Some 40km south from Brindisi, Baroque Lecce makes a good starting-point for excursions around Salento, the name given to the very tip of Italy’s heel extending from just south of Ostuni to Santa Maria di Leuca. Here the landscape begins to take on a distinctive Greek flavour, a mildly undulating region planted with carob, prickly pear and tobacco. The Adriatic coast is pitted with cliffs topped with ruined watchtowers, and rugged coves and caves trail right the way down to the southern cape. The hinterland, by comparison, is more barren, although again there’s a Greek feel to it, with tiny, sun-blasted villages growing out of the dry, stony, red earth and flat-roofed houses painted in bright pastel colours.

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