town stretches smoothly along the extreme part of the Salento Murgiae. Once a
big agricultural centre, now an industrial one, it is expanding more and more. Its hinterland
has become an economic and cultural point of reference for the
whole of the lower Salento.
history is incomplete and its origins remain shrouded in mystery. Some attribute its
birth to the Greek era, but there exist many earlier archeological sites i.e. necropoleis of the
late Messapic period and camps of the Archaeic Archeulano.
the division of the Roman Empire Casarano was an integral part of the Eastern Roman
Empire, thus developing and absorbing all the charm of the
was subject to many misfortunes throughout its early early history and was
completely destroyed by the Saracens in 842AD. It was subsequently rebuilt not far from the
original centre, thus creating
two centres with the same name but
ecclesiastically and admistratively distinct so that in an ecclesiatical
document dated 1270 they were called OPPIDUM CASARANI MAGNI and in CASARANI
PARVI (Casarano Big and Casarano Little).
1484 Casarano was occupied by the Venetians who, after conquering Gallipoli, set
their camps in the neighbouring centres. The 18th centuary was for Casarano a period
of social rebirth and development and we see the introduction of important
commercial fairs and markets together with the building of various
churches and other religious works. It was also a period of social unrest during
which Casarano sacrificed the life of one of its most famous sons, Francesco
Antonio Astore, an illuminist philosopher, killed in Naples in 1799 by the
the most important things to see in Casarano are:
The church of St. Mary of the Cross or Casaranello a splendid
church of the 5th century A.D. and one of the first in Puglia built in the shape
of a latin cross. Inside there are paiaeo-christian mosaic and paintings of the
This is one of the most important acheological sites of the region and
its history is documented in a number of reference books and texts.
The Church of St. Eliah
was built in the year 1000, it is situated on a roman road which joined Ruffano to the Via
Traiana. The church is built on a crossroads which leads to the crypt of the Crucifix.
Crypt of the Crucifix or of St Costantina a Basilian monastery of the
XIlth century, Inside there are paintings of the
Bizantine period. it is situated in a natural cave and painted inside
according to the rules of the Basilian penod.
Hill where the Church of the Campana is situated enjoys one of the
finest views of Salento. At the top of the hill
there is the church of the «Madonna della Campana» (1600) which was built on the ruins
of another small church of the greek period. The feast in honour of the Madonna della
Campana is celebrated the first Sunday after Easter. In particular, the children
are all dressed in traditional costumes and particiapte in a procession from the village to the
church at the top of the hill.
parochial church: built in 1700 and has been enriched over the years with
baroque altars and canvases by TISO. It stands, toghether with the Watch Tower
(1730) and St. John's Column (1850) as the symbol of Casarano
Piazza d'Elia: can be considered the most beautiful square of Casarano
with its two palaces serving as frame and background.
first is Palazzo d'Elia which is nowadays a cultural centre, the second is
Palazzo de' Judicibus, a real jewel of architecture because of the equilibrium of its