Salento was a territory of conquest and looting. The municipality of San Cassiano itself is a small village born around the year one thousand following the destruction of the town of Muro Leccese by the Saracens.
Salento is located in the center of the Mediterranean, a land bridge between East and West, a point of transit and fusion between Greek and Latin culture, the place where the signs of these millennial passages have stratified.
Salento Trail was designed to embrace our landscape as a result of different processes between history, culture and natural beauty. A journey that we will make by bike, our passion but also our dream tool. We want to give you unique moments, a new experience, a journey to find yourself or a journey to get lost and to make it an object of contemplation.
It starts from the hinterland, through the Salento countryside, among the rural architectures made of pajare and dry stone walls, a journey north-east up to the Alimini lakes. We will head further north on the cliffs overlooking the sea of Torre dell’Orso which surround a large stretch of beach. From here our itinerary will continue south through pine forests and tunnels in the vegetation, trees and shrubs shaped by the wind with the classic flag appearance. Thus we will arrive in Otranto.
Pedaling south the coast road will be our backbone but with incursions inland we will touch Dolmen and Menhir, ancient Messapian walls, to then pedal on Romanesque cobblestones. The Calabrian-Sallentina appian way divided Salento from east to west, a two-lane infrastructure where the smooth pavement still bears the ruts of the cart roads.
Old farmhouses, medieval villages, fortified farmhouses and holm oak woods that now represent the relict strips of the ancient oak forest that covered the entire Salento.
The olive grove was the planting crop that gradually replaced this ancient forest that structured a landscape and stopped the clock of time for several hundred years.
From Capo di Leuca (where Italy begins) we will go up our peninsula to Marina di Ugento.
The route will always have the sea as its background and background. Here, in Salento, the sea mixed with the wind has a strange effect. Contemptuous and pungent north wind, salty and morbid wind that of the sirocco. But there are many other shades!
From this point we will take more inland roads dominating our “Greenhouses“, climbs that are a little gentle and a little arduous, with dry, short and hard climbs, almost as if we wanted to quickly reach the sky or conquer our perched villages like Specchia. Towns defended by towers or thick walls, towns with a beating heart and with the floor of the historic centers polished with bright white stone.
Finally, down towards the plain, inside the Paduli with its canals and reclamation works, monumental trees and labyrinthine streets.
It is our last stretch of the journey where we can rethink our experience.