Abbazia di Santa Maria a Cerrate
The Abbey of St. Mary in Cerrate is one of the finest examples of Romanesque in Puglia. It was founded in the late twelfth century by Tancred, Count of Lecce. Legend has it that in this place the Madonna appeared to Tancredi between the horns of a deer, hence the name (or Cerrate Cervate). The town was an important religious and cultural center until the sixteenth century. In 1711 the Abbey was sacked by Turkish pirates and fell into a state of neglect, continued until the restoration of 1965 edited by the Province of Lecce. Its facade portal is surmounted by an arch of exceptional quality with high reliefs depicting scenes from the New Testament and a monk in prayer. The building's interior was completely decorated with frescoes dating from the thirteenth century, now preserved in the Museum.