PIC INTERREG IIIA Greece - Italy 2000-2006 Axis 3.2 Project Code I3201060.


Second itinerary: from Gallipoli to Leuca

Gallipoli is the key stop in the Salento for the rites of Holy Week. In the “procession of the mysteries”, Mary of Sorrows is the focal point. The devout and the curious together participate with great emotion in her sorrow and experience a moment of intense involvement, magnified by the symbols of the Passion and the rituals of the penitent. In Alezio, the sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Alizza is an important place in Marian devotion. Tradition has it that the citizens of Gallipoli built the distinctive portico in front of the building as an act of devotion to the Madonna, who had protected their city when it was besieged by the troops of Charles I of Anjou.
In Collepasso, a woman from the region of Friuli who has settled in the Salento has converted a textiles workshop into a textiles school. Alida Castellan, teacher of weaving at the Istituto d’Arte in Parabita, has a workshop, today much reduced in size, in which the textile tradition is continually renewed. Her products are the fruit of her working relationship with contemporary artists: an exchange is generated in which the ideas of the designers are constantly adapted to traditional techniques.
Casarano, with the church of S. Maria della Croce di Casaranello, built in about 450 AD, represents a unique case in the Mezzogiorno. It dates back to the Marian fervour immediately following the council of Ephesus (431 AD), in which Mary was recognised as the Theotokos, the Mother of God. The Madonna della Serra in Ruffano is a staging post on the route followed by medieval pilgrims to S. Maria di Leuca. The landscape and environmental characteristics of the site make it a true place of the soul, in which the beauty of nature combines with an atmosphere of intense spirituality.
The tobacco processing plant in Specchia (currently a resort), which stands in the Cardigliano district, is an unusual example of its kind. It was a “borgo del tabacco”, a tobacco village, with dwellings for the workers and their families and for the owner, and all the agricultural and industrial services needed for the life of a small community. It was owned by the Greco family, who cultivated a relationship of detached familiarity with their female workers. On the 7th of December, the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, everyone in the community was given a ‘puccia’, the characteristic loaf made in the ovens of the village, which on that day replaced their usual lunch.
The Madonna di Belvedere in Barbarano near Morciano di Leuca was the penultimate stop on the pilgrimage before coming to the sanctuary of Leuca. Here, a long underground chamber, with wells and large niches excavated in the walls to form bunks, enabled the devout to slake their thirst, eat some food and rest before continuing their journey.
At “land’s end”, in Leuca, S. Maria de finibus terrae represents the Madonna of the sea, venerated by sailors and fishermen, who carry her in procession to the sea on Assumption day (15th of August). There is a tradition that every believer must travel to the Sanctuary at least once in their lives to pray to the Madonna of Leuca.


Community Initiative INTERREG III 2000-2006


PIC INTERREG IIIA Greece - Italy 2000-2006 Axis 3.2 Project Code I3201060

Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund