“L” in #AtoZChallenge
Our next destination in this challenge is Lecce, the Land of Baroque masterpiece.
If I mention Italy, what are the locations that immediately come up to your mind?
Venice, Rome, Pisa, Florence and certainly Milan. Of course, these are nice places to visit. So why a post on Lecce then?
I am sure by the end of this post, you will not only know but also be looking to make a plan to visit Lecce !!!
Lecce is in the south of Italy in its heel of the boot. Puglia is the name of the region, and the nearest airport is Bari or Brindisi.
Lecce and its surroundings are called as the Salento, and to visit the nice places around Salento, you definitely need a car.
Alberobello, Ostuni & Leuca are some of the famous places around this region. We can actually stay in Lecce and make a visit to these places.
Once you are in Lecce town most of the attractions are reachable by foot.
Like we say, all roads lead to Rome, here all major roads lead to the Public garden called Villa Comunale G. Garibaldi near the center.
Lecce is very famous for its baroque style architecture.
Basilica of Santa Croce
From the park, reach the Via Umberlo through the Via Matteotti.
There in front of you, you will find a majestic architecture bit different from other Basilicas you have seen. Yes, this architecture is called the Baroque architecture of the Salento. Salento is the name given to this region of the Puglia.
The Baroque architecture started around the 16th century, is one which has everything gigantic, twisted pillars, a big central hall from where anyone can visualize the main altar. These are few characteristics of this architecture.
Even before you enter the Basilica, if you raise your head to see the front facade, you will appreciate the architecture. You will be welcomed with a gigantic Romanesque window in the center. Decorated with animals and pillars crafted with beautiful carvings.
Enter the basilica, and you will be amazed by the gigantic inside with no walls in middle.
As you walk through I am sure you will be appreciating the paintings and the artworks displayed between each of the pillars in there.
When coming out, do not miss the Administration office of the Lecce, which is just next to the Basilica.
If you walk a little bit inside the Via Umberlo, you will see the Church of Greece.
Piazza San Oronzo.
Walk back in Via Umberlo, and you will end up in the Piazza San Oronzo.
This is a large square in the center of the city where you will see the remains of the Roman amphitheater. Only a part of the structure is visible today and the other portions are underground.
This square is the largest square and will be crowded with street performers. When we were there, since it was Christmas time, there was a tall Christmas tree like architecture with full of colorful dancing lights. If you stay in Lecce, make a point to visit here in the night. You will love it.
Right beside the amphitheater, you will see a tall column with a bronze statue on the top. This is none other than the Saint Oronzo. The statue is one among the pair and the other one still stays in Brindisi.
Do not miss the clock on the corner of the Square.
If you are there around midday, you cannot miss the opera songs suddenly coming out of nowhere. Its actually coming from this clock.
From here, take the Vittorio Emanuele street. Shoppers will love this street, careful with your wallet. No, I did not mean pickpocketing, you cannot resist the urge to spend few euros to buy those beautiful artifacts sold in here.
Continue the street and you reach the Cathedral in Piazza Duomo, which was built around 12th century. This was also restored to the Baroque style in the 16th century by the Giuseppe Zimbalo, the same person who is also responsible for the Basilica architecture.
In this square, you will notice that the cathedral is along with the other buildings, including the bell tower, the bishop’s residence, and the seminary. This cathedral is of Our Lady of Assumption.
There is also a bell tower in this square adjacent to the Bishop Palace where the Archbishop of Lecce stays.
Now, its time to look around the old town of the Lecce.
Just opposite to the square, you will find a street name Via G.Palmieri.
Walk along this street and you will come across old buildings and reach the Porta Napoli. Historically, there were three major gates to enter the City of Lecce, and this is one among them.
You have a nice small park here, and also the Lecce university. If you cross the road, on the other side you can find the cemetery.
As I mentioned before, Lecce could be your center of stay and plan to visit the nearby towns like Alberobello, Ostuni, Leuca etc. I loved the Leuca for the reason that its the southernmost tip of Italy that meets the two sea – Ionic & Adriatic Sea.
La Due Sorelle
You can also keep traveling the same coastal road and reach Otranto to get back to Lecce. One of the pit stops on the way near Otranto, called La Due Sorelle just before the town Torre Del’Orso. La Due Sorelle actually mean “Two sisters” in Italian.
The fun here is to make a casual walk through the cliff and forest and reach this beautiful view.
As you can see, there are plenty of beautiful places all around Lecce. I will come back in another post to talk more about other places near here.
My theme for the April 2018 #AtoZChallenge is blogging about the places I have been to. Let me see if I can make it through all alphabets. You can find all my #AtoZChallenge posts here.
Interested to know my next destination starting with letter M? Try commenting your guess, let’s see.
Or wait, and I promise it would definitely be worth the wait!
Are you participating too? Comment your themes here. Good luck.