The monastery

The monastery is located less than a kilometre from the centre of Martano.
Martano is part of the “Grecìa Salentina”, (an area in the peninsula of Salento in southern Italy, near the town of Lecce which is inhabited by the Griko people, an ethnic Greek minority living in southern Italy who traditionally spoke a Greek Language dialect also called Griko)
The Monastery is 20 km from Lecce
The name '"Antica Terra" refers to the historic center of Martano; characteristed by its  Byzantine origins, the center was protected by defensive towers and a castle encompassed by a moat.
During the centuries it was widely modified, so today it appear more like a marquis palace.
The Castle was built around the fifteenth century by Ferdinando and Alfonso of Aragon to protect the city from invasion by the Turks and today there are only two towers left, originally the castle included six watch towers and a moat, and they were also four gates to access the city.
The most important sacred buildings are:
The parish church dedicated to the Assumption (Patron saint, celebrated on August 15). The chapel of the Carmine (XVIII c.), The chapel of the Immacolata (XVII sec.). The Church of Madonnella and the Monastery of St. Maria della Consolazione (1685) of the Cistercian monks, renowned for its liqueurs and herbal infusions: including the well known Amaro of St. Bernardo (a tonic liquor) and the Gocce Imperiali still made using the original recipe from XVIII century.

How to reach us

By train: The closest station is Lecce.
By Air: The nearest airport is the 'Brindisi Airport BDS and is about 50 km from Lecce, there are bus services connecting the airport with Lecce.
By car: Once you get past Lecce via the Tangenziale Est, take the exit to Maglie onto SS16 Lecce –Maglie. After take the exit for Soleto - and continue to Martano. Once in the town heading towards the exit Borgagne just after the roundabout you will see the Monastery.
Famous places:
The closest beach is Sant’Andrea within 10 minutes drive.
Torre dell’Orso at 18km
Otranto at 15km
 Lecce at 20km
Gallipoli 47 km
Santa Maria di Leuca, 55 km
Santa Cesarea spa 33 km
Castro 32 km
Zinzulusa caves 30 km

DIRECTION: Cistercian Monastery of Martano
ACTIVITY ': Spiritual retreats - meetings of prayer and reflection - welcoming pilgrims – business and medical conferences.
OPEN: All year.
TYPE OF GUESTS: Individuals, families, groups and religious .
ACCOMODATION ': Guestrooms: 50 beds in 17 double or triple rooms with private facilities.
SERVICES: Church, chapel, conference room, meeting room, dining-room, room equipped for disabled guests, modern kitchen, garden, parking, space for outdoor activity.
HOLIDAYS ': Liturgical Celebrations S. Bernard of Clairvaux - August 20, S. Benedict - March 21, In the city: August 15: Patronal Festival "Maria Assunta in cielo"
TYPICAL PRODUCTS: Liquors produced according to ancient recipes of Casamari  pharmacy
-extra virgin olive oil from our olive groves
– oranges from our orange groves
- jams
- honey
- royal jelly
- herbal tea
- Artisanal chocolates and sweets
INFORMATION: Father P. Vicenzo Quadrini and / or Father Ilario 'Ancona. Tel 0836 575214 - Fax 0836 574642 Reservations guesthouse and library: Milena cell. 3393050435 Email:


The order of the Cistercians was founded in France March 21, 1098, the day of St. Benedict, when a group of 21 monks, led by Robert of Champagne, abbot of Molesme, left their monastery in order to go back to  the ideal of life proposed by St. Benedict.
Before the arrival of the Cistercian monks,  the Convent of Santa Maria della Consolazione had different religious orders, the Alcantarini and Francescani.
In 1926, the Cistercians of Casamari (who moved in 1922 to  S. Mary Cotrino at Latiano Br), accepted the convent’s donation from  two gentlemen the Baron Angelo Comi and Knight Cosimo Marcucci.
After the arrival of the Cistercian monks, the Monastery of S. Maria of Consolation transformed radically with works and interventions that have greatly  improved the size and the importance in the local community.
 They bought new rural properties as  agriculture was and still is a primary source of livelihood. They improved the Monastery providing it with large areas dedicated to services and study that are essential to improve community life and to ensure the fulfilment of regular life.
They introduced to the small monastery the great resources of their monastic tradition founded on the tonic liquors, elixirs, liqueurs, honey, fruit, olive oil, herbal infusions.
The monks have implanted a laboratory where it is distilled and bottled a special Amaro from natural essences, various herbal teas that serve to soothe the main ailments are also packaged locally.
They have improved the facilities of the monastery, which is always open to guests and observants, according to the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict i.e. to welcome and to be hospitable.
The Cistercians were active in the  restoration of the church, with the paintings and the statues of Saints Benedict of Norcia and Bernard of Clairvaux, embellished by the restored painting of the Immaculate painted in 1857 by Giuseppe Romano, they furnished the choir and the sacristy with wooden stalls and large fitted for the sacred vestments.

Considered as a monument of historic and artistic interest, the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione dates back to 1686, when it was entrusted to the Alcantarini order by the City of Martano.
For the construction of the new church, built on the site of the highly venerated chapel of "Madonna of Liori", they reused stones of two nearby churches hermit now in ruin, S. Biagio and S. George.
The architect who worked on the project Oronzo Trevisi from Campi Salentina, whose training took place at the school of Giuseppe Zimbalo, one of the great architects of the Baroque of Lecce. The facade of the church, in line with the prospectus of the Monastery, is divided vertically into three parts, of which the central and higher without gable.
  The exterior is very simple and austere. The only decorative element is composed of a design with scrolls and large glasses, overflowing with flowers and fruit, surmounted by a cross.
The interior of the church, a rectangular plan with cross vault, with a nave and two aisles.
In each of the aisles there are three altars: those of the left aisle, dates from the early '900, the altars of the right aisle, dating from the late '600 executed by the chisel of Oronzo Trevisi .
The portal of the church in its present appearance is the result of a remake of the mid-twentieth century, while the ceramic tiled flooring, formed by polychrome square panels of 20 cm manufactured in Naples, dates from the middle of the '800.
Because of the variety of colours, geometric designs and floral motifs, there are as many as 22 types of tiles arranged with taste and elegance.
Beneath the pavement, towards the center of the Church, there is a chamber used as a burial place from the Alcantarini religious.
Inside the Church is decorated in Baroque Leccese style which finds its highest expression in the sculptural decoration of the altar. At the center of the main altar there is the icon of “Madonna della Consolazione”, certainly the same image worshipped in the oldest church hermit. From the historical data derived from ancient documents, combined with the stylistic features of the painting, lead us to date it to the fifteenth century .

The initiative to found a coenoby on the ruins of Basilian "Liori" district in the outskirts of Martano,  was set off by the people and by the City of Martano, who decided to entrust to Alcantarini the church of “Santa Maria della Consolazione”, place of great popular devotion. After they started the paperworks with the competent authorities, on November 9, 1685, the Metropolitan of Otranto gave the approval for the construction of the monastery, which lasted seven years, and for which they were used the stones of the ruins of two nearby abandoned chapels of Byzantine origin San Biagio and San Giorgio. In addition to the contribution of the people from Martano, the works were also supported by : the Duke of Corigliano, Don Oronzo Trane and the duchess Antonia Protonobilissimo, from the family of the princeps of “Muro”.

 The cloister of the Monastery was built in different stages from 1950 to 1990 thanks to the intervention of the Cistercians. The present layout dates back to 1995, the year in which the pillars of the portico were tiled with the local stone and stone of Gallipoli, who made the cloister a sober and relaxing environment. The harmonic proportions, the lights effects combined with the tranquility of the places help to create an intense atmosphere that relaxes the mind and peace the spirit, an ideal place to find harmony and serenity away from all things.
The hornamental fountain has a rectangular shape, designed and built by Father Girolamo Carrano, a Cistercian monk.
The colonnade encloses within a garden with magnolia trees, cycads, orchids and many other varieties of plants and flowers. The bell tower of the monastery, rebuilt in 1915 by the Franciscan Friars Minor, is a square section and replaces the old bell tower. The end part is octagonal and is complemented by a small dome surmounted by a cross.


The origins of the library of the Monastery date back to the first settlement of the Alcantarini monks in the hermitage of Liori, even if the initial library was lost.
After the arrival of the Cistercian monks of Casamari in 1926 the library was reconstituted, thanks to the interest of the erudite Father Mauro Cassoni who worked to endow the library with rare and valuable works. The first part of the collection formed by the donation of Baron Comi, was later enriched by bequests from benefactors and donations by some scholars.
The works are divided in themes: biblical, theological, philosophical, legal, historical and literature. The section on research on the Salento and its languages is particularly important.
In 1979 they started the restoration of the sixteenth century books and the disinfestation of several other volumes. The restoration took place in the laboratory  of Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Our Lady of La Scala in Noci in the province of Bari.
In 1990, the Cistercian monks dedicated the library to the memory of the Father Placido Caputo. Father Placido was a distinguished historian and pioneer of the library, who loved and put a lot of efforts for the monastery of Martano, in order to be able to live in Martano, he gave up the important position of convent prior of the Abbey of Casamari .
The current size of the library is around 40,000 volumes including books of the monastery, the corpus of the gift of Dr. Michael Paone and the large number of volumes of Italian literature from '200 to the present day and of international literature due to the generosity of Professor Mario Marti, former Rector of the University of Lecce.


The dissolution of religious order and also of the Convent of Martano  due to Joachim Murat in 1810 and the Government of Savoia in 1866 have brought confusion and dispersion in the Archive. Therefore it was no longer possible to follow the various events.
In 1798, Father Gaetano di Santa Maria drew up an inventory that shows the full documentation of the Monastery.
 The collections were placed, according to their content in five installments:
Issue 1 Scriptures belonging to the Convent
Issue 2 Papal bulls and decrees
Issue 3 Royal dispatches
Issue 4 of the Provincial Ordinances and Circular Letters
Issue 5 Authentic of relics.
These collections of documents are currently stored in the archive of the Convent of the Franciscan Friars of St. Anthony of Lecce.
Primaldo Coco  was the first historian who pointed out the existence of a fund of documents, belonging to the ancient archives of Liori, in the list of archives and manuscripts which he consulted, also cites several cases concerning the foundation of the convent of Martano , preserved in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Galatone.
Thanks to his work it was possible to recover almost all of the documentation that, before 1866, was part of the convent of Santa Maria of Consolation.
These are mainly public and private documents, on the basis of which it was possible to trace the arc of history of the monastery. In addition to the documents of unquestionable value at the time of the foundation and closely linked to the events of the convent, in Galatone it was found the entire correspondence between the Alcantarini and the Marquis of Gadaleta. The Archives are the manuscripts and works, published and unpublished, Don Mauro Cassoni related to studies of history and language of Greek Salento.
Recently in the archive of the Monastery has been added a collection of documents, manuscripts, letters exchanged by the eminent scholar Doctor Michele Paone.

The gallery and the adjacent museum are entitled to the illustrious painter Giulio Pagliano because of the presence of a large number of works by the artist from  Gallipoli, donated by the artist's widow Donna Maria Consiglio to Dr. Michele Paone.
The gallery of the Monastery is the only nourished overview of the main works of the illustrious painter of Gallipoli.
Alongside the works of Pagliano, the gallery aligns interesting works by masters of painting from Salento, Puglia and Naples during the last two centuries:
Gioacchino Toma, Vincent Irolli, Jerome Lorenzini, Piccinni, Filippo Palizzi, Vincenzo Ciardo, Giorgino, Stano, Serio, Palumbo Michele and Mario, Lionello Mandorino, Spada, Buscicchio (Amerigo, Emanuele, Martino and Vincenzo), Scupola, Geremia Re, Chetry, Pino Donno, Ammassari Luigi, Antonio Capece, Sansò.

 The hall of the museum also house in addition to 14 display cases, the collections of Michael Paone: a remarkable collection of coins of the realm of Naples (1734-1860), a collection of medals with religious images related to devotions and regional events.
The museum displays paintings of old maps of the region and the province, views of the town of Salento and pictures costumes. Has numerous objects of daily use and valuable artifacts including bronze, papier-mâché statues, fans, Neapolitan ceramics, Abruzzo and Puglia, Austrian and German porcelain and a superb collection of Bohemian crystal cut and highlighted in gold.

Fra Giuseppe Ghezzi

Fra Giuseppe Ghezzi, professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor, was born in Lecce August 19, 1872, the fourth of seven children, from Pasquale, Duke of Carpignano and lady Carmela of the Carrozzini Barons of Soleto, receiving the baptismal font and inheriting the name of Michele, as the younger son, the title of Count of Poggio Aquilone (Tr). Under the guidance of their parents, he learnt to know and to love God and to control his fiery temper and his irascibility. After his mother's death came in July of 1905, in the Convent of S. Antonio di Lecce of the Franciscan Friars in 1906 and began his novitiate in the convent of S. Maria delle Grazie in Galatone. Because of his poor health he let out as a lay brother on September 8, 1909.
The December 8, 1915 he made his solemn profession, having relinquished the title of count in favor of his brother.
In the fifty years of Franciscan life he lived, always humble offices in several convents including that of Lecce Squinzano, Manduria, Soleto and Francavilla Fontana. In December of 1918 he arrived in Martano, having been re-opened after various vicissitudes, the Convento Santa Maria della Consolazione and remained there until 1922.
The most important work accomplished by Fra Giuseppe Ghezzi was the daily exercise of Christian virtues and the testimony of faithful witnesses to the Gospel and to his consecration.
He took as a program of life the heraldic motto of his family: "Do not sibi, sed aliis", finding it conforms to the teaching of Christ. He helped the poor, comfort the afflicted, advised the doubters, brought peace in families, treated with love and encouraged all to the good, revealing enlightened adviser and wise teacher of the spiritual life.
Among the people and his brethren was a messenger of brotherhood, joy and hope in God on 9 February 1955 at 23.30 in the Convent of Lecce died and was buried in the town cemetery. The body, with great participation of the faithful and religious, was moved in the church of Sant 'Antonio' ​​s February 11, 1979. The fame of sanctity that surrounded him in life, he went on more and more after his death, so that, the Archbishop of Lecce, obtained the permission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, introduced the cause of beatification and canonization, and proceeded to the celebration of informative process, whose legal validity was recognised by the Congregation January 24, 1994.

Mauro Cassoni

Don Mauro Cassoni was born in Norma, a village in the province of Latina, in January 22, 1877.
Cassoni graduated from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Rome. Cassoni took the merit of bringing to an end the practices of the Foundation of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Martano, where the Cistercian Monks took possession on March 21, 1926.
From a young age he began the publication of various works, but the activity of the more prominent place during the period in which he lived in Martano.
He adapted perfectly into the environment and the life of Salento.
Don Mauro quickly realized the irreversible decline of the greek culture in Salento, and he felt the progressive abandonment of the "griko" on the part of the younger generation.
He worked to save part of that culture, in order to preserve and enhance the historic and cultural heritage of Salento, in particular the Greek Salento.
He was also a poet and his poetry was almost always inspired by a glorious past, of heroes, of ruins, regrets. Published at his own expense a book of prayers, in griko and distributed it to those who could read, entitled "Pracàliso m'in glossa su" (pray in your own language). As he continued with his studies, the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele III, on the proposal of the Head of Government, Benito Mussolini, appointed by decree of 27 October 1937, the priest Don Mauro Cassoni Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy . His commitment to culture continued until 1951, when he died in Lecce. Don Mauro Cassoni is buried in the cemetery of Martano in the tomb of Father Cistercians.

Michele Paone

Born in San Vitaliano of Naples November 3, 1938 and died January 5, 2001 in Lecce.
He studied at the Liceo "G. Palmieri "and examinations for the high school diploma, in 1956, had the highest score in history, never before seen by any other student.
Later he enrolled at the University of Bari and at the age of 21 he graduated Law with honors and laude.
The thesis in the history of Italian law had as its topic the legal status of the Principality of Taranto, from the Normans to the Angevins, earned him the award of a scholarship conferred upon him by the Province of Bari, and the call as a student at the Institute's internal History of Italian law. In 1964 he won the competition to entered the Judiciary, serving in Bolzano, Lecce and Gallipoli positions of Deputy Prosecutor of the Republic, and Magistrate Judge Instructor, Civil, Criminal and Court of Assizes. Son of Maria De Stefano and Antonio Paone, a descendant of one of the many Neapolitan families who settled in Lecce to carry on trade and craft activities between the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the next century.
Michele, loved his adopted city and he dedicated some of the most beautiful pages of its wide historiographical production, thus restoring memory and identity. It 'was one of the founders of the "Law Journal of South Tyrol".
Back in Puglia, has devoted himself to the study of regional history and southern Italy. And also working closely with all the journals of regional historical culture, from 'Archivio Storico Pugliese "to" La Zagaglia "from" Studi  Salentini "to" La Rassegna Pugliese" from the "Rivista storica del Mezzogiorno" to "Quaderni Meridionali" from "Nuovi Orientamenti Oggi" to "Cenacolo", from "Brundisii res" to "L’uomo e il mare" of Gallipoli.


The  monastery of Our Lady of Consolation has a guesthouse with 17 rooms all equipped with private bathrooms. Each room is equipped with  a fridge and a TV. There are no time limits, and you have the possibility to park the car in a closed internal space.
We have single, double, triple and quadruple rooms. The rooms are located on the top floor that  you can access by stairs or lift. Also  available to our guests, as well as the church, the cloister and vast open spaces. The monastery is the ideal place for those who want to spend an holiday of peace and serenity.



  • TVs
  • Bathrooms
  • Car parking
  • Recreational spaces
  • Fridge
  • Clothes
  • Ceiling fans


In the monastery you can make reservations for guided tours, for celebrations of marriages within the church, study conferences and for meetings as rooms are equipped  with giant projection screens.

The activities of the Cistercian monks

The monastic community of Santa Maria della Consolazione has remained true to the life plan outlined by St. Benedict in his Rule: ora et labora.
A prominent place is reserved for the performance of the liturgy, but a large part of the day is occupied in productive activities. From the foundation until today, the community of the monastery of Martano has tapped the economic resources almost exclusively from farming. Only in recent years have attempted other forms best suited to the economic reality of the modern world: hospitality for retreats, conferences studies, trade in products of the monastic tradition and from the work of the land (organic olive oil, fruit, jam, etc..). Among the various trees who dominate the landscape you can find the olive groves and orange orchards.
The Cistercian community current endeavors in the cultivation of olive trees, in the production of fruits focusing on the quality and authenticity. The Cistercians, as well as improvers of marshes and cultivators, they also organized the natural science according to the Aristotelian categories, with the intent to distinguish those herbs that can be beneficial to health and wellness.
The portico of the Monastery of Santa Maria della Consolazione hosts a permanent exhibition of medicinal herbs collected from the local area and  edited by Brother Domenico Palombi. Brother Domenico, researcher and expert on medicinal herbs, collected, dried, catalogued and sorted by genus, species, family, noting common name, scientific name, and every single major therapeutic herb found in the local area.

The herbs, arranged in different panels and windows, are shown in the large cloister and can be viewed during a visit to the monastery.
Biglioteca Storica Monastero S. Maria della Consolazione

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Monastero S. Maria della Consolazione Via Borgagne - 73025 Martano (LE) Tel. 0836 575214 - Fax 0836 574642
Prenotazioni foresteria e biblioteca: Milena Cell. 3393050435 Email:
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