Galatina, Salento : Our Lady of LightAn ancient town, originally a Greek colony dedicated to the Greek goddess of wisdom, Minerva, Galatina is in the south east of the peninsula, 20 kilometres to the south of Lecce. In July 1793, by royal decree, Galatina was elevated to the status of city. Known as the “City of Art “ it has a population of about 29,000, and is proud of it’s history and architecture. The outlying villages of Noha, Collemeto and Santa Barbara belong to the city of Galatina.

Galatina, City of Art, Salento, PugliaThere are three entrances (gates) to the old city. On the west of the city, rebuilt in 1795, at the beginning of Via Gallipoli, taking its name from the nearby church and shrine of “Our Lady of Light” is the “Porta Luce”. Above the arch you can see the emblem of Galatina embedded in stone.

On the north side of the city, entering on Via Turati at the crossroads with Via Caracciolo is the “Porto San Pietro”, also with the emblem engraved above the archway.

The third “doorway” to the city is the delightfully named “Porta Cappuccini”. Built in 1725 to the east of the city walls overlooking Via Guiseppina del Ponte, near the beginning of Via Corigliano.

Sleeping in the hot summer sun, and in common with other historic old towns there are many churches to be visited. Other architecturally interesting buildings include :

Palazzo Orsini – Via Umberto I, 40  Built at the end of the sixteenth century, originally a hospital of St Catherine, next to the convent and the Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the Palazzo Orsini is now the city Town Hall.

Doge’s Palace or Castle (XVI) – Piazza Alighieri, 13  In the heart of the city, overlooking Piazza San Pietro, Piazza Alighieri and Via Cavoti, this noble house was built when the land of San Pietro in Galatina was given  to the family Castriota-Scanderbeg by King Ferdinand I of Aragon. Between 1654 and 1674 it was the residence of the Archbishop of Otranto Adarzo de Santander.

What’s happening in Galatina

On Thursdays and Saturday there are local markets and on the 3rd Sunday of each month an Antiques market is held in Piazza Alighieri.  During May and June the old town celebrates “Galatina in Blossom” when the town is decorated with flowers and courtyards and town gardens are open.  During the summer, “Summer Galatinesi” provides musical entertainment in the piazza.

Galatina, lunch at Le Tre GrazieOther events include

  • City of Galatina music (band) event – first week of July
  • Medieval Night (old town) – second half of July
  • Watermelon feast (Collemeto)- last 10 days of July
  • Peppers and Aubergine festival (Collemeto)- second week of August

Of course a visit to Galatina would not be complete without eating out in a local restaurant where many traditional local dishes are served! And don’t forget to sample the local wines, including the gold medal awarded “Galatina Negroamaro – DOC”.

We recommend Le Tre Grazie Wine Bar and Restaurant.

Le Tre Grazie