A multisensory tour, from Merine to San Pietro in Lama, to know the features of these places’ identity, by engaging in some unusual activities: discovering Valle della Cupa has never been that amazing!
Inside their workshops, skilful artisans will teach you how “to create with your hands”: during daily lessons or courses, you will have the chance to experience everyday life, and pour out creativity, by making little statues and objects or preparing some typical dishes of the Valle della Cupa.
Your journey starts in the little village of Merine, where you will see the local artisans using papier-mâché, like their forebears did in 1700 to create the masterpieces still safeguarded in many churches or exhibited during the processions.
More to the South, between Lizzanello and Cavallino, you will sculpt and carve objects out of Lecce stone, a fine amber-coloured bio-calcarenite, widely used as a constituent material of the large-scale built cultural heritage. This stone made the Baroque’s fortune, and it is still extracted from the “taiate” (the open-pits spread across Salento).
If you want to discover the secrets of the local cooking, in Cavallino and San Cesario you will have the chance to be a “cook for a day”! In the best equipped restaurants and pasta factories, you will learn to prepare fresh pasta and the tastiest traditional dishes: ciciri e tria, orecchiette and sagne ‘ncannulate (or sagne torte) with tomato sauce and ricotta forte, turcinieddhri, little pieces of horse meat and many other local dishes.
Talking of pasta, do not miss the Sagra te lu Ranu (the feast of wheat) in Merine, which celebrates the wheat and its products: during one of the most traditional summer feast, you may take a close look to the local homemakers making fresh pasta.
Moreover, within the best-known pastry shops of San Cesario, you will observe the preparation of rustico and pasticciotto leccese, the former being a puff pastry disc filled with béchamel sauce, tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepper and nutmeg; the latter being a shortcrust pastry filled with custard. Both are recognised as two traditional regional products of Salento.
Your journey ends in San Pietro in Lama, where you will make little objects out of clay, inside the potters’ workshops: a unique experience as well as an original way to learn the ancient history of Valle della Cupa, by playing with another row material widely available here. You cannot resist the temptation of modelling and painting clay with your own hands!