Italy Tips & Information
Just some handy tips, information and translations for your time in deepest darkest Salento. (like Leinster)(Heel of the boot)
Copertino is a small castle town with around 12,000 inhabitants. It is old school Italy and something to bare in mind.
People in the Salento region speak their own version of Italian. Called Greco. It is part Italian and Part Greek. They call it "Copertinase" Its basically Italian slang.
Where in Italian, Cosa Voi? means what do you want. People in Copertino say "Chebway"
In the centre of town Copertino has the main square (Piazza). This is surrounded by flag stoned back streets that lead to the back of the Castle (Castello) at the top of the town and house some historic buildings.
Town Hall, San Giuseppe's house and the town Cathedral are in these streets.
Wikipedia Page Here
Lecce is the nearest big city to Copertino and like most Italian cities. It is busy.
It still has all of the old world charm, with the old churches and Forum (mini colosseum) but still has plenty of shopping and other touristy bits to do too.
By Car from Porto Cesareo. Lecce is around a 40min drive and by Bus, just over 1hr.
Porto Cesareo is a seaside town similar enough to Malahide in Dublin. The town itself is a small fishing port with beaches, Islands and plenty to do. This is the town we would recommend people stay in.
During the morning the town is busy with fruit and vegetable vans selling everything from watermelons to yards of chillis. Things get quiet in the afternoon for siesta and in the evening, the Icecream parlours (gelateria) bars and restaurants become quite busy.
On the promenade wall in the evenings is a small market similar to the street market in Copertino.
Porto Cesareo is also very close to Nardo and the Nardo Ring which is a famous test track for Porsche and other car brands.
Car rental is a great idea. Brindisi and Bari airports have plenty on offer and we will post any offers or ideas on rental soon.
We do intend organising a limited mini bus shuttle service between Porto Cesareo, Lecce and Copertino with a few other odds and ends thrown in like day trips etc. A car is always going to offer that extra freedom though.
Petrol and Diesel prices are a little cheaper than here. LPG or Gas powered cars are available too and the cost to fill one is around €10. A great option.
Click here for SkyScanner Prices Brindisi
Our Recommendation for people travelling too and from Italy is either to travel through Germany or Amsterdam to get from Dublin to Brindisi. Or to Bari which is further North.
There is no direct flight from Dublin to Brindisi Airport at present. Ryanair fly direct to Bari with a bus service travelling to Lecce and other towns in the Salento area for cheap.
There are multiple flights that travel through Rome Fumacino airport. It can be a bit manic and flying via Germany or Holland means you get their efficiency rather than the stress of a Roman airport.
Ryanair are now doing Flights from Frankfurt to Brindisi currently €133 return
Dub - Milan - Brindisi
Ryanair are now doing flights
Dublin to Milan, 2 hour stop over in Milan then on to Brindisi €151 return
Details on FARECOMPARE
Festa Di San Giuseppe
San Guiseppe Festival:
A festival that remembers San Giuseppe who died and flew back to Copertino happens for pretty much the whole month of September.
On September 17th, The procession of San Giuseppe happens from the Grotella Church, approx 3km into the town and the statue is carried by local men.
The town itself is lit my huge light displays that are tailored to music as the procession comes towards its end in the town.
Over this time, the town centre is turned into an open air market with everything from Phone Chargers to Torrone Siciliano (Almond Brittle bars) which are made as you pass.
**This is not like Paddys day. Pints on the street is not a good look**
Video of San Giuseppe Fest Here
Galipoli is a port town half on, half off the mainland approx 20mins south of Copertino.
The Island itself can be driven around in about 3 minutes if you arent held up by a badly parked vespa and there is plenty of places to eat and drink on the tiny Island itself and in the newer part of town on the mainland.
As with most other towns in Salento. There is a castle as you travel over the bridge and plenty to see and do.
One thing Salento is not missing is beaches.
On both sides of the heel you have rocky volcanic coastline with beaches in between.
Beaches close to Porto Cesareo are all along the same strip of road, so very close the town and easy to access.
The first beach is South of Porto Cesareo and called Sant' Isadoro. This is a small coastal village with a large beach front and Lido (bathing place). There is a comfortable bar and plenty of sun loungers. These can vary in price so it might be an idea to bring towels. In height of season these can be as much as €20 per day from reports. So be smart with them.
The Next beach is Porto Cesareo beach. In a Lagoona or sheltered sea area, the beach is mostly public. So no paying for sun loungers and umbrellas and is close to everything in the little town.
As you travel North there is a third beach called Torre Lapillo. Like Sant' Isadoro most of these beaches are taken over by sun loungers and umbrellas for rent. With very little space left for public free visits to the beach. Walking down any side street to the beach will bring you to an open area not infested by beach umbrellas.
If you go a little further north or south by car there are plenty more.
In an Emergency the Europe Wide number 112 accesses Emergency Services but is not the only number they use. Speak slowly and give clear instructions to where you are. If possible ask for a local to explain. We will have our phones on us too if you need and will be organising local people to help with issues where possible.
- 113 - police.
- 115 - fire brigade.
- 118 - first aid.
EHIC (European Health Insurance Cards) are available from the HSE. These cards when presented will provide healthcare on the public system FREE if you become ill or injured while in any of the EU member states.
It should be presented at time of admission
You can apply here or visit your local HSE health office.
Hotels In the area are not few and far between.
We have been advising people to stay somewhere like the seaside town Porto Cesareo.
Here are a list of hotels based on price and location in the area.
Its Italy. Lets not piss about here. The food is great. It is better than the Italian food you are used to in Ireland.
Italians love fish, red meat is not consumed as much as we think it is. Often the meat is cooked in the sauce and the pasta is served with just the sauce. Meat comes later as a separate course. Dont worry. They have Bolognaise.
Around Salento because it is so close to the sea. You can quite literally get great fish anywhere. Most restaurants have fish heavy menus with everything from Prawns (Gamberoni) to Fritto Misto di Mare (Mixed fried seafood platters).
One thing to note. Italians love it to be fresh. Fruit, Herbs, and especially fish. Chances are. When you get it. Its gonna look like it did coming out of the water.
Price is the running joke here.
Around Copertino, Porto Cesareo and other towns. You can expect to pay less than €1 for a coffee. In the region of €3 for a bottle of wine that wont implode your skull the following morning and a Pizza should start off at around the €3 mark in most places.
Every petrol station has a bar, mostly they serve coffee, water and soft drinks but they sell beer by Spina (half pint glass) or bottled for around €1 each. Trendier bars you can expect to pay a maximum of €2 in towns and hotel bars in some hotspots like Santa Maria De Leuca (most southerly tip of Italy) €5 per drink.
Supermarket prices for beer and wine are a little cheaper with most local shops and supermarkets selling 660ml bottles of beer for approx €1.50
Bottles of wine can cost between €2 and €8 and in bars or coffee shops you can expect to be ripped off for a bottle of prosecco at between €10 & €12 (This usually comes with food for free).
Despite these prices. Italians are not big drinkers. Most will have one drink, or share a large bottle between them.
We have been speaking to Hotels in the Porto Cesareo area for late September and they have been quite accomodating on prices. Dropping some of their regular prices from over €100 per night down a bit. There are plenty of places on Air BNB and other short stay apartments and houses in the area very cheap too.
Click here for AirBNB in the area
We are trying at the moment to organise a bus service that will run from Porto Cesareo to Lecce and other towns in the area.
Each bus will arrive in Porto Cesareo and Lecce to agreed areas at agreed times to facilitate people who dont have a rented car.
On the wedding day, needless to say the buses will be to Copertino and back to Porto Cesareo etc. No Shopping will be done that day.
We also aim to use this service for Airport Pick Up and Drop Off if people come in on certain flights. This makes it easier to move people around and cuts cost for you guys.
People flying to Bari Airport we would advise taking a coach to Lecce and we can arrange transport from there.
Prices and Times on Bus Radar for Bari to Lecce Here