Torre Ovo, Torricella and Maruggio
Torre Ovo, seaside village of Torricella, is one of the most beautiful location in the northern Salento. It’s well known for its coastline and beaches and for its hidden beauty in the depths of the sea as well as a renowned cuisine rich in tradition. In the village there are many restaurants, clubs and shops.
Torricella, small village 30 km far from Taranto, was born in the XI century when a farmers and shepherds community abandoned the coast where raged the Saracen pirates raids. Today the village gathers around the imponent five towers castle, dating from the Aragonese period (XVth century), restaured many times. The surroundings are rich in olive groves, wheat fields and fig trees. The sheep farming is still a prosperous activity.
Maruggio, located between Manduria and the Jonian Sea, surrounded by "trulli", olive groves, vineyards and a crystalline sea, offers a remarkable historical and artistic heritage like the Chiesa Madre, St Mary of Graces Church and its cloister, Commander and Armieri palaces, dating from the XVIIth century. You can admire on the coast the lookout towers of Ovo, Moline and Borraco not far from the famous and wonderful beaches of Campomarino.
Manduria and Taranto
20 km far from Torre Ovo, rises the small city of Manduria, famous for the production of olive oil and wine (Primitivo di Manduria DOC). City of the misterious people of Messapians, it conserves the majestic walls dating from the Vth to IIIrd century b.C. There are testimonies of a more ancient past in the archaeological park and in many necropolis excavated in the rock. Its coastal strip includes some of the most famous bathing centres like S. Pietro in Bevagna and Torre Colimena, where the clear blue sea hides seabeds rich in fauna, flora and archaeological remains. You cannot miss the Fonte Pliniano, roman pit from which it's misteriously still growing an almond tree from centuries.
Situated in a strategical position from the commercial and military point of view, Taranto, facing the homonym Gulf, is called the "two seas city" as it's bathed by the Small Sea and the Big Sea (Jonian). In the old town there are many buildings of historical and artistic interest that present very different styles. Take a look to the Doric Temple ruins, the Pantaleo and Ayala Vanta nobiliary palaces, the San Cataldo Cathedral in the romanic and barocco style, the gothic San Domenico Maggiore church, the Aragonian Castle dating from 1492. We suggest a visit to the National Archaelogical Museum where are kept the famous Taranto's Golds (IVth century b.C.).
In the outback, between Taranto and Manduria, it's interesting to see the city of Grottaglie, famous for the artisan workshops of Majolica potteries with traditional drawings. Thereabout you will easily find many masserie (farms) that sell their excellent genuine products.