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Ugento, Province of Lecce, Puglia

ugento coatofarms Situated 60 km south of Lecce, on the low plateau called Murge, on a mostly level territory interrupted by stony heaps, with cliffs protruding over the sea. It is a very ancient town, as can be seen from the many archaeological sites in the area.

Info

  • Altitude: 108 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 12,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 73059
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0833
  • Patron Saint: St. Vincenzo, celebrated on 22 Gennaio and the SS. Medici on 27 October
  • Frazioni & Localities: Gemini, Torre San Giovanni

History

(The image represents the famous Jupiter of Ugento) The area was inhabited in prehistory, as shown by the paleolitic remains at the Doline di Ugento, and also in the Neolitic, with the cave settlements in the Artanisi and Don Cirillo grottos. Still before the Greeks colonized the area, it was known as Aoxentum, was a commercial port and belonged to the 12 Messapian Towns. In the 7th century BC it was part of the Magna Graecia, then under the Romans it became capital of a vast area, and the Portus Salentinus, today Torre San Giovanni, was an important Roman harbour, which is still visible today.

The fall of the Roman Empire started a decline, and the area was repeatedly sacked by Goths, Lombards and Saracens, to be in the 15th century united to the 8,000 inhabitants.

What to see

  • The 14th-century "Cripta del Crocifisso", all decorated with frescos
  • The "Museo Civico of Archeologia e Paleontologia Salvatore Zecca"
  • At Serra delle Fontane, not far from the town, the 12th-century church of Santa Maria del Casale, containing fine early medieval frescos
  • On the Lido of Torre San Giovanni, the 16th-century angevin towers, one used as a lighthouse.

Events and Festivities

  • First Sunday in February: Fair of San Biagio
  • 22 July: Sagra della Puccia, with music and food stands, the "puccia" being the typical bread of Salento
  • 26 and 27 September: Feast of the Santissimi Medici.

Where to stay