In Calimera it is always a good morning

In Calimera it is always a good morning

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Traveling along the ancient Via Traiana Calabra, the main artery that connected Otranto with Lecce, we meet Calimera, a small town in the heart of Salento, in that very particular area of Puglia also called Grecìa Salentina.

In the Grecìa Salentina you can still find intact those traditions and that Greek-Byzantine culture that spread in Puglia between the sixth and twelfth centuries, in particular we find the Griko or Grecanico, a real Hellenophone language still widely spread and spoken.

The name of the city itself immediately announces its origins, Calimera in fact derives from Kalimera which means good morning in Greek and the city of Athens, as a sign of recognition of the common identity, gave the city, in 1960, a white marble stele that can be seen by visiting the beautiful public gardens of the city.

We can begin our visit to Calimera starting from the heart of the historic center, from the Mother Church dedicated to San Brizio, patron saint of the city.

Let's go to Piazza del Sole to admire the facade of the church and its four-storey bell tower. Let us pause to look at the decorations of the portal and if we go at sunset it will be much more beautiful because we will see the facade of the church lit by the sun's rays.

Near the square there is the Chapel of the Crucifix which is worth visiting to admire the beautiful altar surmounted by a valuable seventeenth-century wooden crucifix. Looking up you will see the vaults of the church, painted with the faces of the four evangelists.

Going along via Costantini you will arrive at the House-Museum of Peasant Civilization, a treasure trove of popular culture in the grika area of Salento.

Just outside the town is the church of San Vito which houses a large boulder used for a propitiatory pagan fertility rite.

It is a tradition for the inhabitants of the area to go to this church the day after Easter and touch the rock as a sign of good luck.

Near the church of San Vito there is the Natural History Museum of Salento which houses the wildlife observatory and a reception center for animals in difficulty.

In the same area, in the San Biagio district, there is the underground church of San Biagio which preserves an eighteenth-century fresco.

The area is also a precious archaeological area, in fact, protected by olive trees, the Dolmen Placa, covered by a single slab of seven meters in perimeter, and the Dolmen Gurgulante are hidden.

Walking around it will be easy to see particular dry cone-shaped constructions called furni or pagghiari used in the peasant tradition or to come across medieval settlements with tombs, caves or wheat pits.

If you want to experience a bit of mystery, go along the Martano-Caprarica provincial road to see the Speccia dei Mori, a large heap of boulders arranged in such a way as to create a pyramid. The Specchia dei Mori with a base width of about twenty meters and a height of six, looks like the most majestic mirror in Salento. The function of this work is not clear, perhaps it must have contained a dolmen intended for burial, or as one of the many legends would have it, it must have contained a treasure protected by the devil himself and for this reason, the mirror of the Moors, is also known as Segla tu Demoniu, Mirror of the Devil. According to another legend, this was a tower to reach the divinity, or more simply it was a watchtower towards the sea.In short, the territory of Calimera is a treasure chest full of traditions, history, art and legends, the best place to be able to to dream.

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