Lenght: 6,8 km
Level of difficulty: easy
Masseria Torre Abate Risi
The route starts from Masseria Pettolecchia onto SC 27, Contrada Pettolecchia. The building dates back to the 15th century A.D, it has the shape of a parallelepiped with four towers placed at the corners and seems to be a fortified castle thanks to the high surrounding wall. Formerly it had two purposes: a masseria for agricultural production and a fortification in order to reject attacks from the sea by the ottoman Turks, in fact a moat surrounded it and there was a lift bridge for the access. Nowadays the moat is buried and the lift bridge substituted by an arch. On the front door there are the heraldry emblem and an epigraph, on top of them there is a storm drain, bigger than the other ones, and a bell-gable. On the terrace there are secret communication trenches protected by a parapet and watchtowers in addition to storm drains and loophole from were they poured hot oil. The building includes also a eighteenth century little church with a rose window on its façade and a cupola with a clerestory; warehouses; barns; the rupestrian settlement used previously as oil mill and after as prison with caves as cells.
Driving in south direction, after 800 metres turn left. Continue for 800 metres and turn right onto SC37 taking Contrada Cerasina, after 600 metres onto SC 31 keep the right and after 100 metres you can see Masseria Torre Abate Risi on your left. It is an ancient tower dating back to the 16th century, formerly the building included the farmhouse, warehouses, barns and the manor house. Nowadays the masseria is an accommodation facility.
The route runs along 1 kilometre onto SC 31. At the crossroad turn left onto SC 27 taking Contrada Cerasina-Sarzano. After 1 kilometre turn right onto SC 30 in Contrada Sarzano. 1 kilometre further you will reach the rupestrian park of Lama D’Antico. The settlement is placed in a “lama” shaped over the centuries by the flowing of ancient rivers that carved the calcareous stone. The area is characterized by a rock easy to dig, the local “tufo”, that allowed the establishment of a village made up of a series of different shaped and sized caves used as houses and workshops. It is located nearby the railway station and it is one of the biggest in Apulia and probably it was already inhabited in the 10th century A.D.; it included oil mills, drugstores, workshops , storages and houses excavated in a single compartment and an inner alcove for the animals rest. The church, carved on an elevated position in the central area of the lama, has a rectangular plan with a central nave and a small lateral nave where is located a pulpit . A sequence of arches and some seats had been carved along the side wall. In the apse is possible to see traces of ancient frescoes portraying a Deesis of the 11th-12th century that includes Christ in Majesty, the Madonna Odegitria and San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist). In the blind arches there are some frescoes depicting bishops. Outside, on the right side there in a little chapel with a Greek cross plan and two entrances.
Continuing onto SC 30, at the crossroad turn left onto SP 4 that links Fasano to Savelletri. At the roundabout take the second exit. After 100 metres, on the left, there is the rupestral settlement of San Giovanni(Saint John). The church includes a crypt with a rectangular plan composed of a narthex, a cella and a presbytery. It was probably used to celebrate baptisms.
Driving onto SP4 toward Fasano, after 400 metres turn left in order to reach the final destination: the rupestrian settlement of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence), it is composed of some caves on two levels. The church has a crypt with a trapezoidal plan and is composed of a narthex, a cella and a presbytery. The narthex has a quadrangular shape with a central pillar while the presbytery has a rectangular shape with two apses. Among the frescoes can be recognized San Giorgio (Saint George) piercing a dragon.