La Bella Italia – Puglia Lecce

We are in Puglia Lecce! Have you ever heard of this city?

As you will discover through my posts, all of Puglia is beautiful: I might be slightly biased in my judgement, of course, but I do really believe Apulia (the original Latin name, as it is worldwide known) is a gem just waiting to be discovered. To be fair, more and more tourists every year are heading her and enjoying the beauty of my region!

One of the most beautiful cities of Puglia? Lecce! Every time I am in Puglia Lecce is a must visit for me: I love its international vibe, the gentle elegance of its baroque historical center, the strolls around its quietly crowded streets every evening.

As one of the 5 biggest cities of Puglia Lecce is full of charme: the historical centre of the city is not very big, easy to walk around. Forget your maps, you can discover beautiful hidden corners of the city just wandering around: the so called “Florence of the South” is rich of Baroque architectural buildings, with a proper style, so original and full of expression, that has acquired its own nickname, barocco leccese (Lecce baroque).

Dome of Lecce - Gios
Dome of Lecce – Gios

One sight not to miss is the beautiful Dome, or Lecce Cathedral. The beautiful main church of the city, seat of the Archbishop of Lecce, is majestic in his structure. Almost hidden in a corner of the main walking street of the historic center, once you find it you remain astonished by its gentle beauty. One suggestion: visit the Cathedral during the day, but be sure to come back at night! The lights of the square give the Dome a special, unforgettable view.

Walking through the main streets of the historic centre of the city, and maybe stopping to have a yummy gelato, you can’t miss to visit the main square of the city, Piazza Sant’ Oronzo, that comprises remains of the different stages of the glorious life Lecce. The square takes the name from the name of the Saint overlooking the city: look for the bronze depicting the Saint blessing the city! Your sinful souls can be granted a special blessing too 😉 The same square features the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre, usually not accessible to the public… but I was granted a special permit to visit it, and to take a shameless shirtless picture too, obviously 😉

Another sight not to be missed in the historic centre of Lecce is a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce, probably the most prominent example of Barocco Leccese: but don’t just stand out of it, admiring its beautiful façade! The beauty of its interior is well worthy a visit too!

After all of these walks along the city, you for sure will be hungry. Stop at Nonna Tetti, a traditional trattoria in the earth of the city! In this small restaurant, almost hidden in the tiny square Piazzetta Regina Maria, you can enjoy amazing traditional local recipes, great quality at affordable prices!

Nonna Tetti
Nonna Tetti

What to do after dinner? Lecce is a city full of life! As in the best Southern European traditions, the young crowds tend to go out pretty late, especially in summer. The historic centre is full of friendly (and gay friendly too) places where to hang out, that get busy at different times of the night! Just follow the crowd and you won’t get disappointed!

My favourite bar where to start the night, even for an aperitif, is Verso Sud, a lively bar with a small terrace right in the center of the night Movida, in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Just a few hundred meters away is another favorite spot of mines, Quanto Basta: try their cocktails! They are amazing! They have also been awarded as the best cocktail bar in Lecce in the past!

Drinks at Quanto Basta - Lecce
Drinks at Quanto Basta – Lecce

Probably the most gay friendly city of Puglia Lecce though still lacks of a 100% gay bar. However, fun gay nights are organized throughout the year. If you happen to visit on a Saturday night, you will likely be able to find one. I had a lot of fun with the drags of the Cafè dei Suoni, an entertaining and pictoresque bar not far from the historic centre of Lecce.

Thanks to its location right in the middle of the Southern part of Puglia Lecce is also the perfect start for many day and night trips around Salento. So, my suggestion is to find accomodation in Lecce.

If you fancy a bit of luxury, and like to be pampered, you should try the Hotel Risorgimento, literally a few steps from the Cathedral. Enjoy a drink or two at sunset on its amazing rooftop terrace: you know how much I love it!

If you are traveling on a budget, there is plenty of cheap bed and breakfasts to choose from, in and around the historical center of the city. One good gay friendly option is the Bed And Breakfast La Piazzetta, right in the center of the city!

So, what do you think about the gem of Puglia Lecce? Did I manage to get you intrigued? Fancy a visit? Drop me a line, get in touch and I will help you plan the holidays of your life in the heel of the boot.

Date of Last Visit: May 2016

Buongiorno :) What are you thinking?

IGLTA