16 Dec Lecce, amongst art, history and local rituals
Welcoming, elegant, sophisticated. There are not enough adjectives to describe Lecce. Known by all as the ‘Florence of the South’ for its Baroque style of churches and buildings, Lecce is the beating heart of Salento and represents Puglia and Italy not only as summer destination, but also as a city of art throughout the year.
Lecce is a town a few kilometres from the sea where the historic centre dominates. It has the beautiful Piazza Duomo, with its amazing bell tower that dominates the roofs of the ancient buildings, the Augustan age Roman amphitheatre in the central Piazza Sant’Oronzo and the Basilica di Santa Croce church, which together with the adjacent Palazzo dei Celestini, represent the best of Baroque in Lecce. These are just some of the wonders that the inhabitants of the city are proud of.
The best time to appreciate the beauty of Lecce is early in the morning, when the city has not yet woken up, or sunset, when the sky is painted red and the colour of the stone is warm and enchanting. The ductile stone, also known as the gentle stone, can be easily worked to create works of art, sculptures, ornaments for churches and buildings, furnishings and souvenirs.
The historic centre, once considered the least elegant and accessible part of the city, has become the city’s focal point over the last twenty years. Here is where most of the tourism-related activities unfold and where the city’s most beautiful and characteristic accommodation facilities are concentrated.
Historic buildings transformed into elegant apartments, equipped with all the comforts such as panoramic terraces, roof gardens with swimming pools and the best restaurants.
Its popularity has also spread overseas. Thanks to airport connections from Bari and Brindisi, Lecce has seen an increase in international tourists over the years, from America, Australia, Japan, Russia and Arab countries. Numerous foreign entrepreneurs, actors, directors and singers have invested in this magical city by purchasing historic buildings and farms that are only a few kilometres from the centre.
It’s a city that can be experienced by trying to understand the customs and habits of the locals. For most of Leccesi coffee is a daily ritual they wouldn’t go without. It’s a fleeting meeting moment between colleagues, relatives and friends, an intense experience to be part of. An unscheduled moment that they dedicate themselves to and that makes this mini ritual sacred and inviolable.
Whether it’s winter or summer, during the weekend or in the middle of the week, at sunset or at lunchtime, the aperitif is the other essential ritual. A moment in which they meet to talk about the day, to plan the evening, to socialise. Lounge Bar, club cocktails, wines, drinks of all kinds accompanied by snacks and small traditional local dishes. Sometimes the aperitif turns into a real dinner given the richness of the dishes.
A stone’s throw from the splendid Salento sea, Lecce offers its patrons art, culture, traditions, good food and drink as well as hospitality, professionalism and good living. We look forward to seeing you in this wonderful and amazing city!