Matino PDO takes its name from one of the most intact and authentic villages of Salento. Walking through the historical centre of Matino, through narrow and winding streets, you will find white houses, baroque palaces and suggestive underground oil mills. The elegant Cathedral is dedicated to San Giorgio while among the palaces the most imposing is the “Del Tufo” Marquis Palace, dating back to 1500, now restored and seat of the MACMa Museum (Museum of Contemporary Art).
In Parabita there is an imposing castle built in 1540. But the fame of the village is mainly due to the Palaeolithic Venus, two small statues in ox-bone found in 1965 in a cave. In the territory of the village there are also two Byzantine crypts: the urban one of Santa Marina and the rocky one of Cirlicì, a natural cavity transformed into a place of worship in the 12th century. Before continuing on to Alezio, a town of ancient origins, where there is the Messapic Civic Museum, with funeral objects found in the tombs under the current town centre and in the area of Monte d’Elia, we recommend a stop in the old town centre of Parabita at the Wine Museum, housed in a millstone dating back to 1891.
Taviano, in addition to the rows of vines for the production of the Matino PDO wine, is home to greenhouses where flowers are grown so that it is known as the “City of Flowers”.
Not far, there is another town, Casarano that near the present centre preserves one of the most ancient monuments of Apulia: the Santa Maria della Croce Church known as Casaranello, famous for its splendid mosaics and Byzantine paintings. The dome is marvellous, dominated by a starry vault of blue tones with a cross of gold tesserae in the centre.
Melissano has lost most of its ancient historical centre, having been almost completely affected by hygienic redevelopment works in the Fascist period. The nucleus of the town is Piazza Mercato Vecchio, Old Market Square, where the ancient church of San Pietro once stood together with the church of San Nicola, most probably of Italo-Greek worship.
In the countryside surrounding the village of Tuglie there are four menhirs, Monte Prino, Nove Croci, Caruggio, Scirocco and the “Grotte Passaturi”, which confirm that the surrounding area has been inhabited since the most remote times, even if the first settlement was built only in the 13th century with the name of Casale Tulli. After the devastation of Otranto in 1480 by the Turks, even the hamlet of Tuglie was completely destroyed and for a long time it remained uninhabited, passing from hand to hand to different feudal lords.
The Matino PDO wine reaches the sea in Gallipoli, “Kalè Polis” the Beautiful City, as the Greeks called it. Today it is called “ The pearl of the Ionian Sea” and looks like an island connected to the modern city by a 17th century bridge, at the ends of which stand the Angevin Castle with the Rivellino and the Renaissance fountain, called Greek. The Regional Natural Park “Isola di Sant’Andrea e litorale di Punta Pizzo” is worth a pleasant walk between sea and land.