ACAYA

In the magical land of Salento, in the province of Lecce is where one can visit the splendid fortified village of Acaya. Its high importance was mainly due to the castle which was constructed under the orders of Baron Gian Giacomo dell’Acaya between 1535-1536.

In ancient times the village was known as Segine, which was subject of feud since the period of French domination in Southern Italy. It was yielded over to the Angioini by the St John the Baptist Convent and therefore from 1294, yielded over by Charles II of Angiò to the Acaya family which governed it for centuries.
As a result of the continuous Turkish raids and the besiegement and destruction of Otranto by the Turkish fleet of Maometto II (1480), Charles Vth decided to fortify the village by giving the project to Baron Gian Giacomo Acaya, who noted its value for his strategies during some military operations.
Gian Giacomo therefore continued his father Alfonso’s work, as he had previously constructed the Castle. In addition, he restructured the matrix church and its bell tower, and built the Convento dei Minori Osservanti (Convent of Minor Observations), dedicated to Saint Anthony.
At that time, the village changed name and took on the name of the noble family. In 1570, Gian Giacomo died in poverty after having been imprisoned for debts and Acaya was sold. This saw the beginning of its destiny of decline.
In 1714, Acaya was besieged and devastated by the Turks, though the modern village still conserves its original Renaissance style.
The village can be visited by entering the gateway which opens up along the rectangular perimeter walls. The castle is a trapezoidal structure, protected by walls with embedded doubled wooden frames. After years of negligence and abandonment, Acaya became part of a new cultural programme for the territory and once again returned as a frequented meta for visitors and tourists.

ACAYA
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Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy

 

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