Salentine Greece is a geographical air-pocket which speculates on the Greek colonisation and the progressive Hellenisation of Southern Italy, it now includes the districts of Calimera, Castrignano dei Greci, Corigliano d'Otranto, Martano, Martignano, Melpignano, Soleto, Sternatia and Zollino, in the heart of the east Salento region, where traces of the Greek-Byzantine civilisation linger on and Griko, the idiom or dialect which is surprisingly close to modern Greek, still survives. If there is one thing which these villages have in common it is the survival or memory of Greek rites, which were widespread here until the 17th century, and of the Greek gloss, roots of which are buried in local toponymy and in the originality of the architecture (the communal courtyards painted in blinding white, the balconies, the rhombus shaped decorations), of the habits and customs which make this area the only one in the world and as such worthy of attention in terms of cultural tourism. No less than twenty castles make the Salento area itself into one huge fort, a rock-like bastion, which together with coastal towers and internally fortified farmhouses, have stood against the hundreds of invasions which through the centuries have made this region a conquered land or a land to conquer for Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese, Spanish, Venetians and Saracens.
At Salento, there is tourist accommodation available in hotels, farm holiday,
farmhouse, residence self-catering accommodation, b&b, rooms for rent, holiday
homes, camp sites and tourist villages.