Municipality of Zollino

Zollino is a small town of 2,194 inhabitants in the province of Lecce in Salento, Italy.
Salento is the south-eastern extremity of the Apulia region of Italy. It is a sub-peninsula of the main Italian Peninsula, sometimes described as the "heel" of the Italian "boot".
Messapia (from Greek ) was the ancient name of a region of Italy largely corresponding to modern Salento. It was inhabited chiey by the Messapii in classical times.
The true origin of the Messapii is debated. The most credited theory is that they came from Illyria.
They founded many towns, which, at a much later time, the Greek city of Taranto attempted to take.
However, the Messapii repulsed the Tarentine Greeks and inicted them a severe defeat in 473 BC, thanks to their superior cavalry.
The Messapic cities were independent from each other, and had trade relationships with "Magna Graecia" communities. A corps of Messapic archers fought with Athenians in a war against Syracuse.
The Messapians were later conquered by the Romans and absorbed into the Latin-speaking and Greekspeaking populace.
Zollino's territory was settled in pre-historic times, as attested by the presence of dolmens and menhirs in the area. Its foundation origin is not clear: it could be a Messapian colony from the nearby Apigliano or Soleto. In historical ancient times it was an important trade centre between the Ionian and the Adriatic coasts.
In the Middle Ages numerous waves of Byzantine Greek migrations arrived in Salento.
Although most Greek inhabitants of Southern Italy have become entirely Italianized over the centuries, the Greek community has been able to preserve their original Greek identity, heritage, language and distinct culture (the 40% of the surnames in the province of Lecce has a Greek origin)
The people from Zollino traditionally spoke the "Griko" which is a form of Greek language. In recent years the number of people who speak the Griko language has greatly diminished; the youngers have rapidly shifted to speaking the Italian Language.

24 June - "San Giovanni" Fair Quality food, typical products, Innovation and Tradition, Development and Sustainability, Global & Local Identity, Conferences, Exhibitions, Concerts and Shows, Sounds and Flavors: these are the keywords that characterize the Fair of "San Giovanni", organized by the municipality in the days around June 24 in the streets and courtyard houses in the historic town center.

25 /26 July - S. Anna's day
The cult of St. Anna has deep roots that date back to the late 17th Century, when an intense popular devotion was created following the apparition of the Saint that allowed the creation of the church of S. Anna.
This devotion was passed on from generation to generation over the centuries, as evidenced by the continuous visits of the Church, particularly among infertile couples and pregnant women.
The feast is organized voluntarily by the Zollino citizens.

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