Specchia is a little Salento
centre, positioned on a small hill dominating the Serra dei
Its name derives from an accumulation of stones dating back
to the Iron Age, which were used by the Messapians as lookout
and defence stations.
Its origins came about due to continuous Saracen raids along
the nearby coast (IX and I Centuries), which pushed the inhabitants
to move inland and on the hill, given birth to the habitation
With the advent of the Normans, the suburb became part of
the Earldom of Lecce and was given in fief to Filiberto Monteroni
After the decline of the Angiò in Italy (1269) which
cancelled the Swabian lineage from history, Specchia was given
to Rodolfo D’Alnay, already a noble of Alessano.
It then passed to the Del Balzo Family, in marriage dowry
for Caterina D’Alnay (1325). A century later (1434),
under their guidance, Specchia was besieged and destroyed
by Giacomo Caldora, a cavalier under orders from Giovanna
II of Naples.
A few years later (1452), Alfonso I of Aragona gave permission
to Raimondo Del Balzo to build and repopulate the suburb.
In 1480, after the Turks took Otranto, Specchia became a secure
refuge for many people from Salento, therefore furthering
During successive centuries, the City became a fief of the
Di Capua, Gonzaga, Brajda, Trane, Protonobilissimo families,
the latter then kept it from 1630 to 1794, when the King of
Naples made it part of the Demanio Regio (Royal government
In 1797, it was given to Antonio Maria Pignatelli who kept
it until the abolition of feudal rights law (1806).
In 1861 it was annexed to the Reign of Italy after a plebiscitary
vote on 21st October 1860, which sanctioned the wishes of
the people of Puglia to enter into the new reign.
A visit to the City is full of fascination and evocative ideas
from the beauty of its historical centre which conserves an
intact Medieval town planning (XV Century). The Risolo Castle
dominates the centre made up of a narrow streets, steps, small
courtyards and Baroque doorways.
The Franciscan Church and Convent (1531), the Parrocchiale
(Parish Church) (1605) and the S. Nicola Church (IX Century)
are the main religious buildings in Specchia.