What to do in Salento – Basilic of Santa Caterina in Galatina
There are many things to do and see in Salento
Galatina has a precious and elegant historic center, as it is enriched by noble buildings with eighteenth-century architecture. However, the main attraction is the medieval Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria.
The Basilica has a facade in Apulian Romanesque style with cornices and a rose window embellished with fine decorations.
The real surprise is inside
In fact crossing the threshold one is enchanted by the quantity and quality of the frescoes that cover the central nave. These frescoes were made by unknown artists in 1300, at the behest of Maria D’Enghien (Countess of Lecce) wife of Raimondo “Raimondello” Orsini del Balzo (Prince of Taranto). Many specialists have compared the frescoes to the ones of Giotto’s school that you can find in the Basilica of San Francesco D’Assisi.
Besides this the Basilica of Galatina is still today run by the Franciscan friars and holds a relic of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
Furthermore the cycle of frescoes had to have an informative and bible function for the illiterate population, that at that time was still under the influence of the Byzantine empire and the Greek rite liturgy.
For this reason the frescoes tell of the ancient testament, the apocalypse, hell and paradise, about the birth and life of Jesus Christ together with the sacraments and the martyrdom of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
The complex of the Basilica includes the cloister, also frescoed in the eighteenth century and the museum.
Other surprises in Galatina
After visiting the Basilica you can go through the historic center, in Piazza S.Pietro where the Mother Church of Saints Peter and Paul is located. Here, next to the Church is the Chapel of St. Paul was the place where those who had been bitten by poisonous spiders, the tarante, went to be exorcised by drinking the miraculous water of its well. Ascalone pastry shop, where the delicious Pasticciotto was born, cannot be missed along the way.