Located in the South of Lecce, Galatina is one of the most valuable villages in Salento. It has Greek origins, but walking through its alleys you can see some influences from different civilizations, giving the village a great fascination with an harmonious mix of contrasting styles.
Galatina is rich in characteristic alleys and monuments of great cultural interest. Nowadays it is still possible to admire the beauty of some buildings dating back to 18th century, whose balconies and coat of arms are the details of a fascinating and moving portrait.
Galatina dates back to the Byzantine colonisations period, when the city had five gateways, you can still see three of them : “Porta Luce” (the Western access), “Porta Nuova” and “Porta Cappuccini”.
There are lots of gems in Galatina, among these for sure we cannot omit Santa Caterina d’Alessandria’s church : a Latin-rite church built as if to contrast the previous Greek-rite. Dating back to 1391, it was erected by the will of Raimondo Orsini del Balzo and it is today a National Monument. Its interior is embellished with many frescoes -some of which have been recovered- that still conquer Galatina’s inhabitants and tourists with their beauty, creativity and represented themes.
Pasticciotto in Galatina
Galatina is part of Salento’s history for another important reason : it is exactly in Galatina that the pasticciotto –the typical dessert from Lecce- was born. Story goes that during the first years of 18th century, in the historic Ascalone bakery,
Nicola Ascalone created a new dessert with the left-overs of another cake, in the occasion of Saint Paul’s feast. Using short pastry and custard, he created a pie that he baked and donated to a passer-by who remained so struck by the dessert that he asked for more to bring at home. From that moment “Ascalone’s pasticciotto” became a typical dessert from Salento.
Over the years they created different kind of pasticciotto like the Obama one, with cocoa short pastry filled with chocolate cream.