The area we propose to visit is Salento.
The naturalness of the life that is lead in these
parts is testimony to a longstanding link with the
territory and makes even the heavy presence of inhabitants
pleasant because they live and breathe the rhythms
of nature which beat to the times of the crops.
The integrated nature of the presence of man, which
derives from the lond-standing tie with the surrounding
environment, can also be seen in the use of local
stone in the constructions. Whether these are low
farm walls or impossing forts, their consonance
with the surroundings is obvious. The magic of Salento
stone, thanks to the ease with which it can be worked,
has become an intrinsic part of the scenery, from
holy places, like the stone cripts, to the
hypogeum olive-mills, to the material used in
the Baroque fantasy of the urban constructions
which have made Salento famous.
The work that the inhabitants of this territory are
mainly employed in is generally connected to the traditional
occupations of archaic origin. This means agricultural
labour, (viticulture, olive-growing)
or fishing in the coastal areas, but also include
a cospicuous involvement in the tourist industry,
at least as far as the Ionic Coast is concerned. Porto
Cesareo is, in fact, a popular tourist resort
with tourists coming from all over Italy.
Moreover, it is just as undeniable that at least
one animal, the Tarantula (connected with the
name of Taranto the olt capital of Magna Grecia, and
with it the dance of the tarantella), has in
Salento, grown large in the popular imagination and
deeply influenced the local country for long time.
It is therefore evidente, how this territory, despite
the presence of man and his crops, is still deeply
bound to those natural elements that, in other contexts
oppressed and attacked, have here profoundly influenced
the way of life and work of the people: the desire
to spend a period of peace, sunshine and good food.
The perfumes and the flavours of the local cooking
and the tables have been one of Salento's charms
over the years, and are ideal to satisfy that need
which becomes more and more pressing in modern life.
If however, one is more attracted to the life where
nature is inhabited and "managed"by man,
it is important not to forget the the are in question
offers parts of the natural envitonment which are
pratically integral: the sea, which hereabouts
is, in a lot of qaysm unpollutes and less subject
to the effects of the presence ot man than other parts
of Italy and the rest of the Mediterranean. In particulare,
the sea around Porto Cesareo embraces a Marine
Nature Reserve and, just a simple mask with snorkel
is enough to give you an idea of the life forms to
be seen under the surface of the water.