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
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