The historic centre of the Municipality of Mesagne has ancient origins and has been influenced by many cultures that have consolidated over the centuries.We are struck immediately by the Norman-Swabian Castle with its medieval architecture and the numerous Baroque churches. The urban itinerary allows us a complete visit of the historic centre of Mesagne, characterised by a particular “heart” shape and by a compact urban structure. We depart from the monumental sixteenth century Porta Grande, the main testimony of the ancient town walls, by which we enter the historic centre. We turn right into Via Castello, where we see the old sixteenth century buildings where today food and wine and cultural activities are held; reaching the entrance of the Norman-Swabian Castle, we visit the “Ugo Granafei Museum” with important medieval, Roman and Messapi finds. The route inside the Castle, the origins of which are thought to date back to the IX century, is an evocative journey through stories and legends. After visiting the castle, we go on towards the near-by sixteenth century Piazza Orsini del Balzo, dominated by the Palazzo Cavaliere and the church of Saint Anna, one of the finest and most harmonious Baroque churches of the Salento. Through a characteristic narrow passageway, we come to the archaeological site of Vico Quercia. Here important archaeological traces are testimony of the strong impression left by the Messapi.
Continuing on our way, we come to the Chiesa Matrice (Mother Church), in Baroque style and rich in valuable artistic elements. The church looks out onto piazza IV Novembre, in ancient times called Piazza Sedile or Piazza dei Nobili. On the opposite side of piazza del Sedile, we find the municipal library in the palazzo dell’Orologio dating back to 1867.
Near Piazza Sedile, in via Eugenio Santa Cesaria, we can visit the semi-underground oil-mill, proof of how important the production of oil was in the past. Today the oil-mill is an Info Point for the Terra dei Messapi designed as a hub in the network of itineraries where visitors can obtain information and knowledge about the rural culture of the territory. Instead, if we walk along the outer walls of the historic centre we soon come to the Municipal Theatre, restored and still open to the public. Just opposite the Theatre we find the monumental Porta Nuova.
Before crossing it to return to the historic centre, we can visit the near-by church of the Dominicans and, just after that, the little Byzantine Temple of Saint Lorenzo. The Town of Mesagne is also an ideal place for those in search of old flavours. The historic centre is full of eateries and restaurants that prepare traditional local, regional country dishes.
Il percorso urbano
Chiesa dei Domenicani
Tempietto di San Lorenzo
Il percorso rurale
Chiesa della Madonna della Grazia
Chiesa della Misericordia