The area of Salento is separated from the rest of Puglia by an indistinct line which is not so much an actual border as a cultural, affective and symbolic boundary. In the course of time, many have attempted to cross this line into the area for the privilege of being part of this unique community, where even the dialect differs from those of Puglia.
This is a place, in fact, that through language also has gradually created its own distinct and complex identity, far-removed from stereotypes and rich in jealously-preserved traditions. Its origins are denoted in the etymology of its name, which is thought to perhaps derive from the word salus, salt – the salt of the sea, but also of the earth, which in places is blood-red, due in part to a special clay and the various minerals of which it is composed.
Salento is a peninsula within the peninsula, a region within the region, which extends along a strip of land down the heel of the ‘boot’, stretching eastwards between the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, the first part of Italy to see the sun rise.
This is the ancient Messapia, the land between the two seas. An exposed and vulnerable land, fragile and strong at the same time, its position in ancient times made it an ideal centre of trade and international exchange from the ports of Gallipoli and Brindisi, but also frequently the subject of expansionist initiatives.
Here different cultures and religions have intersected, while art has made use of such local materials as Lecce stone to consign to eternity its magnificent architectural creations, its Baroque volutes.
Here the Basilian monks fled from Greece after the persecution, to continue cultivating their spirituality in solitude. These hermits, like the Alcantarini monks, imbued the land with a unique type of sacredness and spirituality, recognising the Terre di Corillo area as an ideal place for meditation and the care of one's soul.
We have merely followed in these footsteps to carry on this ancient story.