Itria Valley Tour
Our first stop is one of the main monuments in the Romanesque style in Puglia, Cerrate Abbey, founded in the twelfth century by Tancredi from Altavilla, the Count of Lecce. After leaving the abbey we continue for about 30 minutes by road to reach the second scheduled stop at the beautiful beach of Torre Guaceto and its "blue flag" awarded waters. We continue our journey heading north with the colours of the Adriatic Sea that accompany us on our right. Notice the landscape changing from the flat plains of Salento merging into first few hills of Puglia. One in particular stands out among the rest where you will see a small hill top town that almost looks like it’s capped with snow even in August.
This is the charming town of Ostuni, also known as the "white city" since the Middle Ages for its white lime washed houses, a local material easy to find but was especially
used as a natural disinfectant to prevent the town from the plague in the seventeenth century which struck the whole of Puglia.Piercing the heart of the Itria Valley, we pass through the villages of Cisternino and Locorotondo and we begin to see the first few Trulli in their agricultural settings before we reach their mother town of Alberobello. The story of these very special buildings is linked to a tax law dating from the Kingdom of Naples in the fifteenth century.
It is known that the nobility of the time imposed heavy taxes on any permanent structure.Thus, the theory goes that the peasant families, not able to bear the burden of this tax, built their dwellings so that they could be literally demolished at a moments notice. Because a conical roof depends largely on the ‘topmost’ stone to prevent the roof from caving in, the peasant owner was able to literally demolish their house simply by pulling this stone out.
Many of them today are small shops where they sell a variety of local handicrafts. Visiting and shopping accompany us until sunset when we take the trip back to Lecce,
leaving behind the white Limestone of mid Puglia and return to the warm lights that illuminate the baroque of Lecce.