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Specchia

Description

Specchia is a charming town of the Salento Region, built in IX century in a defensive strategic position where the local farmers and shepherds sheltered from the Saracen raids. Its name comes from typical "Specchie", piles of stones that were used as observation points. The first documents that report evidence of the village's existence are dated after year 1000, when Tancredi d'Altavilla added it to the Contado di Lecce and Specchia was ruled by the feudal lords Monteroni.

Of the old fortified walls, that were still visible in 1931, remain only the two rectangular shaped towers of '400, perfectly integrated in the city district.

The main castle Risolo with its two great towers is a fortress of '500, originally built in an isolated location, that over the years was surrounded by buildings and is today part of the town.

The Parrish Church, entitled to the Presentation of the Beata Vergine Maria, built in 1605, submitted major refurbishments in the '700 and features an interesting façade and central nave.

Important trace of the Byzantine architecture is the Church of Sant'Eufemia, built between IX-XIII centuries; features a simple façade with a double leveled roof and an apse that faces towards East, as for the Byzantine traditions.

Not to miss: the Church of the Convent dei Francescani Neri (Cappuccini), built in 1531; where it is possible to admire the Chapel of Santa Caterina Martire, with wonderful frescos that represent the major events of the Saint's life, and the Crypt, built in the rock and supported by 36 small columns with Byzantine decorations.
Worth a visit: Palazzo Balsamo (XVI century), Palazzo Teotini (XVI century), Palazzo Ripa (XVII century), Palazzo Orlandi-Pisanelli (XVII-XVIII centuries), Palazzo Orlandi Peone (XVIII century).

Map

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