Salento: In the heart of the Tavoliere, between the Valle della Cupa and the Terra d’Arneo, you can cycle lightly on rural paths, among olive groves, dairies factories, wine cellars and the baroque architectural beauties.
From Lequile to Copertino to Leverano, discovering the countryside on the outskirts of Lecce, which gives shelter to the cyclist with quality food and wine productions and leads them to discover an unprecedented and secret Salento.
From Piazza San Vito take the road that leads to the nearby hamlet of Dragoni. After passing the town, you cross an artisanal area and a rural one, until you reach the intersection with the SP 125. After a short passage to the “Nuova Piccinni” artisan dairy (350 m on the left), go back towards the centre of Copertino.
Here we make a first stop at the “Cupertinum” winery, then we arrive at the Castle. Here you take via Sant’Angelo, continuing straight along the tree-lined avenue up to the SP 6, which you cross by taking the Strada Comunale dell’Olmo.
After 3.6 km you make a stop at the Magnifica Dairy (at the intersection with the SP 119), then turning left to reach the “Birra Salento” agricultural brewery in Leverano .
You then cycle back towards Copertino on the small road parallel to the ring road. Crossing the SP 17, follow the signs for Lecce (SP 6) and San Pietro in Lama (SP 16). After about 8 km you will find the laboratory of the ceramist Belliggiano Tiberio, entering the town of S. Pietro in Lama after 700 meters.
After passing the town, turn right to return to nearby Lequile.
- Technical Tips: The route is on asphalt and suitable for everyone. Only some sections, especially on the provincial roads, require some attention if approached during the busiest times.
Lecce, the city of the Baroque
Lecce is called the “Lady of the Baroque “, and it is precisely the Baroque art that characterizes the spiers, portals, churches, monuments and houses of the historic center. Crossing Porta Napoli erected in 1548 in honor of Charles V, you enter the old city.
- Piazza Sant’Oronzo: is the main square of Lecce, the city lounge, which has always been a meeting and meeting place. Shops, cafes, offices crowd the suggestive oval square whose pavement is adorned with a mosaic depicting the emblem of the city: the she-wolf under a holm oak tree and the crown with 5 towers.
- The Cathedral of Lecce stands in the homonymous square and represents the fulcrum of the religious life of the city. The Cathedral has two entrances, the main one facing the Bishop’s Palace and the other, on the left side overlooking the entrance to the Piazza.
- The Basilica of Santa Croce with the adjacent Convent of the Celestines (now the Government Palace) is one of the major architectural complexes of the city and above all, the most significant example of Lecce Baroque, especially for the opulence of the decorations on the main facade.
- Another of the specialties of this city concerns the fruits of the earth and the sea, which offer a myriad of typical dishes of the Salento culinary tradition; among the typical dishes we should mention the rustic Lecce, two discs of puff pastry stuffed with mozzarella, béchamel, tomato, pepper and nutmeg and the famous Lecce pasticciotto, which must be eaten strictly hot, there is an infinite number of delights to try prepared with almond paste.
The part of Salento that includes Lecce has become the most famous seaside destination in Italy. Among the most beautiful beaches in the world, we find: Punta Prosciutto, Punta della Suina, Porto Selvaggio and others, not surprisingly, all have names that refer to the Maldives and the Caribbean. But Salento is not just the sea: the villages, some very famous, even too much, such as Otranto and Gallipoli, stormed in July and August and to be enjoyed a little out of season. Then there are the less famous ones, but real stone sets not to be missed: Galatina, Nardò, Specchia.
Cover Image: Rivista BC