Discovering Corte dei Francesi
La Corte dei Francesi in Maglie has been known by this name since 1832 when two brothers from France moved to the group of buildings to which it belongs. They were masters in the thriving craft of leather work. The group of buildings, which included an adjacent two-storey “inn”, belonged to Pierre Lamarque, the elder of the brothers, a wedding present from his father-in-law.
After the wedding, an underground area for leather working was created from the ground floor of the largest building, helped by the calcareous nature of the underlying stone: the old stables and the entrance lobby were converted into an efficient tannery which saw intense, laborious craftsmanship.
The functional arrangement of the spaces had been designed for the typical manufacturing steps of the traditional vegetable tanning process.
The long, straight courtyard skirting the tannery was ideal for the passage of raw materials and for carrying out some of the tanning operations.
In addition, the rooms were well suited for housing the craftsmen, and their families, who worked with the skins every day. The rooms were large and independent, with stone vaults and large fireplaces: they were basic living areas but in tune with the demands of social and working life at the time.
Today these spaces are open to make known and live a page of unknown history of Salento.