As the Prior x Cabana Caravan prepares to roll into Salento, Cabana's Editor-in-Chief, Martina Mondadori, shares her favorite spots and hidden corners for anyone considering a trip to the glorious southern Italian region.



A constellation of many small towns, the southern Italian region of Salento makes up a fraction of Puglia; technically speaking, it is the 'heel' of Italy's 'boot' when you look at the country on a map. Famous for its baroque architecture, with beautiful churches and palazzi diffused along the area, Salento also features glorious coastlines, excellent local cuisine and exceptional Puglian craftsmanship. There are endless corners to discover in this beautiful, ever-so-slightly-under-the-radar region, so I'm delighted to share some of my favorite spots in Salento.

Martina Mondadori, Editor-in-Chief

Where to Stay

Il Convento Puglia: The beautiful Convento di Santa Maria di Costantinopoli in Marittima, near Otranto, is the former home of the late British politician and author, Alastair McAlpine, now run as a super stylish bed & breakfast by his wife, Athena. The chicest spot to stay in the region, Il Convento features many of McAlpine’s artefacts and collectibles throughout the rooms and communal areas.

Palazzo Daniele, Gagliano del Capo: Set in a 19th-century palazzo in the centre of the small town of Gagliano del Capo, Palazzo Daniele is a very charming retreat with beautiful interior details, such as wonderful decorative tiled floors, an orangery and several open-air courtyards. Between November and March, you can also take over all nine rooms and have the palazzo to yourself.

Palazzo Maresgallo, Lecce: For those who want to stay in the heart of the city, look no further than the elegant Palazzo Maresgallo in the Lecce's historic center. Its 12 rooms are both grand and comfortable, while the palazzo has beautiful architectural features, and countless charming spots to shelter and relax in. 

Castle Elvira, Trepuzzi: A slightly more contemporary option, Castle Elvira was built in the early 20th-century before being abandoned for 100 years. Following a major renovation, the castle - in the small town of Trepuzzi, near Lecce, has reopened with a handful of beautiful suites set within 37 acres of olive and citrus groves.



What to See & Do

For me, the best thing to do while in Salento is 'town hopping': visiting all the beautiful villages and towns spread across the region. Below are my favorite towns, and a note of advice: once you know where you’ll be staying, ask the hotel concierge (or, even better, the local bar in the main piazza) which local markets happen and when. Expect flea markets full of wonderful vintage ceramics, as well as local food market with the most delicious vegetables, nuts and dried fruits. 

-Lecce: Don't miss the Old Town's beautiful Baroque streets.
-Galatina: A hidden gem, just south of Lecce, full of elegant palazzi.
-Otranto: Be sure to visit Otranto's beautiful Cathedral.
-Gallipoli: Visit the cathedral, walk into the town center, stroll by the sea. 
-Maglie: Don't miss the Duomo and nearby village of Morigino.
-Muro Leccese: This small town has an amazing main piazza with two mirror-image Baroque churches facing each other.



Where to Shop

Tulsi Shop, Marittima: A lovely clothing and lifestyle boutique owned by the very chic Deborah Nolan; also sells antique textiles and accessories.

Nina Leuca, Lecce and Santa Maria di Leuca: Gorgeous clothing and homewares, all curated by Salento-born founder, Benedetta Rossi (Nina).

Le Costantine: An artisan weaving workshop that employs and trains local women; a lovely setting where you can buy hand-woven textiles and rugs.

Giaquinto Tessitura, Gagliano: Handcrafted fabrics and embroidery made for three generations with ancient shuttle looms.

Rivesto Italia, Lecce: For beautiful, locally-sourced antique Apulian ceramics.



Where to Eat

Anima e Cuore, Galatina: Excellent Salento cuisine in an 18th-century building with wonderful interiors and antique mosaic floors.

Il Ragno, Sannicola: A really great local pizzeria.

Puritate, Gallipoli: A much-loved Salento institution, serving excellent seafood and panoramic views in one of the oldest villages in Gallipoli.

Il Bastione, Gallipolli: Fine dining and expansive sea views.

Cantina Coppola, Gallipolli: A very atmospheric restaurant and wine bar, set within a historic vineyard and farm, owned and cultivated by the Coppola family since the 15th-century. The estate also organises wine tours.

Taverna del Porto, Tricase: An exciting, stylish new opening. 


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