San Pietro in Lama was born after the merging of several communities – those from the island of San Nicola, the ancient area of the “Amendole”, San Giovanni and Santo Stefano – into one village, called Sant’Antonio and located where the chapel of the same name was rebuilt, back in 1682.
This ancient environment didn’t feature any perimeter wall or defensive fortress, and ended up revolving around the town’s main place of worship, the Mother Church of Santa Maria dell’Assunta.
You will be enchanted by one of the most important religious buildings of the Salento area. On one hand, its exterior features a majestic façade, which is divided into two orders neatly separated by pilasters, and embroidered with the richly decorated top side and the statues of the apostles Pietro e Paolo. On the other hand, its interior holds magnificent altars made with the local limestone, from which the beautiful main altar stands out, with its ornate “portelle”. Don’t hesitate to explore the other religious buildings San Pietro in Lama has to offer, such as the Chapel of San Pasquale Baylon, surmounted by the statue of St. Irene on its façade, and the seventeenth-century Church of Sant’ Antonio Abate.
Walking through the town’s narrow and irregular alleys, you will then be intrigued by the several Baroque aristocratic manors, with their grandiose portals and elegant windows, and by the gracious late-sixteenth-century buildings, with their peculiar portals built during the Anjou-Durazzo rule, and their odd-shaped ornaments. You will then explore Via XX Settembre, one of the town’s main roads, in which the shops of the local potters used to be concentrated. With their ancient art and traditions, these master craftsmen marked the history of the artistic craftsmanship in the whole area whitin the Valle della Cupa. Here in San Pietro in Lama, you will be able to witness these potters’ manual skills, and the way they can mould clay into vases, sculptures, furnishings, through their potter’s wheels.
On the final culinary stop of this itinerary, you can’t say no to the traditional cupeta – the local almond brittle – and the mustazzoli – biscuits made with almonds, cocoa and different spices, sometimes covered with chocolate frosting.