The Salento peninsula is set at the bottom of Italy's heel and is defined by honey-coloured cliffs, azure bays and silvery olive groves. The region is home to some of the prettiest towns and cities in Italy, including gems such as Otranto and Gallipoli.
Lecce is one of the largest settlements on the peninsula and is filled with gorgeous Baroque buildings. Stroll around the historic old town and enjoy hearty “cucina povera” dishes at local restaurants. The well-heeled resort of Santa Maria di Leuca features postcard-perfect sandy beaches and elegant Art Nouveau villas. Other towns have a distinctly Greek flavour, with favourites including Calimera, Castrignano dei Greci and Zollino.
Salento is dotted with centuries-old churches, cathedrals and archaeological sites that showcase the peninsula’s ancient past. Magnificent Otranto Cathedral dates back to the 11th century and combines Romanesque, Byzantine and Christian architecture. The floor is decorated with an incredible tree of life mosaic.
Salento is located in southern Italy, a 4.5-hour drive from Naples and six hours from Rome. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore the peninsula at your own pace. Train stations are located in Lecce, Gallipoli and other major towns and villages. Bari International Airport is a two-hour drive north.