The pilgrims’ road
Time has stood still here in Specchia, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Just a few kilometres outside the town you can still find traces of the ancient Via dei Pellegrini, also known as the “Cammino Leucadense”, the route used by pilgrims to reach the Madonna di Finibus Terrae sanctuary at Leuca. From the year 1300, the first Holy Year, it was also used as a route to Rome.
According to tradition, in 1220, Saint Francis of Assisi also used this road on his return from the Holy Land, a fact backed by the presence of the Black Franciscan church and monastery.
Along the Via dei Pellegrini there is still evidence of its past that was rich in events that deeply influenced the life and culture of the local people; this penitential route touched the edge of Specchia, continued on to the small church of S. Angelo, now reduced to just a few ruins, then continued on to the Serra dei Peccatori and Serra dei Cianci.
The main road connected numerous crypts, sanctuaries, votive chapels and places of worship scattered along the mountain ranges. It is still possible to go along the secondary branch of the road leading to the abbeys and churches that offered refreshment to the body and the spirit and which became halting places for the pilgrims.
The Specchia’s area
Specchia, situated in the hills of the Salentina peninsula and surrounded by olive groves and Mediterranean maquis, also offers a splendid view of much of Capo di Leuca, a panorama lit by the blazing sun and the reflection from the white-washed walls of the houses.
The village offers peace and solitude as well as the opportunity of admiring its Catalan and Baroque portals, cornices in Leccese stone, ornate corbels on the balconies, wrought iron railings, arches, friezes and votive niches.
Conservation of this ancient hamlet is an objective, and you will note the absence of cables on the outside of the houses. The narrow lanes, interrupted by flights of steps and closed to traffic, enclose this hamlet which is the result of spontaneous architecture dating from the 16th century.
Town Hall via San Giovanni Bosco 1 tel. 0833536293 fax 0833539769 www.comune. specchia.lecce.it segreteria@comune. specchia.lecce.it
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