Dubbed the “Florence of the South”, Lecce is a place to linger, with a wealth of fine architecture scattered about an appealing old town, as well as a few diverting Roman remains. The exuberant building styles here are the legacy of religious orders (Jesuits, the Teatini and Franciscans) who came to the region at the end of the sixteenth century, bringing an influx of wealth which paid for the opulent churches and palazzi that still pervade today’s city. The flowery style of “Leccese Baroque” owed as much to the materials to hand as to the skills of the architects: the soft local sandstone could be intricately carved and then became hard with age.
Lecce is most definitely more of a place for divine pastry breakfasts and lazy lunches followed by a stroll through the cities charming streets, however, if you are looking for laid-back things to do you will most certainly find them. Things to see include the Roman Amphitheatre at Piazza Sant'Oronzo and the Leece Cathedral (which is especially beautiful when lit up at night time).
Lecce is a town with more Churches than you can imagine, hence why Church tours seemed to have become popular with tourists in recent years. A knowledgable guide will walk you through each Churches history and surprise you with facts. Cooking classes are also an option, where you can learn to make traditional Italian pasta.
For a swim and a cool-off in the clear blue waters, head to Castro Marine. This rocky beach is surrounded by cliffs but smart locals have built steps leading down into the water.
Featured Image, Lecce Town © Stefano Valeri / Shutterstock