Tour in Ape Calessino

Panoramic city tour in Otranto

Tour 1

Panoramic city tour. (this tour does not include stops and explanations).
Tour duration approximately 15 minutes.

Price: € 20,00

 guided tour of some characteristic places of the City of Otranto

Guided Tour 2

It consists of a guided tour of some characteristic places of the City of Otranto:

Idro Valley, Caves of San Giovanni, Capuchin Convent, Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare, Il Fascio, Le Garitte, the White lighthouse, the Aragonese Castle and the Santa Maria Annunziata Cathedral.

Tour duration approximately 20 minutes.

Price: € 30,00

Discovering Otranto in an Ape Calessino

Guided Tour 3

It consists of a guided tour of some characteristic places of the City of Otranto:

Idro Valley, Caves of San Giovanni, Capuchin Convent, Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare, Il Fascio, Le Garitte, Il Faro Bianco, Aragonese Castle and Santa Maria Annunziata Cathedral.

Tour duration approximately 30 minutes.

Price: € 40,00

Sightseeing tour of Otranto in Ape Calessino

Guided Tour 4

It consists of a guided tour of some characteristic places of the City of Otranto:

Idro Valley, Caves of San Giovanni, Capuchin Convent, the Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare, the Fascio, le Garitte, the White Lighthouse, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Martiri, the Bastions, the Aragonese Castle and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata.

Tour duration approximately 45 minutes.

Price: € 50,00

Visit to the Bauxite Quarry or Lago Verde in an Ape Calessino

Guided Tour 5

It consists of a guided tour of some characteristic places of the City of Otranto:

Port, Serpent Tower, Pope's Cross, Bauxite Quarry, Sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Martiri, The Bastions, the Aragonese Castle and the Santa Maria Annunziata Cathedral.

Tour duration approximately 60 minutes.

Price: € 60,00

Ape calessino tour to the Punta Palasc├Ča lighthouse, the easternmost point of Italy

Guided Tour 6

It consists of a guided tour of some characteristic places of the City of Otranto:

Sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Martiri, Abbey of San Nicola di Casole, Baia dell'Orte, Lighthouse of Punta Palascìa, Pope's Cross, Bauxite Quarry, Port, Serpent Tower, Bastions, Aragonese Castle and Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata.

Tour duration approximately 70 minutes.

Price: € 70,00

Idro Valley:

the Idro is the river of Otranto to which the city probably owes its name (the ancient Hydruntum). It is a large deep valley, visible as soon as you enter the town; it runs snaking from the hinterland towards the sea and, at the end of the valley, the rarest pearl: Otranto. Here the terrain is not rocky, but the very soft sedimentary rock was first excavated by the river, and transformed into fields cultivated by man. Along the sides of the valley there are a large number of crypts, rock churches and ancient houses which testify to the human presence in these places since the beginning of our civilization

Caves of San Giovanni:

The caves of San Giovanni, in the district of the same name on the outskirts of Otranto along the ancient route that led to the Alimini, represent a vast and complex underground system once intended for use as an oil mill, today barbarously disfigured and mutilated by building speculation and construction of some small road arteries that divide it clearly into two halves.

Capuchin convent:

The monastic complex with the adjoining church of S. Maria Maddalena was built in 1594. Only the rooms on the ground floor and a small roof on the first floor have been preserved of the convent. The church has a single nave layout with the presbytery area highlighted by the triumphal arch and, presumably, covered with a barrel vault. The left nave of the church remains standing, of which the remains of the original Baroque style decorations are recognisable, marked by round arches with molded frames and quatrefoil motifs above. The existing openings in the facade of the nave lead into as many quadrangular side rooms, covered with a barrel vault.

Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare:

Built in the 17th century, it was rebuilt in 1744 as recorded by the epigraph on the facade. Perched on a tufaceous spur that descends directly into the sea, it is dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The interior, with a single nave, features the altar dedicated to the Virgin. All the decorations recall the maritime tradition: the mosaic floor is decorated in the center with a star of maritime tradition, surrounded by Savoy or figure-eight knots. All the furnishings, even the lighting, recall the themes of the sea: from the seahorse to the dolphin, from the anchor to the shell, the latter bringing together a double symbolism: linked to the sea on the one hand, linked to the iconology of perfection on the 'other.

Santa Maria Annunziata Cathedral:

Dedicated to Santa Maria Annunziata, it was built in the 12th century on the previous settlements of the Messapian, Roman and early Christian eras. Consecrated on August 1, 1088 by the Papal Legate Roffredo, under the papacy of Urban II, it is the largest cathedral in Salento. The façade with two slopes on the sides and two single-lancet windows shows a Renaissance rose window in the center which was redone by Archbishop Serafino da Squillace following the liberation of the city from Turkish rule, which lasted 300 days from 1480 to 1481, the period in which the Cathedral was transformed into a mosque. Of a basilica shape with a Latin cross plan (53 m long and 25 m wide), it is divided into three naves by 14 marble columns with capitals, abachi and echini, on which arches rise, it has a vast bema and three semicircular apses. In 1482, the right apse was enlarged to create the Chapel of the Martyrs of Otranto. The roof has trusses covered by a gilded coffered ceiling commissioned, together with a triumphal baroque arch and the arrangement of the remains of the Holy Martyrs of Otranto in seven marble cases, by Archbishop Francesco Maria De Aste. The mosaic floor, created between 1163 and 1165, under the reign of William the Evil, commissioned by Archbishop Gionata, bears the signature of the presbyter Pantaleone. It is the only mosaic floor from the Norman era to remain intact in Italy and shows a gigantic arbor vitae which constitutes a true medieval summa translated into images. Inside you can observe allegorical figures such as the Ascension into heaven of Alexander the Great or King Arthur, themes from the Old Testament such as the Tower of Babel, the Great Flood, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, a medieval calendar, Hell and Paradise. The Crypt (11th century) has three semicircular apses and forty-eight bays interspersed with over seventy elements including columns, semi-columns and pillars that support the transept of the Cathedral. The peculiarity lies in the diversity of the support elements, coming from ancient and early medieval buildings, from the various figurative repertoire. To the right of the altar there is the fresco of the black Madonna Odegitria.

The Aragonese Castle:

The castle of Otranto, which gave its name to the first Gothic novel in history, is in close relationship with the city walls with which it forms a single defensive system. Built by Alfonso of Aragon between 1485 and 1498, the castle was designed by Ciro Ciri with the advice of Francesco di Giorgio Martini. At the time, in Piazza Castello, where the building is located, there were fortifications dating back to the period of Swabian domination with the addition of adjustments made by the Turks around 1480. Under Aragonese jurisdiction, the castle was surrounded by a high moat and the architect Ciro Ciri renovated the military structure together with the city walls. The current Castle presents a facies resulting from various transformations that took place starting from Ciri's renovations, but it was in the second half of the 1490s that the Castle[27] was radically transformed together with the Porta Alfonsina thanks to the work of Francesco di Giorgio Martini[28] through the creation of the four massive cylindrical corner towers. Later in the sixteenth century the escarpment was added leading to an organic plan in 1578. In fact, on the side of the building overlooking the sea, a spear bastion was added with external bulwarks to spot the arrival of enemy ships and fleets . The noble shields of Antonio de Mendoza and Don Pedro of Toledo, then lords of the city, are engraved on the bastion, while the coat of arms of Charles V is sculpted on the entrance door.

Church of Santa Maria dei Martiri:

The church of Santa Maria dei Martiri, with the adjoining convent of San Francesco di Paola, was built starting in 1614 in place of a pre-existing structure commissioned by Alfonso of Aragon, in memory of the terrible massacre of the nineteenth-century Otranto inhabitants that took place here. The architectural structure of the building is in Renaissance style, while the altars are Baroque. Among the paintings there is a large painting by Lavinio Zoppo from the second half of the 16th century depicting the Otranto massacre.

The Serpent Tower:

It is believed that its construction dates back to the Roman period and that the tower had the function of a lighthouse and was restored in the Frederician age following a strategic strengthening desired by Frederick II himself. The name is linked to an ancient legend that tells of a snake that climbed from the cliff every night to drink the oil that kept the lighthouse lantern lit. At a certain point the inhabitants of Otranto set an ambush for the monster, killing it and the snake's companion, knowing this, climbed the tower, wrapped herself around it and squeezed it until it was destroyed. Another legend has it that a few years before the capture of Otranto in 1480 the Saracens had headed towards the Salento city to sack it, but on that occasion too the snake, having drunk the oil, had turned off the lighthouse. The pirates without reference points passed on and attacked nearby Brindisi. It falls into the category of towers with a circular base and truncated cone shape: partially ruined, only one wall and the scarp are visible, i.e. the expansion of the base to give a greater support surface to the walls that rise in height. This tower is constantly present in the imagination of these places, so much so that it has entered the coat of arms of the city of Otranto where it is represented with a black snake that wraps around it.

The Bauxite Quarry or Green Lake:

The former bauxite quarry and the lake are located south of Otranto near the Orte bay. Bauxite, the mineral from which aluminum is obtained, was shipped from the city port towards the Porto Marghera factories, where it was processed. The deposit was discovered in the 1940s thanks to the chance discovery of a large mineral by a student. The quarry was definitively abandoned in 1976-78 due to the expensive extraction process. The presence of a water table, encountered during the excavation phase, led to the formation of a small lake. The surrounding area was therefore enriched with aquatic and marshy plants such as marsh reed.

The Alimini lakes:

The ecosystem is home to numerous plant and animal species and is characterized by the presence of two basins surrounded by vegetation. The two basins are connected through a canal and give rise to a warm humid microclimate throughout the area. Rare plant species grow, including the marsh orchid and the water chestnut.

The lighthouse of Punta Palascìa:

It consists of a cylindrical white stone tower, 32 meters (105 feet) high, with a balcony and lantern rising from a 2-story white building. The lantern is positioned 60 meters (200 ft) above sea level and emits a white flash over a 5-second period visible 18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi) away. The lighthouse is fully automated and operated by the Navy and is identified by the code number 1983 EF. The lighthouse and signaling identification code of the Italian Navy is 3596. It is one of the five Mediterranean lighthouses protected by the European Commission. It is open to guided tours for visitors, particularly on New Year's Eve, as it is located at the eastern tip of Italy where the dawn of the New Year can be seen before the rest of the country .