Ceglie Messapica - the gastronomic capital of Puglia

Ceglie Messapica - the gastronomic capital of Puglia

Things to do - general

Ceglie Messapica is a well hidden mystery on the edge of the Valle d’Itria, underestimated and often considered the poor sister of Cisternino. But it is anything but poor in history, culture and the number of restaurants per capita.

Foodies delight as Ceglie Messapica is not only one of the restaurant capitals of Italy but is also host to a Cooking School and Ceglie Food Festival run in August every year.

Ceglie Messapica rarely gets a fleeting mention in tourist information as the town between the Valle d’Itria and Salento, which makes it all the more intriguing to tourists as it has a local feel, not over laden with tourists despite its Castello Ducale which can be seen from a long distance as you approach the town. It has a number of palaces, portals and emblems to be discovered and admired.

As the capital of gastronomy, Ceglie Messapica has a rich territory surrounding the town and the restaurant owners pride themselves in growing their own vegetables, producing their own special dishes direct from the rich earth just as fishermen on the coast supply the seafood restaurants, Ceglie’s restaurants are supplied from the soil.

Not to be missed:

  • Castello Ducale – The norman castle is the symbol of Ceglie Messapica – a rare sight in the times of its construction with towers reaching 35 metres in height.
  • Piazza Vechia – in the old town lined by palazzo owned by the gentry of Ceglie Messapica
  • Chiesa Collegiata – believed to have been built in 1521
  • Le Grotte de Montevicoli – a km south west of Ceglie, visits available.



Country Ceglie Messapica is a link between the deep south Salento and the Valle d'itria
Nearest Airport

Brindisi is the closest - 30 minutes or use Bari with its major links to international hubs.

Languages spokenItalian but a lot of people are now using English on menus in restaurants. Many of the locals speak French or German too as they have had to re-located for work.
Currency usedEuro
Area (km2)130 square kms.

Sports & nature

After a holiday of gastronomic dealings, you may be looking for somewhere to run off a few pounds.

I would suggest a stroll in the countryside but the lanes become long and winding, and we may never see you again!! Bike hire along the purpose built tracks of the "Acquedotto Puglese" pipelines may just do the trick. And if you get lost you just need turn back upon yourself and continue in your tracks in reverse order.

There are a number of gyms open in Ceglie and of course an outside tennis court. Other activities can be enjoyed by the sea, so please consult the Activities list in the Main Menu of the Home Page.

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Nightlife info

There are a number of vogue bars and restaurants in Ceglie, with live music. Events will be shown on our Events Calendar which can be consulted in the side panel or Footer.

Nocturnal life is spent strolling the streets of Ceglie Messapica or enjoying the street shows and spectacles.

For late nighters, head to the beach where music is played into the long hours or you could pop along to the local, The Royal Oak Pub for a night cap?

Culture and history info

According to legend, Ceglie was founded by the famous people of the Pelasgians, who have also been credited with the construction of the megalithic artifacts known as the "specchie".

Ceglie get its name from the Greek settlers that followed the people of Pelasgians, who named it Kailia or Ceglie. The city dedicated suburban sanctuaries to the Greek gods Apollo - today's church of San Rocco, Venus - on the hill Montevicoli and under the Basilica of St. Anne, fragments and remains were found of the temple of the goddess Latona mother of Apollo and Diana

History runs deep in Ceglie Messapica, and the Archeological Museum holds artefacts of importance inclusive of a sector dedicated to a demonstration of the defensive systems put in place by the Messapian cities of that period, that is to say their defensive walls, known locally as "Paretoni" and "Specchie".

Food is as culturally important as the history upon which it is founded. Many food items originate from Ceglie Messapica today as was the case many years afore.

Biscotto Cegliese, taralli, frise, pane, fresh pastas, cheeses, olive oils and so much more. But the best way to sample, is to experience Ceglie cooking first hand in one of the numerous restaurants.

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Masseria Terre Rosse - Exceptional! Sleeps 8 - Large Salt Baths!

Masseria Terre Rosse - Exceptional! Sleeps 8 - Large Salt Baths!

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Trullo Oasis - Mediterrenean Style - pool - sleeps 4 + 1

Trullo Oasis - Mediterrenean Style - pool - sleeps 4 + 1

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Villa Il Ramarro - Stylish & Modern - sleeps 8 - private pool

Contrada Santoro, Ceglie Messapica - the gastronomic capital of Puglia
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Ristorante Arco Antico - Via Celso 4, Ceglie Messapica - 339 7591381 - The restaurant owner bought the building in which Arco Antico is now sited, 6 years ago at the age of 20, and with his parents he built up a reputable restaurant which occupies also the square in front, seating 100 people in the summer months. In the winter you can cuddle up within the inside cavern. - He serves his kitchen from his garden. Where he finds the time between lunch and dinner seatings is anyone's guess! This is a great find and you will want to return soon after.

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