Getty Images/iStockphoto


Bloodied and bruised by an infamous Turkish massacre in 1480, Otranto is best appreciated in its amazing cathedral, where the bones of 813 martyrs are displayed in a glass case behind the altar. Less macabre is the cathedral’s other jaw-dropper, its medieval mosaic floor, which rivals the famous early Christian mosaics of Ravenna in its richness and historical significance.

Lying deep in Italy’s stiletto, Otranto has back-heeled quite a few invaders over the centuries and been brutally kicked by others – most notably the Turks. Sleuth around its compact old quarter and you can peel the past off in layers – Greek, Roman, Turkish and Napoleonic. These days the town is a generally peaceful place, unless you're fighting for beach space at the height of summer.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Otranto.