The culture of Salento is based on the Mediterranean way of life, being defined by agriculture, the breeding of sheep and handicraft until the 50ies. The most important social institution was the church, the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox, which was present until the beginning of 18th century, until 1453 under the patriarch of Constantinople and then as a Byzantine Catholic church. The feudal system introduced by the Normans in the 12th century, cemented the social contrasts until today and made the economic development for the rural population impossible.
The cultural opening due to the world war and mass media had an important impact on people, and allowances by Rome and the EU brought prosperity. The people from Salento are an example of humility, however, they were able of great achievements, for example in architecture and in the building section, but also in the production and publication of liturgical writings. One must admire the churches and chapels in Otranto, Nardo or buildings in other villages, with their ornaments, inscriptions, the squares and yards and the rich offer on handicraft.