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Melpignano is situated in the middle of the province of Lecce, and it is one of the municipalities that form the Greek-speaking linguistic area known as Grecìa Salentina. In the last years, Melpignano has become famous thanks to the mega-concert “The Night of the Taranta”, and it is part of the “Authentic Villages of Italy” and “Virtuous Municipalities” associations.

Every year, thousands of visitors are drawn to Melpignano by the authentic beauty of the historical centre with its artistic monuments, as well as the cultural vitality and warm hospitality of its inhabitants. For centuries, the agricultural economy has driven Melpignano society as evidenced by the vast fields of olive trees. These groves blend synergistically with the rural architecture, typical of the peasant civilisation, such as dry stone walls and pajare-stone huts. In these large green spaces, one can still admire important structures linked to the ancient agricultural society.

An example is the farmhouse “San Loi”, or “Sant’Eligio”, dating back to 1576. On the facade you can still see clues of typical defensive fortifications, such as the characteristic machicolations placed above the main entrance. Near the building one can also find the dovecote tower, used in the past for the meat supply and also guano gathering, a valuable natural fertilizer. The countryside presents many stone quarries, situated in the direction of Cursi. They are known in local slang as “tajiate” and they have been used for centuries for the extraction of Leccese limestone, the raw material used for the most important Salentinian architectural structures and sculptures. This type of stone is of calcareous origin and it belongs to the Miocene period, when millions of year ago the Salento was partially submerged by the sea. The ease of processing this limestone allowed the great flowering of the Leccese baroque in the Salentinian territory. It is not a coincidence that this Leccese limestone is the leading feature of the historical centre of Melpignano, evidenced by elegant and sophisticated baroque patterns.

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