Torre San Giovanni

Halfway between Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca, Torre San Giovanni is an enchanting seaside resort overlooking the Ionian Sea.

Torre San Giovanni owes its name to the presence of a defensive watchtower dating back to the XVI century, such as in many other places along Salento coastline, by the will of Charles V of Hapsburg and used to counter the Saracen pirates coming from the sea. The building, that in the past was also used as a lighthouse to indicate to the sailors the presence of shallows, today presents itself outside with a curious black and white checkerboard pattern.

Despite Torre San Giovanni is a hamlet of the bigger Ugento, it has a very lively centre, with restaurants and boutiques which enrich the main street. In summertime, the town is enlivened with traditional celebrations, such as the Sagra della Puccia, that celebrates a typical local bread kneaded with the delicious local olives.

The celebration of Madonna dell’Aiuto is, instead, a religious celebration: it takes place in august and its most spectacular moment is the sea procession.

A vacation in Torre San Giovanni must include a trip to Ugento, a Salento town of Messapian origin. Besides the Diocesan Museum, hosted in the suggestive underground of the Cathedral and which exhibits, among other things, precious statues of saints made of papier mache, the Civic Museum of Archaeology, hosted in the Franciscan monastery, deserves to be visited: the symbol of the museum is the bronze statue of the Poseidon of Ugento, a copy of the original, today preserved in the MARAT of Taranto, from Ozan, important Messapian city upon which Ugento was born.