Lecce

I planned Lecce as a stop where we'd have some time to just wander and hang out; slow the pace a bit. It worked nicely for that.

Day 1: Florence to Lecce

We had two train connections today and made them both; our second train was running late but our third was even later so we had no trouble making it. (We could have taken a direct train but it left at 8:30 and it was a hike to the train station.) Trenitalia makes it easy to track a train’s status. The route was scenic but not like the Dolomites. We watched the sunset through the train windows. 

sunset from train window

It was dark by the time we arrived. I was glad I noted the street address for our B&B because there was no sign other than on the bell at the gate. Our host was very welcoming. I felt bad because we were a late check in. I’d been sending updates from the road to let them know when we’d arrive. We had dinner reservations at Just Desi across the street for Indian food. The samosas were great and so were sauces. We tried fennel seeds and sugar which did clear the mouth well. A nice break from Italian food. He was clearly passionate about sharing his food.

Day 2: Lecce Churches

Breakfast here is delivered to your room daily in a pretty basket. Fresh baked goods included!

breakfast basket

We made the rounds of famous Lecce churches today and got to see a lot of the old town at the same time. Lots of light stone and cobblestones.

Santa Croce detail

We stopped into the Roman theater on the way by also. You can see the theater itself without the small (cash) entry fee but the exhibits inside were interesting. There were scale models of the city in different eras. 

We opted for a late lunch at L’Antiquario. Sauteed vegetables with nuts, orecchiette with broccoli raab, stewed octopus. And a local wine we let our host with the handlebar mustache choose. We bought salami picante, cheese, and bread for a snack for later, with more wine. We sat in the garden until it got dark, then went in and had our snack.

Day 3: Walk to a Sad Park

Our B&B comes with house cats that were fun to watch though a bit skittish. 

local cats

We wanted a walk today so we set our sights on Belloluogo Park, on the opposite side of the city. The walk through the old town was good. The new town was boring. The park was sad and creepy. Dirt and dead grass. Bloody napkins near benches. Good for walking dogs, not much else.

We found a larger supermarket for snacks and wine behind us in a new (and more upscale) part of town. 

car and modern fountain

And we had a seafood lunch at Blu Notte near the city wall.

Day 4: Gallipoli

Another day, another nice breakfast hanging on our doorknob. We took the train to Gallipoli today. The water was beautiful and the town was nice. We tried and failed to get gelato at the most complicated cafe I’ve ever seen. Way too much work to buy a snack. 

breakfast basket
beach with clear water

We had a nice dinner at La Cucina di Mamma Elvira, then took a walk to see the city at night. The cathedral was pretty lit. We got our missing gelato at Sensi. Best pistachio gelato to date, plus decadent dark chocolate.

Duomo at night

Here’s a last look at Lecce. Tomorrow it’s off to Matera.

Lecce street

Essentials​

Lodging

We were intrigued by the photos of the ceiling in our room at L’Orangerie D’epoque and it’s just as dramatic as it looks. The room was spacious too, with a dining table and seating area. Plus a lush courtyard garden to spread out in. The whole area is tucked behind giant unassuming doors onto a busy street. Make note of the street address so you can find the right doors. Good restaurants nearby. Amusing hosts with lots of tips. Delicious breakfast. The shower was tiny but it did the job.

Dining

We had Indian at Just Desi right across the street and dinner at La Cucina di Mamma Elvira. We made both those reservations before we arrived. Otherwise we ate at places recommended by our host: L’Antiquario for typical food (he also recommended Nonna Tetti) and Blu Notte for fish (he also recommended Alex).

Transportation

Lecce is joy to walk around. Beautiful and less crowded than other stops.