the village in Presicce, situated in the lower Salento near Capo di Leuca, is known as the city of hypogea, for the presence of numerous underground mills. The inhabited center, located in a valley which is particularly rich in water, is dominated from the Conservatory of Pozzomauro, a hill organised in terraces and dry-stone walls along the slopes and covered with Mediterranean maquis, expanses of olive groves, pine trees and shrub species of thorny oaks.
The story of the origins of Presicce is not well delineated. Probably it was the great presence of aquifers superficial to attract the first settlements, which seem to date back around the VII century. The coat of arms in Presicce, a deer drinking from a source, seems to reproduce this abundance of water in the territory presiccese. The foundation of the real and proper village has been the work of the inhabitants of Pozzomauro a settlement located on a hill to the south-west of the current inhabited center. Of this settlement are still visible the ruins of an ancient tower used as a defense from the invasions of the Saracens, a basilian crypt dug in the rock and a church from a very basic style. In 1481 the Saracens invaded Pozzomauro destroying it. Even the origins of the name of the country appear to be linked with this settlement, it is believed that Presicce derives from the Latin word 'praesidium' as to indicate a military garrison. In 1088 Presicce becomes part of the Principality of Taranto, from here you know that the feud passed between the hands of several noble families including Securo, i De Specola, the Gonzaga, Brayda and principles Bartilotti. In 1714 the feud was elevated to the principality of Monaco and the entrusted subsequently to de Liguoro'.
A history of blood is linked to the origins of the term "Mascarani", nickname of the inhabitants of Presicce. A time in the principality from the seventeenth century was in force of the law of the ius primae noctis, i.e. an alleged right of the feudatory, never documented, to pass with the novellas brides the wedding night until one night, during the carnival of the year 1655 according to legend (in reality the episode took place in November during the feast of the patron saint, Saint Andrew the Apostle), the prince is encountered by a window of the ancient castle to greet the festive citizens, when between the crowd appeared a masked man that fired a shot, killing the prince. Precisely from this episode comes the nickname of the inhabitants in Presicce, Mascarani. Following the event criminal perpetrated by an inhabitant of the place, the de' Liguoro bought the Principality preparing an agricultural reform with the redistribution of land in emphyteusis to farmers and installing a series of crushers, suitable for the production of olive oil exported in Naples and in Spain.
The numerous courtyard houses present in the ancient village of the inhabited area in Presicce date back to the Sixteenth Century. Are the humble dwellings, composed mainly of a single compartment (maximum two) and the cellar, grouped around a space discovered, the court. In this space, where took place the main domestic activities, is always present the well and the stack, a washroom in stone used to wash clothes.
The warm climate and fertile soil have allowed the presiccesi to develop the agricultural sector, intensifying particularly the production of wine and especially of olive oil, the main economic source of the country in times gone by. Around the XI-XIII century spread the use of digging crushers ipogei at Grotta, said trappeti. Their presence suggests that Presicci had a booming economy and allows to reconstruct the stages of its development: the first were built on the slopes of the greenhouse in Pozzomauro; later, after drainage of the swamp "Arnea", activities began to move downstream. Most trappeti focuses along the road that connected the first two urban nuclei from which winds the entire country. In the past, in piazza Villani, were present auctioneers who stared at the price on the market. Between traders there was the Venetian Pietro David, known for its commercial relations throughout the world. The typology of trappeti Presicce is simple: are dug into the tufa rock, the floor is in beaten earth, there were presses "alla genovese" or mills "French". The modest size of the environments, unsuitable to contain new crushers and presses, not allowed to make changes in technology. Toward the end of the XIX century the trappeti were abandoned, some processed in landfills or cellars and others, located in the countryside, in folds or stables. Starting from the nineties, subsequent interventions for the reclamation and restructuring have allowed for the recovery of these environments as a tourist destination.
Village of Presicce
Municipality of Presicce
Province of Lecce
Altitude centre: 104 m s.l.m.
the Municipality is part of:
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Unione Presicce, Acquarica del Capo
Piazza del Popolo 43 - Tel. +39 0833 726405