A picturesque commune of Grecìa Salentina with its origins lost in legend. In fact according to some scholars it was built by a Gentilitia Roman named "Castrinus" ; others say that ist name comes from the Latin word "castrum" (camp) or from the Greek term "kastron" (castle) in further confirmation of itsclose link with Greece. Castrignano kept the Greek religious rite untill 1614 when Don Menelao Pensa died. His successors celebrated Mass with the Latin rite. However it is interesting to know that notwithstanding the latin rite was the official one in Castrignano Mass was said accordingto the Greek rite and the local Parish Church was run, for the will of the people, by Greek priests. We know for sure from a reliable historical source that during the pastoral visit made by the Archbishop of Otranto F. DA Capua in 1522 in the village you could see several Byzantine churches which have disappeared now: among them Saint Maria of the Martyrs, St. Stephen, St. Maria delle Puzzelle or of the Graces (with Necropolis), or the Trinity and of St. Anastasia. During the Medieval age castrignano was given to Pietro Indrimi by King Tancredi and later of the most important Seigniories we nust remember the Prato, the Maresgallo and the Gualtieri. in the peopled village you can admire the Byzantine Crypt of St. Onofrio which dates back to the 6th century. It was built by Basilian monks who probably enlarged a pre-existing natural cave using it as a worship place. Inside St. Onofrio' s Crypt, once surmounted by a small church dedicated to St. Maria of the Visitation and St. Maria ed Hidria, there is a Greek inscription "I B y Z" i.e. 1237 the probable date of a rennovation. The Baronal Castle, cited in a parchment of  Charles I of Angiò was once surrounded by a ditch and furnished with a draw bridge. Upon the main door you can admire the noble coat of arms of the Gualtieri family (of unhappy popular memories); the building structure underwent several modifications during the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well as some years ago. The present church dedicated to the "Madonna of the Annunziata" was built by Rocco Stomeo in 1878 on the leccese architect Federico Elmo. Inside it you can admire nine precious frescoes painted by the famous painter Saverio Altamura of Foggia. They were painted in 1892. There are other works of the artist, among them "Mario' s Triumph", in Naples, Florence, Rome and Pompei. Among the other monuments there is the Church of the Madonna of the Arcona (1731), the Church of the Immacolata (1650), the Clock Tower built in the same place were once there was a pre-existing tower which may have inspired the coat of arms of the commune. In the Pozzelle Park there are some wells (in a good state of preservation), about one hundred which once satisfied the water needs of the local population. The name Arcona represent an onomastic peculiarity of Castrignano dei Greci. Some scholars are convinced it comes from "Icona" (Holy Immage) from "Arconte" (Supreme Judges in Aethens in ancient times), from "Arch" as the one once was present inside the chapel of the homonymous Madonna or from the Greek words "Arco" (to be the first) "Arkeion" (Dignity) etc. Among the well known characters we cite: Fra' Onofrio from Castrignano, a preacher and a theologian; Vittorio Tarantini an eminent philosopher (XV century); Fernando Marzo, a philosopher and a scientist (XVII century), Leonardo Mascello, an archbishop and poet; Angiolino Cotardo an esteemed Hellenist and a valiant defensor of the Greek language and culture.





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Angiolino Cotardo nacque il 26 dicembre 1922 a Castrignano dei Greci, paese ellenofono della provincia di Lecce. "Carità del natio loco" lo spinse a dedicarsi allo studio dell

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