It is the largest Cathedral in Salento and it stands on the highest point in Otranto, in the very heart of the old town.
It was built in the second half of 11th century on the remains of a Roman house, a Messapic village and an early Christian church. It is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
The most famous historical episode linked to the Cathedral is certainly that of the Turkish invasion of 1480, during which all Christians who were searching for safety in the Cathedral were massacred. Later the Cathedral was turned into a mosque and its artistic treasures were destroyed. All this continued until the Aragonese liberated Otranto.
The interior is made up of a nave and two aisles and at the far end of the right aisle there is the Chapel of the Martyrs (“Cappella dei Martiri”), that is to say the 800 Christians massacred by the Turks because they refused to abjure their faith. This is the part of the Cathedral dedicated to the memory of the massacre of the “Martyrs of Otranto”.