosa, das die Pflanzen befällt. Eigentlich müsste der Bestand komplett vernichtet werden, doch die Bauern haben sich bislang dagegen erfolgreich gewehrt.
    Otranto selbst ist ein nettes Hafenörtchen, das vom Tourismus geprägt ist. Hübsch sind das Castello, die Kathedrale aus der Zeit der Normannen (1088 geweiht) und die von einer mächtigen Mauer umgebene Altstadt. Da finden wir die für die Region typischen Keramikläden und allerlei andere hübsche Sachen. Doch wir bleiben (noch) standhaft!
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  • Day8

    Cabo Otranto

    June 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    An der schmalen Küstenstraße zwischen Otranto und San Cesarea Terme liegt das Cabo Otranto, das durch einen aus den 1870er Jahren stammenden Leuchtturm markiert wird.
    Wir klettern den Weg vom Parkplatz hinunter, um diesen schönen Ort zu genießen.
    Dann geht es weiter der Küste entlang, allerdings nicht weit, denn wir halten gleich wieder diesmal an einem der Torre, die alle paar Kilometer an den Klippen thronen. Eine Erinnerung an die Zeiten als die Küste Apuliens immer wieder Ziel feindlicher Übergriffe war. Dieser Turm, der Torre Minervino, aus dem 16. Jahrhundert ist noch recht gut erhaltenen.Read more

  • Day11

    The Deep South (Part II)

    April 11 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After leaving Leuca, we were both very excited to visit Grotta Zinzulusa, a series of coastal caves that apparently offers astounding rock formations. The caves were about a forty-five-minute drive north from Leuca and the entrance was at the bottom of a very narrow and twisting road with numerous switchbacks. When we arrived, the skies had clouded over, and the wind had picked up. We looked around, hemmed and hawed, did some internet research and decided we'd forego visiting the damp, cool caves and perhaps return to explore them some other time, when the weather is warmer.

    Brenda generously offered to buy us a spa visit in our next stop, San Cesarea Terme, where hot springs fuel the town's economy and we headed straight for Terme di Santa Cesarea only to find the spa closed. We figured it was likely just shut down for lunch, but a little internet research uncovered that visits at this time of year are by appointment only. Drat, once again foiled by our off-season travels!

    As we wandered around the town, we realized that literally NOTHING was open, except for Martinucci Dolci e Gelateria, a cafe and pastry shop that seems to have branches in every place we stop. I had a coffee and a panino for lunch, served to me by one of this restaurant's typically miserable staff. Unlike every other establishment we visit, where service has been friendly and welcoming, at Martinucci belligerence seems to be a prerequisite for working there. At least the panino and coffee were good.

    As we traveled North, we were struck by the presence of dry-stone walls everywhere we looked. Surely, tens of millions of stones were used to create these walls that, in Puglia, were built to define landowner's boundaries. Stonemasons must have been very, very busy in those days.

    Our last stop on our 'round the heel tour was Otranto, which deserves a blog all to itself. I have nonetheless attached a few pictures here because I have far too many to share and each of these blogs allows me to post only six photos.

    Until tomorrow!
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  • Day11

    Otranto, the Far East

    April 11 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Next to Lecce, Otranto is the most beautiful and historic city we've visited so far. It's lighthouse, located about 5 kms south of the old city, marks the easternmost point in Italy.

    We managed to find a parking spot a few hundred meters outside the walls of the old city, which is considerably smaller, but no less of a maze, than Lecce. Once we crossed the drawbridge into the old town, we were transported back in time by the aged castle walls, the massive fortifications, the well-worn stone footpaths, and the awe-inspiring places of worship.

    Of all the churches and cathedrals we've seen thus far, the Otranto cathedral is, by far, the most, .............hmmm............interesting. The cathedral was founded in 1088 and the main entrance is adorned with an ornately carved rose window and a coat of arms supported by two angels. Once inside, one’s eye is immediately drawn to the mosaic tile floor that depicts various biblical scenes from the old testament as well as medieval and mythological beasts, all intertwined in a tree of life showing the human experience from Adam and Eve to the Salvation. The mosaic was created between 1163 and 1165 by a group of artists led by Pantaleone, a Basilian monk. For more detailed photos of the mosaic, click here:
    http://www.italianways.com/the-great-medieval-mosaic-of-the-otranto-cathedral/

    On the right-hand nave of the cathedral is the Martyr's chapel, that contains, encased in three glass displays, the bones of 813 residents of Otranto who were executed for refusing to convert to Islam when the city fell to an Ottoman force in 1480. Gruesome! The martyrs were canonized in 2013 by Pope Francis.

    Below the main floor of the cathedral is a crypt that dates to the original 11th century church and contains seventy marble columns of different design, that represent all the cultures that have held the city. There are also several original frescoes, including one of the Madonna and child, that date to the same period.

    After leaving the cathedral, we wandered through the streets of the town as the shops slowly reopened after their afternoon lunch break. We stopped for a beer in a charming little cafe while we waited for a sudden rainstorm to subside.

    We ended our day with pizza at Horus restaurant where my pie was so large, I had to doggy bag a quarter of it home. While we were in the restaurant, some very serious flashes of lightning constantly lit the sky and the thunder crashed. The skies opened and the rain was coming down in torrents. Of course, I had left my jacket and umbrella in the car, which we had fortunately moved closer to the restaurant. With no end to the rain in sight, I dashed off to the car, picked up Brenda in front of Horus and we hit the road home. Rather than take the short, direct route through the winding backroads, we detoured through Lecce to stay on the highway, which was a good decision since the downpour only let up after about twenty minutes into our drive.

    And thus ended our exploration of Puglia's Adriatic coast.
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  • Day46

    Otranto and down to Italys heel

    May 16 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    After a smooth sailing, we have decided to head south from Bari to find a little farm stop on the coast and are grateful to see sunshine, though the rain does still threaten to follow us. We find a Lidl (supermarket of choice for this whole trip due to purchases at other unnamed supermarkets such as 4euro punnets of tomatoes, 3euro loaves of bread and bottles of wine costing more than 4euros!!) and pick up some new italian snacks and after taking 3 fuel stations to figure out how to actually get fuel out of the pump, the rest of the journey is without drama.

    We arrive to a very quiet field with a few other campers and as the sun is still out (!) we decide to find the tiny cove beach that the campsite points us to. For some reason we decide to take the pushchair to the beach (?) and so obviously find that the path is totally impassable due to a huge muddy puddle! After some more crystal maze-style attempts by me and Amelia, with me falling in the very gross-looking puddle, we make some planks of wood into bridges and find the lovely little cove.

    The sea is warm, but the rain still looms so we do some den building, I make a tiny dent in clearing the absolute ton of plastic that is covering this little cove, and we head back for some dinner.

    Our first experience of Italian camping and we are reminded what we’ve read about the electricity ampage in Italy (Croatia’s campsites were all pretty modern so we’d forgotten what low ampage meant) - it takes us about 2 hours to cook a really simple meal and we have two very hungry (bit luckily distracted by other children with balls and frisbees)!

    We decide to head straight on the next morning, Amelia is now sporting a big swollen eye, we guess that pile of ants that they kept playing in might have liked the taste of them both as they both now have a fair few new bites - a few doses of piriton in case it’s a reaction!

    On recommendation of the campsite lady we take the long route around the coast to get to the east side of Italy’s heel (and luckily there’s only one ‘can we make it through that road?’ incident) - it is a beautiful coastline with tiny coves, lots of rugged cliffs - we are amazed at how some of the buildings and houses are built on the very edges as though they will fall in at any minute, with stunning views over the Adriatic Sea, we make some stops on the way around to find caves where bears live(!!) and views of beautiful ports!
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  • Apr26

    Otranto

    April 26 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    Then we drove to Otranto on the sea, the eastern most city of Italy.
    We walked to a restaurant in the castle for lunch…
    Crumbed Mussels with sundried tomato, pecorino, garnished with mint and dill and served on squid ink
    Spaghetti with sea urchin
    Sea bass with spinach and lemon sauce
    Lemon custard with hint of raspberry, mint, olives, and bits of biscuit
    Everyone agreed it was the best meal yet.
    Then a tour of the city including great views of the ocean. Two churches of course, one of which had cabinets of skulls of unfortunate people! The guide went with me to buy paracetamol and throat lozenges.
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Otranto

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