Amazing medieval fresoes in a tiny Salento town of Apulia, Italy

Galatina In this small wine city, the powerful Orsini barons built Santa Caterina d'Alessandria ★★ (Piazzetta Orsini, tel. +39-0836-56-84-94, between 1384 and 1460, with a late Romanesque facade and a stupendous fresco cycle unmatched anywhere in Southern Italy. The main portal, flanked by a vine motif that entangles birds, angels, and dogs, incorporates a Christ with Apostles frieze below a patently pagan split-tailed siren figure. The frescoes inside, executed by Giottesque central Italian artists in the 1400s, cover almost every inch of the walls, ceilings, and arches in the massive nave and double side aisles. These Old and New Testaments scenes are patchy and faded in some places, as brilliantly colored as they were the day they were painted in others, and are peopled with a panorama of characters and traditional costumes that reads like a visual anthropology of feudal Apulia. Although the church doesn't keep fixed hours, it usually closes noon to 3:30pm.


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Tourist information

Local tourist office
Piazza Orsini 9
tel. +39-0836-562-304 or 0836-801-436

Getting to Galantina

Galatina is 20km (12 miles) south of Lecce on the SS476. From Lecce, STP runs 8 buses and FSE runs 5 buses (30–60 min.); there are 12 daily FSE trains (4 requiring a transfer at Zollino; 35–45 min.).

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Local tourist office
Piazza Orsini 9
tel. +39-0836-562-304 or 0836-801-436

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