The scenic walled town of Otranto in Apulia is fascinating and rich in history: its stone paved streets, its alleys leading to the sea, and its ramparts make visitors swiflty fall in love with Otranto. The small Byzantine Basilica of S. Pietro, dating back to the 10th century, preserves precious Byzantine paintings and a magnificent mosaic floor from 1088 that resembles an oriental tapestry. On the other hand, the Aragonese Castle (1485-1489), encircled by a moat, will be of great interest for those who enjoy history and military architecture. In Otranto culinary country traditions meet those of the sea: try orecchiette with sauce meat or sharp ricotta cheese, octopus cooked “alla pignata” -in the typical clay potand spaghetti with mussels. Pietra Pertosa, Basilicata. This remote village is located at the end of a steep road, surrounded by sharp pinnacles, sloping rocks and dramatic ridges, inside the Park of Gallipoli Cognato. Ancient mansions with splendid portals lead to the heart of the village, the Arab quarter: here the old houses are nestled between rock walls, along side a small kasbah. While visiting Pietrapertosa the Mother Church, on the higher side of the village, is a must-see: dedicated to San Giacomo Maggiore, the building is the result of many alterations since its construction in the fifteenth century, and has a unique look. The cuisine features mountain influences: the rafanata, a spicy omelette prepared with horseradish and cheese, is a local favorite, along with roasted lamb and cured pork cold cuts.

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