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Giurdignano with its 1.900 inhabitants is part of the Union of Towns named “Terre d’Oriente” and it is situated in the Salentinian territory, a few kilometres from Otranto, on the central-eastern side of the province of Lecce.

Justifiably described as the “Italian megalithic garden” the town of Giurdignano is home to an incredible historical and monumental heritage. This dates back to the Iron Age and is visible in the abundant presence of dolmen and menhir which embellish the rocky landscape. The territory carefully preserves ancient vestiges of the Salentinian agricultural-pastoral civilisation and the countryside presents traces of the prosperous agricultural economy. In fact, it is visible in the well-kept olive trees and in the traditional rural structures such as the pajare and the dry-stone walls which mark and distinguish the surrounding landscape.

The perfumed breeze of the Strait of Otranto blows over the verdant countryside, where the olive trees grow spontaneously and form vast woods which extend throughout the surrounding territory. For centuries olive production has supported the economy of Giurdignano and still today the oil pressed from local olives excels in the Salentinian agri-food sector because of its legitimacy and exquisite taste. The abundance of the fruits of the countryside comes forward in the culinary tradition of Giurdignano, that lives on with passion and refinement in notable restaurants which animate the ancient village.

These typical dishes are the stars of the famous “tables of Saint Joseph”, an ancient custom of the territory of Otranto. In fact, on the 19th of March every year, on the feast day of the saint, the community of Giurdignano sets the tables with local delicious and wholesome dishes for the whole community. Formerly the tables of Saint Joseph represented a moment of Christian charity, evidenced by the convivial hospitality and the assistance directed towards the needy. The settlement of the area by man dates back to ancient times although the first archival sources concerning Giurdignano date to the Norman-Swabian period when the fiefdom was granted by Tancredi d’Altavilla to Niccolò de Noha.

The history of the community of Giurdignano is visible along the small streets of the ancient village; here one discovers the charm of the Salentinian reality and is enchanted with the warm colours of the buildings which stand out against the blue sky. The turbulent past of the Salentinian borders, during the Turkish attacks and incursions, is visible in the different buildings situated in the historic centre. “Vilei Palace” is an example: a turreted building dating back to the 16th century characterised by an imposing ashlar portal.

The history of Giurdignano is visible to visitors through its beautiful historic-artistic decorations which show its important past imbued with the italo-greek culture and the religious tradition still present in the life of the community. Visiting Giurdignano is like walking in the gardens of the Salentinian history, with a great sensitivity towards the tourist welcoming and the cultural valorisation.

città @perte in rete

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