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Mmm Dulce de Lecce. I couldn’t resist this pun. But Lecce really is the sweetest little city in Puglia. South from Bari, it’s not a coastal city but nevertheless is a delight to visit throughout the Summer or in quieter months. The perfect place to take in a hit of culture and then enjoy a long languid Italian lunch. Pair both with good company and even better wine. This is why you must visit Lecce!

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce

Why visit Lecce?

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce
Typical street in Lecce

There’s definitely enough sightseeing to fill a day trip or even a weekend. Its relatively small but dense with historical buildings. Lecce is the type of city that you can arrive in without a plan. In fact, I think it’s better to meander with the precise aim of getting lost.

There are two Roman amphitheatres in Lecce. One of which can be seen from Piaza San Oronzo. You can even sit in a cafe that overlooks it. The other, larger of the two, requires a ticket when you’re visiting Lecce.

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce Roman Amiptheatre
Roman Ampitheatre in Lecce

There are multiple Churches and Cathedrals in Lecce. All are different in look and built at different times throughout history. The most beautiful (in my humble opinion) is Basilica di Santa Croce, which is breathtakingly ornate. I was surprised to learn that most of the big churches and cathedrals in Lecce require tickets. You can also book a tour which includes access to all if you do want to see them in one day.

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce - church in Lecce
The stunning Basilica di Santa Croce

There are well over 10 Museums in Lecce, including The Jewish Museum of Lecce, a railway museum and a couple displaying art.

What to eat and drink in Lecce?

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce - museum
Food is identity in Lecce

The main event however, is definitely eating and drinking. For which, there are plenty of opportunities in Lecce.

Despite being a sister city of Bari, I’d say the cuisine in Lecce is fairly different. Rarely will you find Orichette pasta on menus in Lecce (the typical pasta shape that is to be found all around Bari Vecchia). This is because Lecce is in the Salento district, which has different food traditions and specialities.

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce - street scene

There are a number of restaurants around Lecce in which you can try the regional food and drink. Try the Pasta with Chickpeas (a Lecce speciality) at any of the local trattorias. It has an interesting texture as the pasta is partially fried.

I was a little baffled to see so much Horsemeat on menus throughout Lecce. Upon further research I’ve learnt that Italy has a long history with this meat, and consume the highest amount in all of Europe. If you want to try it, I’ve read good reviews about Osteria Da Angiulino which serves it as a speciality. This menu has reasonably priced wine and a cosy indoor dining room. There are other options on the menu too.

I opted for a delightful bistro called Moro. Set in a narrow cobbled street, the menu has seafood and meat options. I was pleased with my choice of the lasagne (another local speciality) as it was creamy and delicious! Lunch for two with a bottle of ice cold Chardonnay was 41 Euro.

Lecce’s most famous gastronomic indulgence is the Pastaciotto. These are sweet little pastries, thick crust, filled with a custard cream. They’re similar to a Pastel de Nata (which can be found around Lisbon), but with a less eggy flavour. The Pastaciotto are found at Patisseries around Lecce and in most coffee shops. Try one with an espresso or a cafe granita (iced coffee!) A must have when visiting Lecce.

Visiting Lecce in Puglia: Dulce de Lecce - coffee

How to travel to visit Lecce

Lecce is located towards the South East of Puglia. From Brindisi it is less than an hour on the train. From Bari, it will take you 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you stay in Lecce, it can make a good base from which to explore Puglia further. You can get to Otranto or San Cataldo fairly swiftly. Or try Poligano a Mare which is further up the coast towards Bari.

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Read more Italy

Is Taranto worth visiting?

Taranto, a city in Puglia in the South of Italy is not oft visited on the tourist trail. But, is it a hidden gem and a must-see destination in Puglia? Or is Taranto worth skipping…

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4 responses to “Is Lecce worth visiting?”

  1. […] a visit to Matera with other areas of Italy, why not try exploring Puglia, where you an visit Lecce, Bari and the coastal delights of Monopoli and Poligano a Mare. If you want to see another UNESCO […]

  2. […] Lecce: Lecce is in the Salento region to the South of Puglia. It’s smaller than Bari, but still packs a punch. Beautiful winding cobbled streets are laden with restaurants and bars, making it a fabulous small city to meander around. More information on visiting Lecce can be found here. […]

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