Moving further south, we made our way to Lecce, located in the ‘heel’ of Italy in the region of Puglia. Lecce is known to most as the ‘Florence of the Baroque’ or the ‘Rome of the South’, due to its rich history dating back to the 17th century. Ancient ruins have quickly become a focal point, attracting tourists from all over the world. The town is known for their Baroque style with churches and buildings all taking on this architectural design, complete with cherubs and gargoyles.
Cobblestone streets, wrought iron Juliette balconies and sand colour limestone buildings fill the endless streets. As you wander through the town, you’ll come across a few unfinished churches, which add to the history of the town. At night, the town lights up, creating a romantic and welcoming vibe to be enjoyed by all ages.
We’ve put together a list of our top things to do with only a few days to spend in Lecce to ensure you get the most of your time there.
1. Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta
One of the main attractions in Lecce is the stunning Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta. The building takes over a large open square, staying true to the Baroque architecture found throughout the town. By day, you can see the true historic elements, by night, the building is illuminated to impress visitors. The 17th century church features a rose hue to the exterior with a stunning 236 foot-high bell tower.
2. Basilica di Santa Croce
Lecce is known for their over the top, stunning churches, and the Basilica di Santa Croce is no different. The exterior of the building keeps with the Baroque style, which is followed through to the interior of the church. Sculptures, angels, vines and columns fill the walls, create intricate detailing on each inch of the building, which set this church apart from the others in the town.
3. Piazza Sant’Oronzo
This is the main square of Lecce, where you will find both travelers and locals flock to daily, taking in the culture, food and lifestyle Lecce has to offer. There is no shortage of cafes and shops here, with every laneway offering something different. The Piazza also showcases some of the most stunning ancient ruins dating back to the 17th century. Housing the Anfiteatro Romano, the amphitheater definitely attracts large crowds.
It’s quite obvious we would talk about the food, as the food is pretty delicious anywhere you go in Italy. In the region of Puglia, it’s all about pasta, pasta and more pasta! I definitely stuck to the pasta dishes, where as hubby decided to stick with his pizza and caprese salads. The food is authentic, rich in flavours and large portion sizes. You really can’t go wrong with ordering something new off the menu!
- Best time to travel is during the spring and autumn. During the summer, it’s very hot and very busy with travelers.
- The further south you go, the less locals will speak English. Be prepared to receive menus only in Italian
- Make sure to venture out into the streets at dust, this is when you will get some of the best photos and views of the town lit up.