The town of San Pietro Vernotico with a population of over twenty thousand is approx 10kms from any of our “PlaceinPuglia” holiday Villas.
Situated inland, the towns history dates back to original settlements founded in 500 BC.
The Church of St Peter the Apostle was built in the settlement which was then named “Vernotico” in the 8th century, and as the town grew around this central place of worship – the name altered over time becoming, San Pietro Vernotico (Saint Peters Vernotico) with the Patron Saints Day celebrated every year on the 29th June with a festival.
The Church of San Pietro Apostolo with its ancient frescoes of the Evangelists, the 15th century Chiesa Matrice (Mother Church) along with the 14th Century Torre Quadrata (Square Tower) are three of the most famous landmarks existing in the town of today.
On the 1st Sunday after Easter, the town annually celebrates the Asta della Bandiera (Tradition of the Flagstaff) to commemorate a running battle in 1480 when the towns citizenry were able to muster in time to finally defeat an invading force of Turks, even capturing the Flagstaff and banners of the Turkish General Achmet Pasha as he fled from the scene of the battle.
San Pietro today is unusual amongst most towns in Puglia on account of having a main street shopping thoroughfare, named the Via Brindisi.
Most shops are concentrated along this road that bisects the town, with several banks, an internet café, post office, a town hall, hospital and a myriad of shopping places jostle for space with a range of cafes, ice-cream parlours and restaurants.
The New Safari and the unlikely named Big Ben are just two of those which rightly deserve a mention for good eating and good value.
Several Supermarkets of various sizes are to be found in the centre, with excellent value low-cost supermarkets like Eurospin and the DOK both to be found on the Via Lecce towards the Hospital on the south side of the town.
Other supermarkets include a Super Brio and a CONAD as well as smaller ones scattered around, and the town boasts two wineries, the Cantina Santa Barbara and the Cantina Due Palme, each competing against the other to transform the areas abundant grape harvest into crisp white wines and the strong, richly flavoured deep red wines that are savoured not just in Puglia but are popular throughout Italy and beyond. It is possible to visit both these Cantinas to sample and buy wines to take home from your holidays.
The train station in San Pietro Vernotica has local trains and TreniItalia services to both Lecce and Brindisi, from where it is possible to catch the Eurostar train service to Rome’s Termini Station, there is also a bus service to Lecce, Brindisi and Torchiarolo from the town.
There is a market every Saturday morning held at the junction of via Brindisi and the SP 84 that leads back towards the Torchiarolo road.
The market sells the usual range of seasonal produce from stalls and farmers Apés and trucks, with clothes, household items, and stalls offering the standard trinkets and gee-gaws as well.
With an Easter Festival, Patron Saints Day in June, and Christmas Festivities – San Pietro Vernotico has its share of municipal celebrations.
It even has a Festa di Lumaca (Snail Festival) on the first weekend in August, hosting Tarantella dancers, attractions and open air cooking… and also – the snails of course !!
Boiled, broiled, roasted and dry fried, served with sauces, herbs, flavoured oils or just salted, Snails of all sizes and shapes are sold and devoured throughout each day of the festival as they are served from great steaming cauldrons and pans with yellow semolina breads. Enjoy !
After this festivals delights, return to your Villa to unwind, relax and contemplate what you have just eaten.