The small Apulian town of Acaya is a hamlet of the Municipality of Vernole, around 10 km far away from Lecce. Built in 1500, Acaya is the only example of fortified Renaissance town in South Italy.

A journey back in time

This masterpiece of military architecture, which extends both to the Adriatic Coast (it’s only 5 km far away from the sea) and to Lecce, is the symbol of the feudal power, that was strong in this area during the Middle Ages.

Historical notes

Originally, in the medieval times, Acaya was made up of just one farmhouse named Segine. The place was transformed in XVI sec. by the baron and architect Gian Giacomo Acaya, a former engineer of the King Carlo V, and the village was named to him. Acaya, thanks also to its strategic position, soon became a real fortress-town.

The still visible ancient bulwark

The baron made a real work of fortification, a bulwark meant to protect the area from the several Turkish attacks. The fortification remained intact and is still visible nowadays. The city-wall was built around the city-centre, in addition to the previously existing castle. Moreover, a big moat was dug and furnished with a drawbridge.

What to visit in Acaya

You absolutely have to visit the castle with a trapezoidal plan, situated in the central square of the village. It has two high towers with decorations made by the architects, a large courtyard, the stables and the rest of an ancient stone oil-mill.

A walk through the town

You can admire the military style of the ancient town just walking through the streets of Acaya. The city centre has an only access gate, named to Sant’Oronzo. The gate has on the top the statue of the Patron Saint, which was located there by the next owners of the manor, the Vernazzas. Once crossed the gate, you can go through the streets of Acaya, which are all parallel or perpendicular to each other, in a sort of regular grid.

The fortress-town

The outer walls of the town make a rectangle with three bulwarks and they are made by a typical stone of this area, the “pietra leccese”. On the top of the walls there is a walkway reserved to the soldiers.

Beyond the city-walls

Visiting Acaya, you have to see the 16th century. Church named to Our Lady of The Snow, the bell tower and the late-Romanesque belfry.

Out of the town you cannot miss a visit to the Nature Reserve “Le Cesine”, with its enchanting dunes, a pine forest, the lakes and a cultivate area, surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub.

Discovering Acaya with Slow Active Tours

Rely on Slow Active Tours to live an unforgettable experience and discover this magic and timeless place!

Many of our tours include a visit to the historic town of Acaya, linking Lecce to the beautiful Adriatic Sea and pedalling with Lecce, Bacchus and Baroque you will have the opportunity to visit the town and the surroundings for a whole day!

Slow Active Tours suggests studied itineraries, offering 360° experience of Salento and granting safety and fun! Only this way you can fully enjoy the beauty of Salento.