Otranto is set on a rocky spur of the Salento peninsula on Italy's most easterly coastline, 45km from Lecce, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Otranto's ancient city centre has been recognized by UNESCO as a “Culture of Peace Messenger Site”. The Lungomare degli Eroi at the foot of the ancient city centre holds a Monument to the Martyrs, sculpted by Antonio Bortone. From here, stairs lead down through Porta Alfonsina to the old town with its Aragonese Castle and Cathedral, which contains precious mosaic floor and the relics of 800 martyrs killed by the Ottomans in 1480.
The town’s surroundings include an emerald green lake set amidst the coral-coloured hills of the Bauxite quarry, while the imposing Lighthouse of Punta Palascia is the first place in Italy to welcome the first dawn of the year.
Mythological landing place of the hero Aeneas, Porto Badisco preserves the pictograms that decorate the walls of the Grotta dei Cervi, called the “Neolithic Sistine Chapel”.