The project “Città dei Presepi” (literally, “City of Christ’s Nativity”) began in September 2007 with the goal of developing off-season tourism, focused on religious tourism that explores local cultural traditions. A particularly elegant example of local religious culture is seen in the “Presepistica Salentina”, in which local artisans throughout the region create and display elaborate nativity scenes.
The project is organized by the Commune of Lecce, commencing with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Province of Lecce, the APT, the Euro-Mediterranean Cultural Heritage Agency , the Chamber of Commerce, the provincial tourism agencies of the following municipalities: Alliste, Castrignano Del Capo, Castro, Cavallino, Cutrofiano, Diso, Galatina, Gallipoli, Leverano, Maglie, Martano, Minervino, Muro Leccese, Monteroni, Novoli, Poggiardo, Racale, Sanarica, San Cesario di Lecce, San Pietro In Lama, Tricase, and Ugento.
Between December 25th, 2007 and January 6th, 2008, a free bus service with 5 routes was offered to the public that connected each of these cities. The initiative was successful due to the publicity on the Region of Puglia’s tourism website (www.viaggiareinpuglia.it), as well as promotion on radio and television stations and print media.
In December of 2009, the association “Città dei Presepi” was established to connect local associations in support of this cultural tourism project. Building on last year’s success, the number of routes connecting the cities was doubled to accommodate the participation of the following municipalities: Alliste, Castrignano del Capo, Cutrofiano, Castro, Cavallino, Diso, Gallipoli, Lequile, Leverano, Maglie, Martano, Minervino, Monteroni, Muro Leccese, Novoli, Ortelle, Sanarica, San Cesario, San Pietro in Lama, Santa Cesarea Terme, Tricase, Ugento, Uggiano La Chiesa, and 7 associations of Lecce, Casarano, Galatone, Guagnano, Martignano, Strudà, and Taurisano.
The initiative was quite successful in 2008, as approximately 1000 people used the bus service provided by APT and the Province of Lecce, while many other tourists traveled by their own means after learning about the initiative through the publicity campaign. The 2009 initiative is projected to have a similar success and has been of great interest to other municipalities and associations that would like to participate.
Click on the map to view details about each of the Nativity Scenes within the various locations (italian language).