In Lecce I remember a magical evening spent with Lili and Robert of Espressino Travel– a boutique company that specializes in tours in the region of Puglia.
We started with a walk from Piazza Sant’ Oronzo where after greetings and mutual love for Italy, I was told about Saint Oronzo- the patron saint of Lecce.
We then went to one of the most acclaimed bars of the town – Bar Avio where I was privileged to try the famous “Caffe in Ghiaccio” -coffee with sweet almond iced milk. Absolutely delizio!
It seemed Lili and Robert knew everyone in town as I saw them exchange greetings with so many people around. Every time they would meet someone, they would also share a little anecdote about about how they had known them or who those people were. One such person was a local painter who invited us to visit his studio and see the beautiful maps of the Salento region that he had drawn. More can be seen on his website here. Walking around in the town we went to see Teatro Romano which I was familiar due to an episode of Italy Unpacked. Teatro Romano holds concerts in the summer and I could only imagine how fun that must be!
Lili and Robert later took me to one of the many bars in the town to try unique flavors of Puglia with its famous Pasticciotto-a crisp pastry filled with the goodness of custard..It was heavenly! There were a hundred other delicious treats and I was oggling like a little child.
We ate so much, actually I did most of it, but thankfully the walking sure made up for it. Robert and Lili showed me around Lecce from its famous piazzas to its hidden corners. We whizzed past quaint bookshops, pretty trattorias and baroque churches. One of my favorite stops was the Basilica di Santa Croce. It was an incredible sight and the detailing of each and every facade from the rose windows to strange figures to griffins and lions, was amazing. I think I was gaping. Lili told me how every time she comes and sees something new each time.
Towards the end of our 3 hour walk was a HUGE surprise. Food of course! A big slice of pizza from Pizza & Co– one of the highest rate places of Lecce. Owned by two brothers from Napoli, Pizza & Co is where their love for food is poured on the late. I have had a lot of pizzas in Italy and otherwise, but nothing beats this one. I am salivating just thinking about it!
I cannot thank my passionate and enthusiastic tour guides for this evening in Lecce. Those little tips and things to do helped me so much. If you are heading Puglia do book through Espressino and check out their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. I especially love this podcast by SavoringItaly.
How to Reach Lecce:
Lecce is very well connected by train from all parts of Italy. I took the direct Trenitalia from Rome and was there in exactly 5 hours. There are direct flights from many major cities of Italy and rest of Europe to Bari. From Bari, Lecce is only a train ride away.
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