Welcome to the website of e-griko.eu

The Greek-speaking region of Salentine Greece is situated in Puglia, south of the town of Lecce. Once it extended over a larger area to the one it comprises today, between Otranto (anc. Greek: Hydrous) and Gallipoli (anc. Greek: Callipolis). Today the Greek-speaking Salento region (approximately 100 square kilometers) consists of eleven municipalities: Calimera, Carpignano Salentino, Castrignano dei Greci, Corigliano dOtranto, Martano, Martignano, Soleto, Melpignano, Sternatia, Zollino, and Cutrofiano. Prehistoric traces can be seen alongside byzantine monuments, medieval edifices and the Lecce baroque buildings.

Griko To this day, customs and traditions of a common Greek root survive in these villages, to a different degree in each one. Three different theories have been proposed in order to explain the Greek elements of the region. One links it directly to Magna Graecia (Latin for Great Greece), the other to Byzantium (late 9th century a.D.) and the third to the Roman Period, during which there were strong links between Italy and the Greek-speaking Asia Minor.

Place names of Greek origin are found often in Salentine Greece. They are associated with the terrain, its special features and the activities of its people. For example, some of the most common place names are “itarà” and “risarà”, wherever stones abound, “tichi” wherever the border between properties is marked, “ampèglia”, “ancinarèa”, “caridèa”, “alògna” etc.

A heritage of that region are the “traùdia” (songs) and the music inspired by ancient Greek traditions that relate to the mythology.

Griko is a minority language that unites all Greek-speaking villages, despite the minor differences to be found from one to the other. Until 1954 griko was being spoken by the inhabitants of the villages of Calimera, Castrignano dei Greci, Corigliano d’Otranto, Martano, Martignano, Sternatiaand Zollino. After WWII, due to socio-economic reasons (immigration, educational system, newspapers, radio, TV, etc) the number of native speakers diminished dramatically. The last few years there has been an increased interest of the region inhabitants regarding their roots, the history of the area, its traditions and, of course, its language. This interest is expressed mainly through the establishment of cultural associations promoting folklore and traditions, as well as the griko language that is being taught in schools.