Putti wrapped around columns, garlands of putti, putti with pigeons on their heads, gilded putti holding up ceilings, putti coyly offering bunches of grapes, flying heads-with-no-bodies-putti, actual children that strongly resemble putti….
Arrive in Italy and keep going South, all the way down, right there to the tip of the boot. Did you find a pretty town bursting with putti? Congratulations: you’re in Lecce. Lecce is packed with Baroque churches, balconies dripping with hanging plants and–holy cow!– a Roman amphitheater right there in the middle of town.
Baroque is not generally my thing, but I found Lecce utterly pleasing. It’s not a town of spectacular sights–Lecce itself is the sight. I felt like I was walking though an Italian opera set. At dusk we joined the passeggiata, the after-work stroll that is one of my favorite aspects of Italian culture. Lecce’s passeggiata was particularly lively: full of young people who must have taken trains in from nearby towns. If you ever would like to relax and be in the moment in a romantic, non-touristy, putti-encrusted town, this is the place.
Oh you know, just hanging out on a garland of orifice-fruit.
Michelin man-leg putti.
You’d better not poop on my head, pigeon!
Middle-aged man putto.
Piazza del Duomo. The entrance to the piazza is narrow and almost hidden, making this suddenly open square a surprise.
Church of San Giovanni Battista.
Porta Napoli, 1548.
Basilica di Santa Croce, 1549 – 1695. The corbel is made of delightfully carved animal figures.
The Roman Amphitheatre, 2nd century AD.
Pizzo, the steet food of Lecce. The dough is full of tomatoey goodness.
How we got to Lecce: train from Matera.
Where we slept: B&B Le Comari Salentine. Price: €55 for a double. Recommended: yes.