24 hours in Lecce
The Florence of the south, this Baroque jewel is the crown of sparkling Puglia, a model city that will catch you by surprise. It is a small city with only 96.000 inhabitants, so don't expect big museums or glitter or glamour. You come to Lecce, to wander around, pass narrow streets, find hidden piazzas, enjoy the magical light, and discover ‘La Cucina Povera’. Especially the food might be the main attraction.
“It’s no secret that the heel of Italy is home to one of the loveliest regions in the country.”
WHERE TO EAT
A perfect day should start at one of these two cafes: Caffe Alvino, where you will face the old Roman theater and where you can eat the best pasticciotto leccese in town (a traditional cake of Lecce filled with cream), or at Syrbar which is located at my favorite piazza in Lecce, Piazza del Duomo.
For lunch and Puglian classics head to Le Zie Trattoria: This Slow food restaurant is the perfect place to try authentic Puglian food.
Around Aperitivo time, we would recommend 00 Doppiozero - this place is nice from morning till night, but we especially liked the vibe around aperitivo time. They do a great amount of cocktails and have a wide selection of cheeses and other amazing snacks, like bread with butter and anchovies (my favorite)
Recommended to us by an amazing couple that lives in Lecce is La Cucina di Mamma Elvira, this was our favorite dinner in Puglia, with a great selection of wines and amazing dishes. Puglian classics with a modern twist. The staff was super friendly and the setting was very nice too, so I highly recommend it!
After dinner, you can head to Quanto Basta Lecce, for a good vibe and good cocktails.
WHAT TO SEE
A must-visit it the MUST, the historical museum of Lecce. Housed in what was originally an early-15th-century monastery. The ground floor is dedicated to modern and contemporary art.
The Roman Amphitheater at the Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Back in the day, This theater was used for animal fights during the 1st and 2nd centuries. Until 1901 no one knew about its existence until construction workers uncovered it while digging to build a bank. In summer a part of the theater is being used for music and theater events.
The Basilica di Santa Croce, it is beautiful!
In the heart of this Baroque city, you also find the Fondazione Biscozzi | Rimbaud which was established in 2018,
TRY THESE FOODS
Orecchiete con cime di rapa – Little pasta shells usually served with garlicky cime di rapa and anchovies
Fava beans with sautéed cicoria - A very good example of the ‘cucina povera” is basically a mash of cooked faca beans, which is served topped with sautéed cicoria. So simple but so good when cooked nicely
Caffè Leccese – A shot of espresso served over ice and sweetened with almond milk. Refreshing and a symbol of Lecce
Pasticciotto Leccese - a traditional cake of Lecce filled with cream (for the best go-to Alvino)
Burrata – The creamiest burrata cheese originates from Puglia and is renowned for its meltingly soft center.
Local wine – Typical grapjes from the region are: Negroamaro, Primitivo di Manduria and Salice Salentino.
Fish and seafood – Puglia’s coastline is renowned for its fresh fish. Sea bass, red mullet, and anchovies are all popular catches, while mussels, red prawns, octopus, and sea urchins are all local delicacies.