town and archiepiscopal see, Puglia (Apulia) region, southeastern Italy, on the east coast of the Salentine Peninsula (the "heel" of Italy), on the Strait of Otranto (40 miles [64 km] wide), opposite Albania. It is the easternmost town in Italy and is an old port of communication with Greece. Originally the ancient Greek settlement of Hydrus, it was known as Hydruntum by the Romans, under whom it was second in importance to Brundisium (now Brindisi) as a port of embarkation. Otranto retained its Greek language and culture until the 11th century. Taken by the Norman Robert Guiscard in 1068, it was destroyed by the Turkish fleet in 1480 and never recovered its previous importance. In the latter half of the 20th century, its sea communications with Greece have been revived with the opening of a hydrofoil ferry to Corfu during the summer. Pop. (2006 est.) mun., 5,492.
Learn more about Otranto with a free trial on Britannica.com.