Soon, museums and special places of historical, artistic, spiritual architectural value and importance will open their doors again to both locals and travellers coming from other areas of the Country. Hopefully, these places of culture will be soon also available and enjoyable to visitors from other Countries, who can finally come to visit Italy again in safe conditions. Among a wide range of cultural spots, which are worth a visit in the South of Apulia, is Santa Caterina d’Alessandria basilica, that is a splendid gem of Romanesque and Gothic architectural style in Apulia region.
It takes only 20/30 minutes from Lecce to reach this wonderful monument in Galatina by car. Besides, it is possible to park free and within a very short distance from the small square, in the historical center, where the basilica is situated. These pics were taken some time ago during a guided tour. On that occasion, a friendly and well trained guide introduced the amazing sceneries and frescoes of the basilica to visitors.
Raimondello Orsini Del Balzo, a nobleman of the Kingdom of Naples, belonging to one of the most influential noble families in Italy between the Middle Age and the Renaissance era, was the main customer of the basilica that was built on the preexistent foundations of a Byzantine church. Later on, after he died, his wife, Maria d’Enghien, countess of Lecce, kept on with the leading role of costumer and ordered the execution of the precious frescoes, which nowadays we can admire in the basilica, to artists coming from different areas of Italy and basically from Giotto and the Senese school of painting.
The legend tells that Prince Raimondello, coming from Holy Land, stopped by the Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai region to pray on the corps of the saint. They say, Raimondello, while in the act of kissing her hand, took one of her fingers with him and hid it until he was in Italy. That finger is nowadays preciously treasured relic in the monastery next to the basilica.