Corigliano d’Otrano: what to see, history, restaurants and surroundings [Guide 2023]

Corigliano d’Otranto is a small but pretty village about 25 kilometres from Lecce, located in the area of Grecia Salentina, a linguistic island where Griko is spoken. The village, with its ancient history, is a popular and popular destination in summer, but also in winter. By the way, it is in an excellent location, not far from the sea and close to some of the most beautiful sights in Salento.

History of Corigliano d’Otranto

From the various testimonies of megalithic remains, it seems that the territory of Corigliano d’Otranto was inhabited by protohistoric civilisations. There is no certain information, however, regarding the exact date of the town’s foundation, which could date back to the Magna Grecia period, the Roman period or the pre-Roman period with the Messapi. From the Roman period, the urban fabric can still be seen today, especially in some areas, where the residential rectangle structured on lots corresponding to multiples or submultiples of the Roman actus is evident.

Over the centuries, Corigliano belonged to various feudal families, most notably the De’ Monti family and later the Trane family, who took over in the 17th century. In both cases, the feudal families transformed the castle first into a fortress and later into a noble and refined residence.

What is there to see in Corigliano d’Otranto?

Corigliano d’Otranto is an architectural jewel, with its fine palaces and churches. Strolling through the narrow streets of its historical centre, among courtyard houses and ancient churches, is a pleasant journey back in time. Moreover, Corigliano d’Otranto holds the title of Touring Club Orange Flag, thanks to the presence of the Castello de’ Monti, “a well-preserved building, usable and the venue for numerous events.” In fact, the Orange Flag initiative selects and certifies small villages of excellence in the hinterland, committed to the promotion of an increasingly sustainable tourism. Corigliano d’Otranto is a typical and authentic village where you can breathe the true essence of the slow and exciting Salento.

Castle of Corigliano d’Otranto

Among the must-sees in Corigliano d’Otranto is a visit to the castle, one of the most beautiful and best preserved in Apulia.

The Castle of Corigliano d’Otranto, also known as the De’ Monti Castle, was built during the Middle Ages to protect against the Saracen invasions, which arrived on the Salento coast at that time. It has a quadrangular plan with a moat surrounding the perimeter and four circular towers positioned at the corners. On each tower are coats of arms of the De’Monti family of Capua, dedicated to saints: St Michael Archangel, St George, St Anthony Abbot and St John the Baptist, each of which is linked to a particular significance.

During the 1500s and 1600s, as mentioned, the Castle of Corigliano d’Otranto lost its defensive function and was modified by the Trane family, adapted to the Baroque style of the time. Today the castle has an imposing Baroque façade with allegorical statues inside niches, decorative corbels, anthropomorphic figures and a central Baroque balcony. Today it is possible to visit its interiors, which include the excavation room, the mediaeval hall, the knights’ hall and the tower of St. John the Baptist.

Visit the website to find out how to have a personalised experience in the Castle of Corigliano d’Otranto.

castello di corigliano d'otranto

Arch of the padlocks

Another thing to see in Corigliano is the Arco dei Lucchetti (Arch of the padlocks), in Vico Freddo, which delimits the entrance to a courtyard, and is characterised by monolithic elements made of our Lecce stone. These decorations are typically mediaeval, while the arch is Romanesque, and are reminiscent of those on the portals of Otrantine Romanesque ecclesiastical buildings, while epigraphs date back to 1497.

Church of San Nicola Vescovo

The Church of San Nicola Vescovo in Corigliano d’Otranto was built in place of the previously existing chapel, retaining some peculiarities of the structure, such as the entrance portal. It has a Latin cross plan with three naves supported by columns, and has undergone several modifications over the centuries, including the addition of a valuable mosaic floor depicting biblical scenes.

Chiesa madre di san Nicola Vescovo

Palazzo Comi

In Piazza San Nicola, the town’s main square, stands Palazzo Comi dating back to 1755, an important example of 18th-century civil architecture with classical references on the façades. It is a two-floor building that includes some structures of pre-existing buildings and in some rooms, on the ground floor, holds a fragment of an inscription in Greek characters, one of the few testimonies of Corigliano d’Otranto’s Byzantine past.

Palazzo Comi Corigliano d'Otranto

Clock Tower

Still in Piazza San Nicola, we find the civic Clock Tower with a small bell gable. From the Latin inscriptions which were found, it is thought to have been built in 1644 and modified in 1770. The iron clock on the tower was taken from the Turks when they were defeated in Castro in 1632 and liberated the city they occupied.

torre dell'Orologio


In the territory of Corigliano d’Otranto there are two dolmens close to each other, discovered in 1993 by Oreste Caroppo, a local researcher. Dolmen I is covered by three slabs with decreasing levels that divide it into three small cells and is supported by a stone slab and superimposed stones. Dolmen II is surmounted by an irregular slab supported by two monolithic piers and some overlapping stones.

How far is Corigliano d’Otranto from the sea?

Although Corigliano d’Otranto is an inland town, it is very close to some of Salento’s most beautiful beaches, which can be easily reached in a few handfuls of minutes. In fact, Corigliano d’Otranto is only 25 km from the Adriatic coast, but not far from the Ionian one either. Here are the main beaches you can easily reach from Corigliano d’Otranto:

Sea near Corigliano d’Otranto: Adriatic Sea

Sea near Corigliano d’Otranto: Ionian Sea

  • Santa Maria al Bagno 41 km away
  • Porto Selvaggio 47 km away
  • Gallipoli 47 km away

Restaurants in Corigliano d’Otranto

If you want to eat in Corigliano d’Otranto, keep in mind that you will have a wide choice of pubs, restaurants and trattorias where you can enjoy typical Salento cuisine. Many pubs are located near Piazza della Vittoria, which is often full of young people, while others are in the old town. Discover the best restaurants in Corigliano d’Otranto, these are our recommendations:

  • La Puteca
  • Dei Mille
  • 400 Il Ristorantino

In the surroundings:

As we have mentioned, Corigliano d’Otranto is located in a more or less central position, allowing you to visit Salento comfortably. Among all the most beautiful places in this land, here is what to see near Corigliano d’Otranto:

  • Maglie 8 km away
  • Martano 10 km away
  • Muro Leccese 12 km away
  • Giurdignano 19 km away
  • Carpignano Salentino 9 km away
  • Melpignano 4 km away
  • Galatina 8 km away
  • Galatone 18 km away
  • Minervino 19 km away
  • Lecce 25 km away
  • Casarano 23 km away
  • Ruffano 29 km away
  • Poggiardo 20 km away
  • Nardò 33 km away
  • Cursi 6 km away
  • Castrignano dei Greci 3 km away

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