Dovè il castello? Where is the castle?
Il Castello is located about an hour south of Lecce, which, given its distance and our tendency towards a generous hand when the pouring of world-class wines, the castle is not an alternative to sleeping at the B and B in Lecce, but a completely different week, altogether.
The Salento is the Southern part of Puglia, the bottom part of Italy’s ‘heel’. To the west we have the Ionian sea, directly to the East, the Adriatic (if you’re wondering about ‘The Mediterranean’, it’s actual composed of many smaller seas, and ‘where is the Mediterranean’ will likely earn you confused stares, as no one in this part of the world uses one word for all the different parts).
The Salento used to be the OPEC of the 15th-19th centuries, ending only with the invention of the incandescent light bulb. Northern European cities lit their streets with lamp oil, produced here, then boarded onto ships in nearby Gallipoli (Italy’s Gallipoli, not Turkey’s). The olive tree is still everywhere, numbering in the millions, creating a profound sense of place, cities among the twisty-turny trees that make up the countless groves.
You’ll get a good sense of the land during your visit, of not just the Salento but a lot of Southern Italy, an area of land with a radically different history of that of Central and Northern Italy.
Meant to be self-contained in the event of the threat of a potential siege, the castle makes up the epicentre of the historic centre of the provincial town. The massive castle, its wells, famous underground olive oil presses, countless fruit trees, herb garden, sprawling grounds- and now days- giant pool (in the proper season of course), are all ours for the week.