Friday 18th May: A much earlier start today as we are driving all the way to Lecce so were on the road by 8am. The day is overcast and threatens to rain a little. We were delayed a bit by some roadworks and Angelo had to stop for tape to fix the side window where someone had tried to steal the van the night before.
We arrived in Lecce about 10.30am and began our guided walk of the city centre. At the entrance is the Piazza Sant’Oronzo, patron saint of Lecce, with a statue of him (undergoing restoration). Nearby was a well preserved Roman theatre with rows of seats and the orchestra floor still remarkably intact. It was only discovered last century when excavations for a new building commenced.
Lecce is the most famous baroque city in Italy with a style of architecture known as “Leccese Baroque”. it resulted when religious orders who came to the region at the end of the 16th century brought much wealth to pay for the opulent churches and palaces. The decorations on and inside the buildings are particularly flowery and ornate and cover almost every surface.Unfortunately, the finest church, the Basilica de Santa Croce, was still having its exterior restored but inside the main and side altars were magnificently decorated.
After a coffee in Lecce, we drove down to the Ionian coast for lunch at Gallipoli. Even on this overcast day, it was a lovely coastline and the restaurant looked out over the sea. We ate much beautiful seafood and a white wine from the region. For details of food you must consult Heather who is trying to keep a record of all the items. If I tried to include them here, I would never finish writing. Instead of dessert at the restaurant, we all opted for gelati so Angelo walked us around to his special place, insisted we have cream on the top and they were delicious.
Then began the drive back to Gioia del Colle and by 5pm we were back at B & B Cavour. We collected our laundry and from our bakery we obtained some spinach and ricotta pie and focaccia for dinner. As we seem to have had a lot of wine, we opted for a couple of beers instead.