A day in Lecce, Italy

lecce

We seem to meet the best people on trains.  On our journey to Southern Italy, we met a young architecture student that recommended we make a trip to Lecce.  He told us Lecce was known for its Baroque architecture and is also known as The Florence of the South.  His recommendation was seconded by a friend, of a friend on Facebook, don’t you just love social media!

On Saturday we ventured south to Lecce, which is a beautiful train ride from Ostuni, along the Adriatic coast.  I forgot my notes at home, so once we arrived, we were mapless and guideless…opps!  So what do you do when you are lost in an Italian train station?  Ask the police where to go of course!  The response was logically in Italian.  I thanked the officer and we walked away.  To which Jon asked me if I understood what he said.  Well, what I got from it, was we can walk straight ahead to city center.  It is either going to take us eight minutes walking or eighteen.  All I got was an eight in there somewhere!

Luckily it was only an eight minute walk, although it might have taken longer, because every way I turned I wanted to take more pictures.  Every view, every angle was more beautiful than the last.  The light sand colored limestone adds a warm, welcoming glow to the entire city.

doors & balconies

In the city center, the Roman amphitheater was built on top of throughout the centuries and when discovered again in the early 1900s was left in the center of everything, so typically Italian.  This mindset can also be seen in Naples and Rome and throughout Italy.  When a relic of the past is discovered, it is kept in place and modern life simply moves around it…one of the many reasons I love this country.

ruins & new

Roman Amphitheatre

There are many beautiful churches throughout Lecce, all built with incredible detail.

Church of San Giovanni Battista

Church of San Giovanni Battista

Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce

Details of Basilica di Santa Croce

Details of Basilica di Santa Croce

In Piazza del Duomo

In Piazza del Duomo

 

The best part of being in Lecce, was the feeling of being Italian.  Everyone was out and walking the cobblestone streets, groups of teenagers, pairs of elderly men, groups of girlfriends, young families pushing their prams, couples out walking their dogs, elderly couples seemingly holding each other up as they walked, and the young couple sneaking off to more quiet areas to kiss without parents noticing.  Artists were playing music in the street, it was a perfect Italian Saturday.  Jon caught the essence in a video, so you can all go to Lecce too.

 

Eats

La Rusticana is a popular local spot near city center on Corso Vittorio Emanuele.  We opted for the local Lecce pizzo with tomato and lettuce.  It is a dense bread with tomatoes, carrots, onions, and olives.  And Jon seems to love to video me eating, so if you want an upclose view of pizzo watch the video.

 

 

 

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