The Italian region called Puglia, in the heel of the Italian "boot," ends in Italy's extreme south, and its southern-most province is called Salento. In the local dialect the Salentini (local people) use this expression:
“Salentu: Lu sule, Lu mare, Lu ientu”which literally means “Salento: the Sun, the Sea, the Wind.” For kiters this can be enough to have a good reason to pay a visit to this Mediterranean enclave, but before we talk about kitespots and winds, let us mention the cultural richness of this beautiful region.
This land has always been a frontier, or rather a confrontation ground, between Europe and the Middle East: it has been conquered by Greeks in ancient times and became part of "Magna Grecia," and in more recent times it was taken over by Spanish (the Aragons) and the Ottoman Turks: during the famous Otranto’s Christians massacre in 1480, 800 Otrantini were beheaded, because of the refusal to convert to Islam. This cultural crucible can be considered unique in the Mediterranean and it is now expressed through the richness in food, arts and music.
Salento's typical cuisine is a must-try: vegetable dishes (based on eggplants, tomatoes, olives, ‘fave’…) play a big role in the local recipes and are absolutely delicious, but so are local fish and meat dishes. Talking about wine, we are in the region of Negroamaro and of Primitivo di Manduria, world-famous red wines.
So if all this sounds good to you, the best is yet to come: Salento is a perfect location for kitesurfing. It is basically a small peninsula facing two seas: the Adriatic and the Ionian. This leads to countless combinations of spots and wind conditions: the most appreciated winds by local kiters are the ‘Tramontana’ (North) and the ‘Scirocco’ (south-east).
For the Scirocco wind, the best kitesurfing spots are on the Ionian Sea: close to Gallipoli we have the sandy beaches of Baia Verde in the south of the town, and Padula Bianca in the north. A little further north you can find the best spot: Porto Cesareo, with its crystal clear and shallow waters.
For these reasons it’s better to stay away from Salento in the summer, and to kite in the autumn, when the weather is still pleasant and warm and the beaches start to become empty: in this period kiters become the owners of the spots and enjoy great wind days!
If you are a beginner, there are a lot of kite schools around, but in our opinion, considering the quality of teaching (the only IKO center in the area) and safety, the best one is AK school, operating in the Alimini spot in the summer and in Porto Cesareo in autumn/spring.
Italy’s Deep south: Salento.
The most remote region of Italy in the deep south: a paradise for kitesurfers!
Written by: Gabriele Fabrizio Sbalbi
Date published: 09/15/2014