When Mr. P and I went to Italy for our honeymoon, I really did think it was a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. And while in many ways it was (duh, honeymoon), I was also delighted to have a chance to revisit some of it this summer – all thanks to a conference I wanted to attend. Bonus: the conference was in a place neither of us had ever heard of, in the very southeastern corner of the country. Presenting: Lecce, Italy!
The most charming Italian city you never see in the guidebooks!
To get to Lecce, we flew into the nearby (and tiny) Brindisi airport and took a shuttle to Lecce. Imagine riding in a shuttle van through these streets! Better yet, imagine ducking out of the way as scooters, cars, and delivery trucks drive down the same street you’re walking in. And this is one of the wider ones!
Many of the photos from Lecce come from Mr. P, as I was sitting in talks all day long. Not that I could complain... the talks were held in a castle, after all. So at the end of the day, he’d show me the photos he’d taken of one of the city gates...
Or the many churches...
Or the main town square...
Or the park, one of the only places in Lecce’s old town that isn’t totally paved (medieval city, after all).
I did have some opportunities to walk around, though, and see this beautiful city. I already told you about its amphitheatres, but I didn’t tell you about the rest of the ancient ruins. They’re hard to miss, right in the center of town!
The buildings that are still standing are pretty gorgeous, too. There’s practically a church on every corner, and every one of them is a sight to see (even covered in scaffolding).
That last one’s the Duomo of Lecce. We had to do our sightseeing inside quickly, as a bride was making her way in for her wedding!
Even the government buildings are pretty in Lecce. This is the police station!
But lest you think I was trapped indoors, secluded away from the beauty of the city... don’t worry, the conference took pretty good care of us. There was the constant delicious food, including wine starting at lunch and granita daily at 3pm.
One night, they bussed us to a beach (charter buses, not city buses! ) for a seafood banquet.
The food wasn’t quite Mr. P’s and my jam (fried whole baby octopi? No thanks. No, I don’t care if they taste like chicken nuggets) but it was pretty swank.
And the final gala! Oh my. It was held in a former convent outside the main city walls.
We had no idea what to expect, so the dinner basically knocked our socks off! The mosquitos made us pretty miserable until the sun went down, but that’s okay. We had a lot of courses to get through!
During and after dinner, a live band played traditional Italian folk songs. It was pretty amazing... yet another once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Once the conference was over, after a lovely morning in the park and a MASSIVE lunch (Lecce portions > American portions, if you can believe it)...
It was time to head to Napoli! Stick around and come with me!