Otranto is one of the most picturesque towns on Puglia’s Salento Peninsula. Its pedestrian streets and small alleys are lined with whitewashed buildings reminiscent of Greece. Most of the old town is still partially enclosed within the medieval walls with a castle at one end. In the center of town be sure to visit the Cathedral to see the stunning floor mosaics and unusual chapel of skulls.
The Lungomare is a long street between the walls and the sea with cafes and a park. It’s a great place for a stroll. Within walking distance of the center there is a small, free beach with views of the old town, a great place for a swim in the sea.
Otranto has many shops and restaurants, both in the old center and the more modern part of town. The main street of the old center is lined with shops selling souvenirs, clothing, and pottery. Ristorante la Pignata, Corso Garibaldi 7, is a good place to try the traditional dishes cooked in a clay pot. Da Sergio, also on Corso Garibaldi, is one of the best restaurants for fresh fish (closed in January and February).
Within walking distance of the old town there’s an Italian Language School, a good place to study Italian.
There are several hotels and places to stay in town but if you want to stay in the countryside, try Masseria Montelauro, a couple of kilometers away.
Read more about Otranto and Salento in the unusual travel book, Salento by 5: Friendship, Food, Music and Travel Within the Heel of Italy’s Boot.
Note: If you arrive by car you’ll have to park outside the historic center as traffic is restricted. The old town is small and easy to walk around though. Otranto can be reached by trains of the southeast.