From all the travelers I personally know there are hardly any who have visited Lecce, the capital of Salento. None the less those who did, all agree that it was a pleasant surprise and I cannot do anything else than join them in their astonishment.
Lecce, named the Baroque Florence, is a surprising city where the festoons and the solomonic columns of the buildings recently restored to be transformed into hotels or luxury B & B, coexist with the facades that illustrate the passage of time. Attached angels, escutcheons and volutes corroded by the time give a unique character to this “Florence of the South”. The historic center of Lecce is surrounded by its impressive walls and arched gates where me and just some few other tourists are walking aimlessly through the streets of the city of Salento enjoying their smells and sounds, and always with our eyes raised, being awed by the impressive Baroque façades. Just as in Rome and other Italian cities, is strolling through the streets of Lecce a delight, where I discover cul-de-sacs that house traditional workshops, or perhaps the study of a painter or a bakery with the typical sweets of the region. My visit to Lecce surprised me as few cities can do at this point.
Not as well-known as other Italian cities, this minor city bursts with a multitude of palaces (over 30), a duomo, 3 basilica, more than 30 churches and countless exquisite facades that beautifully decorate its neat streets. I`m lucky to have Giorgia as my local guide. So I got stuffed with a bit of everything: history on the most ancient features such as the Roman amphitheater, Porta Napoli, Porta Rudiae, Porta San Biagio, Duomo di Maria Santissima Assunta, Piazza Sant’Oronzo,…, as well with art expositions, local customs and traditions, folktales, culinary highlights of the student nightlife, …
Giorgia took the time to show me her beloved city with such enthusiasm that I secretly fell in love with those cobblestones, those cast iron street lights, those stairs full of people having fun, those statues of saints looking down on us, watching us and blessing us. Both, Giorgia and Lecce at daytime they’re magic but at night they bedazzle!