A Perfect Italian weekend - Lecce
A perfect weekend in Italy without the limitations of time, budget, or distance. Every week we ask interesting and inspirational Italians, and Italians at heart, to take us along for a the perfect, local weekend.
Raffaella Quaranta and Sebastian Spiegelhauer
Meet Raffa and Seba, a dynamic couple whose love story intertwines with their shared passion for photography and an undeniable zest for life. Their journey began amidst the artistic tapestry of Brussels, where they fell in love during photography studies. From there they embarked on an enchanting adventure that led them to Salento, a captivating region in Italy that they now call home.
Nestled in the heart of Lecce, a stone's throw away from Raffa's hometown of Castro on the Adriatic coast, Raffa and Seba seamlessly fuse their Italian and German roots, creating a harmonious blend of cultures that enriches both their personal and professional lives. As freelance photographers specializing in interiors and lifestyle, their weekends are a blend of creativity and exploration.
In a world where weekends are often synonymous with respite, Raffa and Seba defy conventions. For them, being freelance photographers means that weekends transcend traditional boundaries. While others might seek leisure, they embrace the opportunity to capture stunning imagery. Whether they're immersing themselves in the elegance of Italian palazzi or revealing the beauty of nature alongside their four-legged companions, Raffa and Seba's lens captures the essence of every moment.
Beyond their shared artistic endeavors, their interests lead them on diverse paths. Raffa's passion for contemporary art fuels her involvement with PIA, an art school association. Through PIA, she forges connections between aspiring artists, curators, and established art luminaries. The association's hallmark is the much-anticipated art week, an event that unlocks the city's hidden gems to the public, infusing Salento with a vibrant cultural spirit.
Meanwhile, Seba's love for climbing finds expression in Sud Est Climbing, a testament to his dedication to scaling new heights. As an instructor at the largest climbing gym in southern Italy, he introduces enthusiasts to the world of vertical exploration. Salento's rugged landscape becomes a playground for their adventurous spirits, with climbing spots that offer breathtaking vistas of the sea.
Amidst their captivating pursuits, Raffa and Seba have mastered the delicate art of balance. Their weekends reflect this equilibrium, a blend of the Italian desire for exploration and the German appreciation for the comforts of home. Their love story, built on shared dreams and complementary passions, is a testament to the magic that unfolds when two hearts converge under the Italian sun.
When we are free, our sat usually starts slowly, taking a walk in the city, and a little breakfast with coffee and *pasticciotto usually at Bar Rudiae which is just out of Porta Rudiae. We like to sit there and enjoy a caffè in ghiaccio and watch the city slowly wake up. After that we usually go around and explore new locations or relax in nature.
Salento is full of sandy and rocky beaches so we like to spend the day in nature, relaxing or taking pictures, going around to discover new locations for shootings; sat evening is usually dedicated to a nice drink at “quanto basta” or at “la sapore”, with friends, having a quick bite at “Fusci Moi” or picking up some street food like “rustico” or “calzone fritto”; a walk in the city when the sun goes down and the stones of the city turn pink, that is our favorite hour. a tour in Museo Castromediano, a beautiful archeological museum with an opening to contemporary art as well, always open and always free; or a nice dinner on our terrace overlooking Lecce Centro Storico.
Sundays are usually dedicated to nature, going climbing or swimming in summer (basically we swim from April till the end of October or even November).
Before leaving Lecce, we go to the Sunday farmers market, where we buy fresh vegetables, fruit, bread, and cheese for the week; The last Sunday of the month close to the farmers market you can find a vintage market, always looking for some nice furniture for our clients or for our home. After that usually, we have a nice lunch with the family, which basically is a MUST for Italian families on Sundays. We cannot really say no to a sea view lunch, usually followed by a little siesta and a coffee in the harbor of the village
Sundown is usually at “bar da carlo”, Porto Badisco, for a pastis and then off to discover some tasty dishes in one of the countless trattoria/ agriturismo in the countryside.
PIA is an independent and experimental, research and production school for artists and curators based in Lecce. Check out their courses and workshop and definitely visit the art week, next one is in September. They open public spaces of the city otherwise always closed to the public | Viale Gallipoli, 30, 73100 Lecce
Bar Rudiae: | Viale dell'Università 32 73100 Lecce
A local caffe for perfect Caffè in Ghiaccio and Pasticciotto: a delightful Italian pastry, traditionally filled with ricotta cheese.
* Caffè in Ghiaccio, Some call it caffè salentino, some caffè leccese, some simply say iced coffee. However, there is an exact science of making the perfect cup:
- The freshest espresso made from 90% arabica and 10% robusta
- The quality of the ice is also fundamental and should preferably made with bottled water
- Finally, the sweet note, which should be measured as carefully as you would a tailored suit: either a teaspoon of sugar or a drop of almond milk, straight into the still-hot coffee so it can dissolve properly.
Fusci Moi in Salento dialect "run now " was born from wanting to share the passion for a must of the Lecce tradition, "the Calzone Leccese" known in other areas such as Panzerotto in particular in Bari. It is a crescent of fried bread dough, stuffed with mozzarella, tomato, and oregano but there are also several variations. A street food with a capital C!
Rustico leccese: Another street food that can't be missed; The rustico leccese is a puff pastry that can be found in all bakeries/bars in Lecce and its surroundings. They eat it standing, on the go as soon as a little hunger is felt
Calzone Fritto: A local treat, these are basically small versions of calzoni, but are usually fried rather than oven-baked, which is why they are also known as calzoni fritti ("fried calzones") or pizze fritte ("fried pizzas")
Museo Castromediano: Fossils, crafts & artworks from across several millennia of Salento region history & culture | Via 31, 73100 Lecce
Bar da Carlo, Porto Badisco. A place where time seems to have stopped and continues to stop. You have to sit, calmly, and look around to appreciate the beauty and goodness of Salento.