Otranto is a town located on Italy’s Adriatic coast, in Puglia. It is now a days invaded every summer by the tourists, but before the rush, it’s a quiet and charming town.
You will discover the Aragonese Castle, rebuilt in 1485-1498: It has an irregular plan with five sides, with a moat running along the entire perimeter. In origin it had a single entrance, reachable through a drawbridge. Towers include three cylindrical ones an a bastion called Punta di Diamante (“Diamond’s Head”). The entrance sports the coat of arms of Emperor Charles V.
Don’t miss the Cathedral:
Built in the 12 C and altered in the15 C, it has an amazing mosaic pavement created between 1163 and 1165 by a priest, Pantaleone: the decoration in almost primitive shapes is fascinating both for the freshness of the colors as well as for the liveliness of the poses and the richness of the symbols.
In a chapel, you will find the bones and skull of the 800 martyrs of Otranto, killed during the Ottoman war in 1480.
The garrison and the citizens took cover in the Castle of Otranto but as it had no cannons for defense, it was soon conquered and the garrison killed.
On August 12, 800 citizens were taken to the hill of Minerva, now called the Hill of the Martyrs, and beheaded because they refused to renounce their faith. Their remains were taken to the cathedral and the skulls preserved in the altar piece as a prominent reminder of these 800 martyrs.
You can simply roam the lanes of the historic town, coming across picturesque scenes and view.
The center is enclosed within its defensive walls, which gives a real sense of history. The busiest lanes are lined with decent souvenir shops (ceramics, sandals, and so on) and with restaurants and bars.