Everyone knows that Italy is rich in its antiquities but many assume that most of these are concentrated in locations such as Rome, Florence, Venice and so on — legacies of the vast wealth of these former city states. It may surprise you to know therefore that Southern Italy (and Puglia in particular) enjoys its own superabundance of exquisite buildings and sublime architecture and nowhere is that more apparent than in the gem that is Lecce — the so-called ‘Florence of the South’.
Much of today was spent exploring the streets and laneways of Lecce, a vibrant and modern city with a rich history to boast of. Although I have practically run out of superlatives to add at this stage, there was one more amazing building to feast my eyes on and that was the Basilica of St. Croce — a master class in Baroque excess and exuberance. The façade is simply unbelievable!
The afternoon was spent walking around the picturesque port town of Otranto which has also made its own mark on history and which is dominated by a fine castle and St. Peters’ basilica, the most important example of Byzantine art in Puglia.