Deep into the heel of the Italian boot lies a wonderful Apulian gem–Lecce, the heart of the Salento area famous for its pristine beaches and remarkable culture.

Church of Santa Croce

The land of olive groves and ancient “masserie” is especially popular for its very own interpretation of the Baroque architectural style of the late 16th-century, the “Barocco Leccese”. Sought after for its churches (there are more than forty!), piazzas, small courts and noble palaces, Lecce is also home to a Roman amphitheater dating back to the Augustan age.

Church of Santa Croce

Flowers, fruit trees, cherubs and animals co-exist jubilantly in the chiseled old town. The tender local stone (called “pietra gentile”) gives Lecce an astonishing white colour during the day and a rose gold tint at dusk. In addition to stone processing, the city also excels in the production of papier-mâché.

However, Lecce is not just this! The chalk-white old town blends in effortlessly with the vibrant colours of the city’s suburbs, which have held international graffiti festivals in recent years. These have transformed the outskirts into authentic open-air museums.

Piazza Sant’Oronzo – The Amphitheater

AVIO, a coffeeshop near the castle, offers the best “caffé Leccese” in town, served with ice and almond milk, as well as the traditional “pasticciotto Leccese”, a heavy pastiera cream-filled indulgence.

Caffe’ Leccese

Lunch at L’Arzilla Furcina, a typical Salentine trattoria, is something special like lunch at grandma’s place. But you can only go if you are a good fork… “una buona forchetta”. Here you will only find genuine products from the garden. It has a cosy atmosphere and beautiful tables with Salentine cementine tiles.

L’Arzilla Furcina

Salento is an area rich in colours and flavours, as can be seen in the dishes of DUO Ristorante. The perfect dinner spot after a long day of sightseeing. The exceptional cuisine of DUO is the result of great expertise and attention to detail. “A creative process oriented to offer an extra sensorial experience, which leads the client to live a world where taste is the main character” (cit. Chef Fabiano Viva, an amazing host in Lecce).

Duo Restaurant

Lecce—hospitable, orderly, with a great gastronomic tradition and an incredible sea just a few kilometres away—is an unavoidable destination to visit in Italy.

By Paola Carattoli di Clemente for Passepartout Homes

Where to stay: https://www.passepartout-homes.com/holidays/Puglia/all

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Founder and Director at Passepartout Homes, luxury holiday homes.

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