And where you ask is The Salento? It is the southern most tip of the boot heel. A part of the area known as Puglia, it is yet different from the rest of that area. Wife and I didn't even know where we were going to go next until just a few days ago. But after all our time in the Emilia-Romangne, Tuscany and Umbria, we knew we wanted something completely different. And this is proving to be it.
This area has a history unlike anywhere else in Italy with the exception of Sicily. It was part of the greater Greek world, then conquered by Rome and a part of that sphere. Invasions by the Goths and Lombards followed and then the Saracens. In the 9th century, Byzantium conquered the area and held sway for 150 years reinforcing Greek tendencies. There followed control by Normans from Sicily, French control via the Kings of Naples, Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon control again from Naples, etc.
But the Greek influence here is strong. We originally planned to go to three major towns that are well known. But our B&B hosts suggested a tour of local towns that have hidden gems. It was more than we expected...way more. In fact it was like Siena, I took over a hundred and twenty pictures and it took hours tonight to just go through them. I will have put them into more than one post I think. Looking forward to sharing it with you.