Luxury holidays in Salento
A golden (literally) triangle, with vertices in coffee-coloured Baroque beauty Lecce (AKA the Florence of the south), fishing village (and sea-urchin central) Gallipoli and the tip of Italy’s heel, Salento is as south as south goes here. It’s officially part of Puglia, but comprises the peninsula right at the end of the region. Independent of Apulia, Salento has its own identity to be proud of and its towns have a different feel to (relatively) more northerly places, such as Ostuni and Fasano. Where the Ionian meets the Adriatic, Otranto has a mediaeval castle, cathedral and tower. If you’re hoping to stockpile ceramics, don’t miss Grottaglie. Right at the tip is a place where Italians can’t help but get emotional at: Santa Maria di Leuca, the geographical knee-high boot’s official endpoint. Salento is also the beaming owner of Roman and Greek ruins, limestone cliffs, rocky and sandy beaches, and hill-top forts.
When to go
High summer brings both heat and crowds seeking sun, sand and seafood. In the shoulder seasons (May and September), it can be a little damp; and stormy late Septembers are not unheard of.