For the Squinzano PDO, the heart of which is the town from which it takes its name, the territory is divided between Lecce and Brindisi. The itinerary starts from Squinzano, a village in the northern part of the Lecce area in the area called Valle della Cupa, the Salento plain that extends around the capital.
In the village there is the remarkable Cathedral dedicated to San Nicola with a valuable wooden choir, but the jewel is in the immediate vicinity: the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria delle Cerrate of the 12th century. Not far away, on the sea, there is Casalabate, a small fishermen’s village which includes Torre Specchiolla, built in 1500 as a lookout on the coast.
In Novoli you can visit the Castle dating back to the 16th century, but subjected to various renovations during the lead of the Scandembergh family and the Santa Maria del Pane Church, so called for a miracle dating back to 1707 when the country was hit by an epidemic that ended by administering blessed bread ( pane) to the sick.
The village of Campi Salentina was born from the union of the hamlets Afra, Ainoli, Bagnara and Firmigliano destroyed by the Saracens. Among its monuments there is the Castle, which legend says was built by Frederick II to spend his summer holidays here and was later transformed into a Marquis Palace by the Enriquez family, and the convent of the Scolopi Fathers, which houses the prestigious library with thousands of ancient volumes.
The last stops in Lecce on the itinerary to discover Squinzano PDO wine are Trepuzzi and Surbo, before reaching the capital. In the past, the feud of Trepuzzi belonged to the Counts of Conversano Acquaviva D’Aragona, today the village boasts the castle of the Balsamo family and a beautiful Baroque parish church.
Surbo seems to derive its name from the sorba, the fruit of a plant that was very common in the area in the past. In the town you can still breathe the atmosphere of the Spanish domination and it is interesting to visit the numerous churches.
Finally, Lecce, the “ elegant city” from Sant’Oronzo Square, where the statue of the patron saint stands out, to the Roman amphitheatre that occupies a large part of it together with the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Church of San Marco and the Sedile. Strolling through the streets, the beauty of the Santa Croce Basilica, with the adjoining former convent of the Celestini, and that of the Duomo Square, with its high bell tower is stunning. And then there are palaces and churches where the Baroque triumphs: do not miss the San Matteo Church, which is different from the typical Lecce churches and rather recalls the Roman style of Borromini.
Moving into the Brindisi territory we reach Torchiarolo. In the ancient village there are the Baronial Palace and the Cathedral of Maria SS. Assunta. Nearby, it is worth discovering the archaeological park of Valesio, a very ancient Messapian necropolis.
In the same plain there is San Pietro Vernotico where the square tower and the small church of San Pietro stand out. The names of two singers, Domenico Modugno, who spent his childhood in San Pietro Vernotico, and Albano Carrisi, who in Cellino San Marco has the estates where he produces his wine, link the two towns that close the circuit of Squinzano PDO.