A totally flat route to discover one of the most suggestive rural areas of Puglia.
Riding on unpaved roads among hundreds-of-years-old olive trees, we cross several fortified farms of the sixteenth/eighteenth century, which were once both places of agricultural production and important defense points against Turkish attacks.
We also visit important places of worship such as the Church of S. Maria d'Aurio (12th century, with its mysterious black Madonna), but above all the splendid Abbey of S. Maria in Cerrate, a monument from the Byzantine era, recently restored by the Fund for the Italian Environment. We can admire a splendid example of medieval frescoes painted by Greek monks, who at that time lived in these lands. Next to the church there is an interesting museum of popular traditions.
In the warmer season there is the possibility of a stop on the beach in the nearby marina of Torre Chianca.
On the way back we cross the Rauccio Natural Park: one of the last remains of the ancient oak forest that covered - until the17th century - this whole area, before the cultivation of the olive tree became a monoculture.
Return to Lecce in the afternoon.
The excursion can also be shortened without stopping at sea and can be done in half a day.
Also suitable for families with children aged 12 and over.