Otranto is one of the most popular towns for tourists of Salento, there is a special atmosphere around it. It is lovely to have a walk in its historic centre, along the streets full of souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, along the embankment always full of people, tourists from the whole world, to go down to the port through Porta a Mare (Gate to the Sea) or go up the ancient walls and to admire lovely a panorama of the sea port (when the visibility is good, it is even possible to see Albania, as it is exactly in front of Otranto. It is beautiful also in the evening, and it becomes so romantic with lots of street lights.
Otranto is the most eastern town of Italy, in fact, Salento was previously called Terra d’Otranto (Land of Otranto), and it is the first place in Italy, where the sunrise appears. To be exact, The Lighthouse Faro della Palascia (which is 5 kilometres far from Otranto) marks the most easterly point of the Italian mainland. The Old Town of Otranto was declared by UNESCO as ‘Heritage witness to a culture of peace’.
Horace Walpole named his book The Castle of otranto (the first gothic novel), the castle is also mentioned in the book of Bram Stoker The Lady of the Shroud.
Otranto can be a great base for vacation, as it has lots of possibilities for sightseeing near it, for example Porto Badisco, Zinzuluza cave, Castro, Santa Cesarea Terme, Torre Pinta, Alimini Lakes, Torre dell’Orso and Porto Miggiano.
Among the most important sights there are The Aragonese Castle (15th century, it is open to the public and hosts different exhibitions from time to time), The Cathedral (with enormous mosaic pavement of 1166 depicting the Tree of Life, with a crypt supported by 42 marble columns, and downstairs behind the glass there are 800 skulls and bones of martyrs), Basilica of San Pietro (with Byzantine frescoes), Piazza del Popolo, the Clock Tower, Porta a Mare, Porta Terra and Torre Alfonsina.
Otranto also hosts a lot of Festivals and Sagras, one of the most popular is Jazz Festival, which takes place every year in August.
Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.
Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.
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