The Old Part of Otranto
Otranto is the easternmost town in Italy and for centuries it has been a place of cultural, artistic and commercial exchanges between West and East.
With a population of 5,724 Otranto looks onto the Straits of Otranto which separate Italy from Albania. In 2010 the old town was acknowledged as World Heritage Site of UNESCO for Peace and is in the list of "I borghi più belli d'Italia" (the most beautiful historic towns of Italy).
Otranto is a fortified town enclosed by defensive walls and can be accessed through the Porta Alfonsina.
Otranto’s artistic and architectural monuments testify the presence of various peoples such as Byzantines, Normans, Angevins, Aragonese and Turks. These include the Aragonese Castle, an ancient military fortress built under Ferdinand I of Aragon, and now used as venue for exhibitions and cultural events, famous also since it has given the name to the first gothic novel in English literature.
From the square where the castle stands, a maze of narrow streets branches off and continue throughout the old town connecting various buildings of historical and artistic interest, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, the Byzantine Church of San Pietro, the Church of Madonna dell'Altomare, the old palazzi.
The great defensive system of the walls of Otranto is the result of numerous alterations that were made throughout the centuries, starting from the Messapic and Roman ages to the changes made during the Angevin period.