Salento (Salentu in local dialect) is the south-eastern extremity of the Apulia region of Italy. It is a sub-peninsula of the main Italian Peninsula, sometimes described as the "heel" of the Italian "boot". It encompasses the entire administrative area of the province of Lecce, a large part of the administrative area of Brindisi and part of that of Taranto. The peninsula is also known as Terra d'Otranto, and in ancient times was called variously Messapia, Calabria, and Salentina.
|This section requires expansion with: section. (October 2010)|
Messapia (from Greek Μεσσαπία) was the ancient name of a region of Italy largely corresponding to modern Salento. It was inhabited chiefly by the Messapii in classical times. Pokorny derives the toponym from PIE *medhyo-, "middle" and PIE *ap-, "water" (Mess-apia, "amid waters"; Note: the asterisk before a word indicates that it is a hypothetical construction, not an attested form). Pokorny compares the toponym Messapia to another ancient Italic toponym, Salapia, "salt water", a city in Apulia.
Geographic perspective 
Salento peninsula is a rock of limestone dividing the Adriatic Sea from the Ionian Sea. Known also as "peninsula salentina", from a geo-morphologic point of view it encompasses the land borders between Ionian sea and the Adriatic sea to the “Messapic threshold”, a depression that runs along the Taranto-Ostuni line and separates it from the Murge. Its borders are:
- Taranto, in the province of the same name;
- Pilone, in the territory of Ostuni (province of Brindisi),
- Santa Maria di Leuca, in the province of Lecce.
Salento, from a cultural and linguistic point of view, does not include the city of Taranto (where the Tarantino dialect is spoken), nor the rest of Taranto province to the west of the city (where Pugliese-Apulian is the dialect generally spoken), nor the rest of the province of Brindisi to north of Ostuni (where the accent is influenced by the dialect of Bari). Beside these borders, the language can be defined generally as “pugliese” (Apulian), belonging to “the southern” tipology. To the south and east, the Griko and Salentino dialect are spoken.
A number of places, the coasts above all, are remarkable landscapes and environments, among them the Alimini Lakes, on the Adriatic coast, and Porto Selvaggio, on the Ionic coast.
The soil is very fertile: some of the finest olive trees and grapes grow here, and their products are exported worldwide.
Salento's coasts are varied, and can be sandy or rocky, but all boast pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Some of the most renowned locations in Salento for summer holidays (from May/June to September) are: Ostuni, Casalabate, Ceglie Messapica, Oria, Ugento, Manduria, Porto Cesareo, Gallipoli, Torre dell'Orso, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Lizzano, Pulsano, Santa Cesarea Terme.
Salento is a peaceful land full of history and traditions whose strong points are its natural and architectural beauties, hospitality, atmosphere, and of course sea and its coast.
A 2-lane freeway connects Salento to Bari. The main railway line ends at Lecce. Other locations are served by regional railroads.
Cities and towns in Salento 
Province of Lecce
Acquarica del Capo, Alessano, Alezio, Alliste, Andrano, Aradeo, Arnesano, Bagnolo del Salento, Botrugno, Calimera, Campi Salentina, Cannole, Caprarica di Lecce, Carmiano, Carpignano Salentino, Casarano, Castri di Lecce, Castrignano de' Greci, Castrignano del Capo, Castro, Cavallino, Collepasso, Copertino, Corigliano d'Otranto, Corsano, Cursi, Cutrofiano, Diso, Gagliano del Capo, Galatina, Galatone, Gallipoli, Giuggianello, Giurdignano, Guagnano, Lecce, Lequile, Leverano, Lizzanello, Maglie, Martano, Martignano, Matino, Melendugno, Melissano, Melpignano, Miggiano, Minervino di Lecce, Monteroni di Lecce, Montesano Salentino, Morciano di Leuca, Muro Leccese, Nardò, Neviano, Nociglia, Novoli, Ortelle, Otranto, Palmariggi, Parabita, Patù, Poggiardo, Porto Cesareo, Presicce, Racale, Ruffano, Salice Salentino, Salve, San Cassiano, San Cesario di Lecce, San Donato di Lecce, San Pietro in Lama, Sanarica, Sannicola, Santa Cesarea Terme, Scorrano, Seclì, Sogliano Cavour, Soleto, Specchia, Spongano, Squinzano, Sternatia, Supersano, Surano, Surbo, Taurisano, Taviano, Tiggiano, Trepuzzi, Tricase, Tuglie, Ugento, Uggiano la Chiesa, Veglie, Vernole, Zollino.
Province of Brindisi
Brindisi, Carovigno, Cellino San Marco, Ceglie Messapica, Erchie, Francavilla Fontana, Latiano, Mesagne, Oria, Ostuni, San Donaci, San Michele Salentino, San Pancrazio Salentino, San Pietro Vernotico, San Vito dei Normanni, Torchiarolo, Torre Santa Susanna, Villa Castelli.
Province of Taranto
Avetrana, Carosino, Faggiano, Fragagnano, Grottaglie, Leporano, Lizzano, Manduria, Maruggio, Monteiasi, Montemesola, Monteparano, Pulsano, Roccaforzata, San Giorgio Ionico, San Marzano di San Giuseppe, Sava, Taranto, Torricella.
Coastal towers 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Coastal towers in Apulia|
Salento is dotted with coastal watchtowers, as the coast was long the subject of attacks. The first towers may have been Norman. The remaining towers are mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries, and many of these towers are now in a very poor condition.
See also 
- "The Towers Of Salento in Apulia - South Italy". Nel Salento. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Salento|