Where to stay in Lecce
For many years I used to book groups for a client in Lecce but never visited. Last summer well I could not avoid the trip, as we were very close by and very curious about why clients from as far as Australia were coming every year to Lecce. So I decided to take a look
It took some convincing for the husband to get out of the hammock, but I packed our bags and booked a couple of nights at the very central and very beautiful Patria Palace Hotel As this is where my clients were staying year after year, it was quite logical to start discovering Lecce from here.
The hotel is right in the middle of the historical centre, please make sure to use all your senses if you are driving. Your Sat Nav could land you right in the middle of the pedestrian zone and with an expensive fine, that’s what we did and we were lucky to encounter a couple of very friendly carabinieri!
‘Florence of the South’
First thing you notice is the most beautiful golden light of the city. Most building and monuments were constructed with Lecce Stone, a yellow limestone which is one of the main city exports, so when the sun is out everything seems to be glowing under a golden yellow light.
The city is known as the ‘Florence of the South’ but this really doesn’t do it any justice, this is a city with its own most enchanting baroque character and beauty. A good place to start your stroll is at the Basilica di Santa Croce. With this building you start appreciating the rich and amazing baroque style of the entire city, just looking at the elaborated façade will take plenty of time.
From there you can head towards Piazza Duomo were you will be right at the heart of the city. Here you will find plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes. A monument to visit nearby is the Teatro Romano, an open Roman theatre where many open air concerts take place during the summer months.
A must see museum is not far from there, the Museo Faggiano. This is a building that never intended to be a museum, it was just the family home of Mr Luciano Faggiano.
In 2000 he wanted to renovate the building to open a trattoria but he encountered some troubles with the toilet. As he was looking to fix the sewage pipe he started to uncover a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus. He is a very funny character and you can read more about his story at this link (Museo Faggiano, Via Ascanio Grandi, 56/58, tlf +39-0832-300528 )
A Very Fashionable City
Most surprisingly it was to discover an array of fashionable clothes and jewellery designers. A couple of shops worth visiting are Sartoria Artigianale Atika where it’s quite common to find the designer Mr Antonio Franco at his desk (Via Francesco Rubichi, 13) If jewels are your thing then make sure to visit Maria Paola Barrotta at her studio in Via Arcivescovo Petronelli, 12
Where to Eat
Puglia is food heaven. Orecchiete pasta, Burrata Pugliese (a very soft cheese similar to mozzarella) fish and Primitivo wine are a must when you are here. A couple of restaurants we visited are Corte dei Pandolfi situated in a lovely little square near the Duomo and Pescheria con cottura near Piazza San Oronso. Here you choose your fish and they will cook it for you
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