Cavallino: History, what to see, where to eat [Guide 2024]

In the authentic heart of Salento, a few steps from the city of Lecce , Cavallino stands as a unique destination, ready to capture the senses with its intrinsic beauty and welcoming atmosphere. From the evocative views of the historic center to the gastronomic traditions that tickle the palate, Cavallino is an unmissable stop for those seeking a perfect combination of authenticity and beauty. A stop in Cavallino is an immersion in Salento life, where simplicity blends with elegance, offering an experience unforgettable in the heart of Puglia.

Cavallino_Piazza_Castromediano
Wikipedia photo

History of Cavallino

Cavallino, an ancient Messapian center of the Bronze Age, has a rich story shrouded in mystery. Founded in the 6th century BC, the city suffered destruction around 470 BC. at the hands of the Greek populations of Taranto. The origin of the name is uncertain, with hypotheses linking the toponym to the Latin “caballus” or the Greek “kàbas”.

After Greek and Roman domination, Cavallino saw the development of a residential area during the Byzantine period. The crypt under the Chapel of the Madonna del Monte bears witness to this influence.

Documents from the 13th century reveal that the fiefdom of Cavallino was granted to Pietro de Noha in 1291. The Castromediano family acquired the fiefdom in 1447, maintaining control of it for three and a half centuries and obtaining its elevation to marquisate in 1628. In 1806, with the abolition of the feudal regime, Cavallino became an autonomous municipality, marking a new chapter in its long and fascinating history.

Where is Cavallino:

Cavallino is strategically positioned in the heart of Salento, a few kilometers from Lecce. Immersed in the lush Salento countryside, the town offers a quiet and authentic refuge, far from the urban frenzy. Its central location also makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the surrounding wonders of Salento.

How to get to Cavallino Salento:

There are several ways toget to Cavallino, being very close to Salento’s capital, Lecce, is well connected and easily reachable. Here is some information: 

  • By plane: to get to Cavallino by plane you can take a flight to Brindisi or Bari and from the airport continue to Lecce by taxi, renting a car, train or bus. From Lecce you will then have to take the bus to Cavallino.
  • By train: in the same way as by plane, you can reach Lecce by train and then take a bus to Cavallino.
  • By bus: from the main Italian cities you can reach Lecce by bus and from here continue to Cavallino.
  • By car: obviously the best way to get to Cavallino is by car. This will guarantee you more flexibility, save time and allow you to explore Salento well.

What to see in Cavallino di Lecce?

Once you arrive in Cavallino, you will find yourself immersed in an environment full of treasures to discover. The historic center will welcome you with its picturesque alleys and characteristic squares. Among the main points of interest stand out ancient churches, such as the Mother Church, and archaeological sites that tell the thousand-year history of the town. Let’s find outwhat to visit in Cavallino:

Mother Church:

One ​​of the first things to see in Cavallino is the span>Mother Church, dedicated to Maria SS. Assunta, built between 1630 and 1703 on the remains of a previous structure. Its exterior presents a Baroque façade with a decorated entrance portal. The interior, in the shape of a Latin cross, contains altars dedicated to various saints and a funerary chapel of the Castromedianos.

1024px-Chiesa_Madre_Cavallino
Photo by Wikipedia

Dominican Church and Convent:

The Dominican complex, built between 1626 and 1635, includes a church dedicated to San Domenico di Guzman and San Nicolò. The structure features baroque altars in Lecce stone and a convent which currently houses the ISUFI and the specialization school in Archaeology. /span>

Chiesa_e_Convento_dei_Domenicani_Cavallino
Foto di Wikipedia

Diffuse museum:

The diffuse museum of Cavallino, a collaboration between the University of Salento and the Municipal Administration, was inaugurated in 2003 with European funding. It focuses on the protection and valorization of the Cultural Heritage of the Territory, showing archaeology, rural landscape and transformations over time. The entrance, a metal carpentry structure, offers a panoramic view of the site, defining itself as a “balcony on history”. It preserves archaeological remains, rural buildings and spontaneous flora, following the European principles of landscape and the Faro Convention. With three itineraries (yellow, red, green), the route explores points of archaeological, landscape and environmental interest.

The area includes an ancient Messapian settlement from the 6th century BC, enclosed by fortified walls, with traces of a Bronze Age village. The town, with proto-urban characteristics, underwent a crisis in the 5th century BC, followed by sporadic visits between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC. The Cavallino Diffuso Museum allows you to discover the traces of this ancient civilization through a complete and engaging perspective.

Civil architecture:

The well of San Domenico, built in 1633, is a gift audience of Beatrice Acquaviva d’Aragona. The Castromediano-Limburg ducal castle, built in the 15th century with baroque additions, features decorated interiors and a chapel with paintings by Gianserio Strafella . The Porta San Giorgio is, however, the access to the ancient core of the town, rebuilt in 1790.

Castello_Castromediano_Cavallino
Foto di Wikipedia

Siti archeologici:

The Menhir of Ussano, 5 km away from the town, dates back to 1633 and has an octagonal shape. The Specchia Sentina, a megalithic monument, is important for its size and its defense and surveillance function.

Menhir_di_Ussano
Photo by Wikipedia

What to see near Cavallino Puglia:

Cavallino is also an ideal starting point for exploring the surrounding beauties. Among the things to see near Cavallino are the enchanting beaches of the Salento coast, the wonderful Lecce, with its baroque architecture and lively atmosphere, and the Salento countryside and the hinterland with its authentic villages.

Ecco:

  • Lecce;
  • Acaya;
  • Calimera;
  • Grecìa Salentina;
  • Adriatic coast and in particular the beaches of San Foca, Torre dell’Orso, Torre Specchia, Sant’Andrea, Roca, Castro and Otranto.
  • Ionian things and in particular Porto Cesareo, Torre Lapillo, Torre Squillace, Sant’Isidoro and Santa Maria al Bagno.

Cavallino Lecce shopping centre:

If you are looking for a shopping center in Cavallino you will find Conad, one of the largest in the province, with over 25 shops, numerous services and restaurants.

Where to eat in Cavallino:

Whether you are passionate about traditional cuisine or love exploring creative interpretations, Cavallino and its surroundings offer a variety of culinary options that will satisfy every palate. Here are some tips on where to eat in Cavallino:

  • Osteria Pizzeria La Remesa
  • Osteria del Pozzo Vecchio
  • Lerian ristorante salentino
  • La Bella ‘mbriana | Ristorante Pizzeria
  • Agriturismo Li Mori

Are you looking for a structure in Salento? Browse our categories!

Team HDSalento

Team HDSalento

Articles by the HDSalento team

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