The land of the "Tenuta Tresca Estate" belongs to the countryside of San Cassiano, forty kilometres far from Lecce. According to outstanding experts, San Cassiano is a very ancient village, risen through the remains of Muro Leccese, which was destroyed around the beginning of the 10th century by the Saracens. As to the name, it refers to the renowned Cassiano, one of the first founders and legislators of the monastic fraternities from Western Europe. As a Saint he was always venerated as an example of fraternity. Therefore, San Cassiano's inhabitants find their identity in the name of this Middle-Ages village, showing their innate sense of hospitality, brotherhood and respect towards foreigners. According to feudal law, San Cassiano was granted as a fiefdom to the aristocratic families of the Guarini, Peschin, Squarcifico, Doria, Panza, Francone, Mosco, Lubelli. In 1747, the Frisari, the last landowners of San Cassiano, bought Palazzo Feudale from the Lubelli and in 1755 they were conferred the title of Earls. They remained in San Cassiano until the repeal of feudal system (1806). Afterwards, the Guarini, as descendants of the Frisari, inherited Palazzo Feudale by succession. The coat of arms of San Cassiano's Municipality show the picture of a palm, symbol of friendship and of brotherhood, and of two oak and olive branches, which refer to local vegetation. Palazzo Feudale or Palazzo Ducale, a typical example of aristocratic palaces, one of the grandest of the ancient village centre, was built in ductile "pietra leccese" ("Lecce stone"). An old oil mill is still kept in the cellars. To know more, please visit: www.comune.sancassiano.le.it. It is interesting to note that San Cassiano is in the heart of Salento, which is also known because of "tarantismo" ("tarantism": an alleged, possibly deadly envenomation, popularly believed to result from a spider bite called a "tarantula"). In ancient times, on the occasion of the Feast of St. Paul (June 29), numbers of the "tarantati" ("tarantulees": poisoned people), poured into the chapel of Saint Paul in Galatina to ask to be healed. Road to recovery started from the houses of the "tarantati" and followed during the itinerary which split San Cassiano from Galatina through obsessive dancing called "la pizzica tarantata" accompanied by the sound of tambourines.
In June 1959, Dr. Ernesto De Martino, ethnologist, with the support of a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a sociologist, carried out a research in Salento to study "tarantism", the ritual treatment for the mythical "tarantula bite".
Santu Paulu meu di Galatina
Facitine la grazia stamattina
Santu Paulu meu di li tarante
Facitene la grazia a tutte quante
"Pizzica tarantata" taken from: E. De Martino, La terra del rimorso, Editore Il Saggiatore Economici, Milano, 1994, pag. 361. To know more, please visit: