Heading to Lecce? Here Are The Best Places According to The Locals

Piazza del Duomo - Lecce, Italy - Travel photography

Lecce is a great city in Apulia that you can visit or stay at during your holidays. The city has a lot to offer in the way of historical and artistic attractions, such as churches, Roman ruins, the Castle of Charles V and museums to discover the past and present of this beautiful destination. It also has many other little gems for you to unveil, and you can live a truly immersive experience in Apulia through the local, traditional food and activities that you can engage in while you’re here.
Staying in Lecce means you’ll have the chance to visit this incredible city while also being close by to many other wonderful sights of Salento. You’ll be able to reach beaches, hot springs, cathedrals and more, and the best way to tour Salento is through car rental. The various cities and towns scattered along the coast are not always connected through a reliable and intuitive public transport system and the experience could get complicated and unnecessarily uncomfortable, especially when the alternative of going by car is a much better choice. The lack of severe traffic (unlike that found in Northern Italian cities) will ensure you’ll make your way to your destination faster, and every attraction as sufficient parking space to accommodate tourists.
The best time of the year to visit Salento is the beginning or ending of the high season. Come to Salento in May/June, or during September/October to find a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere. Without hordes of other tourists swarming the beaches and sights, you’ll have more space and time to fully enjoy everything Salento has to offer, both in the way of nature (such as Otranto and Sana Cesarea), as well as what concerns the hinterland, further from the seaside, where you can find great spots (like the city of Lecce itself).

 

Must See in Salento

Salento has a lot to offer and the choice is wide, since every mile of beach hides treasures, and every corner of Apulia has the potential to be a vacation spot full of great things to see and do. Since you’re probably not going to be able to visit every little place on your way up and down Salento, here are some ideas on what to visit during your stay. Don’t forget that behind every little town or beach is hidden a great opportunity to find interesting and scenic locations, restaurants and places to relax – Use the internet freely on the go to look for the best rated eateries and spots for an extra little adventure as you visit the following main sights. Sometimes, getting lost is a blessing, when it enables you to find hidden gems!

Otranto

 

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In the city of Otranto you won’t just find the spectacular Aragonese Castle, but also the Cathedral, dating back to 1088. The altar is surrounded by the remains of the 800 Martyrs of Otranto, making for a truly impressive sight.

Lecce

We’ve already mentioned the many beautiful places that you can visit while in Lecce, but the most important and historically relevant feature of the city would have to be its churches. The Duomo, Lecce’s Cathedral is the most eye-catching feature of the city square, with a 70-metre high bell tower.

Galatina

In Galatina you will find many interesting buildings and tourist sites to visit, bot religious and of historical relevance, but the most beautiful is the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, build at the end of the 1300s. While you’re busy in the city touring the sights, stop by a bakery or ask for the local signature dessert at a restaurant: the pasticciotto, a baked pastry with custard filling you’re sure to love!

Santa Cesarea

Come to Santa Cesarea to enjoy the sea and to take part in something unique: the thermal baths, with various facilities. The city was built on hot springs and here you can enjoy different cosmetic and therapeutic services.

Porto Cesareo

Visit this town if you love nature, for you will find a natural reserve, a marine reserve and many wonderful beaches to enjoy. Clear waters, rocky and sandy shores and many picturesque spots await you in Porto Cesareo. Don’t forget to enjoy some incredible fish dishes and seafood while you’re here.

Castro

South of Lecce, you will find the town of Castro and its many natural sights. You can enjoy the beautiful sea nearby and the natural areas and rock formations. The Grotta Zinzulusa is the most relevant in the area among other minor cave complexes near Castro, and it consists of three rooms filled with stunning stalactites, stalagmites and rocky walls that for their shape will remind the visitor of laundry on a clothesline with the sun filtering from the nooks and spaces between them.

Vicino Poesia

Travelling To Salento? Here Are The Top 5 Things To Do In Brindisi

Visiting the Southern regions of Italy is a one-of-a-kind experience, with delicious foods, incredible sights and immersive activities. In the region of Apulia, specifically in the heel of Italy’s boot-shaped territory, lies a magical and interesting area: Salento.


Beautiful geographic features await you, but you’ll also find some of Apulia’s main cities by visiting the region of Salento. The best way to explore all Salento has to offer, is to choose a main city to use as a base for your travels, a starting point from where to visit other small towns and touristic sights.
While not being overly popular or a hugely renowned tourist destination, Brindisi stands as one of the most beautiful cities in lower Apulia, and its position will allow you to visit many neighboring locations with ease. Brindisi has lots of activities and sights to offer for anyone looking to visit the city as well as its surroundings, and staying here will mean you’ll have a lot of options to satisfy all of your needs.
There’s lots to do and see in Apulia, but we want to give you a few tips and suggest some things you might enjoy for a truly immersive journey in Salento, and for a great experience while exploring the city of Brindisi.

Take a stroll through marbled streets and enjoy the seafront
Brindisi itself has many beautiful locations that you can visit (between a meal and another!), as you stroll along the city’s streets all the way to the seafront. There are many incredible and impressive churches, dating from the 11th to the 14th century, such as the Duomo (the main cathedral of Brindisi), the Church of Santa Maria del Casale and that of San Benedetto as well as many others. But you can also visit other places that will amaze you, like the Aragonese Castle, also known as “Forte a Mare” (Sea Fort), and Castello Grande.
Within the territory of the city you can also find natural areas and Regional Natural Parks, if you want to enjoy the local flora and fauna. If you prefer to discover more of local history and culture, museums are in the city center.

Visit Torre Guaceto and go for a swim

 

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Of course visiting Apulia also means enjoying the sea, and to do just that you can rely on the marine reserve of Torre Guaceto. It’s a beautiful beach located in a protected area and you can go for a swim, go snorkeling, go on treks and hikes and take part in other activities that are being organized along the reserve. Remember to respect the environment, an you’ll have a wonderful time in one of the most beautiful beaches near Brindisi.

Eat local foods – like pizza fritta!

There are many traditional dishes and snacks that you can try while in Apulia and Brindisi, you just need to take a look around food stalls, bars and restaurants. Perhaps the best example of local cuisine is that of fried pizza (pizza fritta), which can be found around pizzerias in Brindisi.
One of the names that comes to mind when thinking about pizza fritta is the Pizzeria Romanelli, located in the city (Via Santa Lucia, 3 – Brindisi). With a long history in deep frying, this restaurant, established in 1949, also has a branched to the States, with a location in Houston, Texas. The pizzeria is also a good bet if you’re just looking to eat a great (regular) Italian pizza, but since you’re already here, you might as well go all out and sample your first (and perhaps best) pizza fritta ever!

Enjoy regional cuisine and explore new tastes

 

#braceria #puglia #brindisi #salento #bombette #bbq #meat #italy

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As already established, Apulia has great dishes and produce to offer. An excellent idea for a meal while in Brindisi would be to have a taste of great meat courses while enjoying Al Fresco seating.
The Braceria Semeraro offers a cozy and homely environment with a few tables inside the restaurant and a number of tables outside on the terrace. Book a table in advance if you’re able, because the place can get crowded. The Braceria is the lovechild of a butcher’s and a restaurant, where you choose the cuts you want to have, which will be cooked for you so that you’ll be able to enjoy them at your table. It accounts for a very unique experience, and there’s no menu, so be prepared to choose from the variety of different meats and cuts.

Visit nearby Ostuni by car rental

By renting a car, you’ll be able to visit many beautiful cities and locations not far from Brindisi, such as Ostuni. The city is full of tourists during summer, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the Old Town, Ostuni’s Cathedral and other landmarks.

Puglia’s Best Secrets

Puglia is Italy’s gem when it comes to history, archaeology and culture. The southeastern region has for many years thrived as a tourism hub with so much to offer vacationers interested in taking a step back in time and experiencing old Italy in its most authentic form. Despite its popularity among tourists, Puglia’s unmatched wealth in history and culture is not what makes it one of Italy’s best kept secrets. Below is what most people don’t realize that Puglia has up its sleeves.

1. Porto Selvaggio

The path to Porto Selvaggio

Porto Selvaggio is found in Puglia’s province of Lecce. The beach itself is found along the Salento Peninsula with breathtaking crystal clear waters. In addition to the geographical beauty, Porto Selvaggio has a lot to offer in terms of history. It is actually the only place on earth where an ancient Greek dialect known as Griko is still spoken.

What to see and do

· Sunbathing and swimming

It is nothing short of a crime to visit Porto Selvaggio and not pay the beach one or two hundred visits. It is the reason why it is on this list as one of Puglia’s best kept secrets. You could also decide to experience the water by taking a boat ride or going SCUBA diving.

 

· Sightseeing

Some points of interest in Porto include the walled seaport of Gallipoli, Villa Tafuro and Uluzzo Bay. If you have extra time and an untamed adventurous spirit, you should also plan a visit to the various archeological sites there including the cave of the horse and sierra Cicora.

· Watch the sunset at the beach

You will never find anything to match its breathtaking beauty.

2. Monopoli

monopoli

Monopoli is in the heart of Puglia given its location in the region’s capital province of Bari. The town is right next to the Adriatic Sea. Like all other Puglia gems on this list, Monopoli is a triple threat with the sandy beaches, archaeological and historical as sights as well as culture to enjoy. Below are a few things that you should not leave Monopoli without having seen.

· The beaches

The beautiful waters of the Adriatic Sea meet the mainland forming beaches that you simply must see to appreciate. The aquamarine blue waters will leave you refreshed and ready to explore more of this amazing town.

· The ancient castles

The Castle of Charles V in particular is a must visit for people with a soft spot for history and fine architecture. The building was used as a prison until the mid-sixties when it was converted into a museum and art gallery which is where you will get the best cultural experience of Monopoli. The castle of S. Stephen is also worth a visit.

· The Jerusalem Hospital

This is probably the oldest hospital not only in Italy but in the whole world dating back to 1350. The architectural marvel is full of history and is one of those places you simply can’t leave Puglia without visiting.

3. City of Ostuni

Ostuni

The city of Ostuni is pretty much a white fortress and one of the fewest old towns in the world that has managed to preserve its medieval layout. From a distance, all you can see is white buildings. This is not a coincidence but has a historical etiology where people lime-washed the walls of their houses in an attempt to deflect the heat from their homes. Below is more that this charming little town has to offer:

· The Archbishop’s palace is Ostuni’s highest points and is an architectural marvel.

· Beautiful beaches along the Adriatic sea

· The Saint Oronzo festival every August to celebrate the town’s patron saint.

4. Grotte di Castellana

Grotte di Castellana is a series of amazing cave formations in Itria Valley, Puglia. They date back more than ninety million years and are among the most important of all of Puglia and Italy’s natural attractions. Taking a guided tour though the cave gives visitors the opportunity to experience not only nature at its best but also history and archaeology through the fossils and cave art you will get to see.

5. Da Mimi Trabucco

The Da Mimi Trabucco is a must-see if you want to add an educational aspect to you Puglia trip. The Trabucco itself is actually a unique fishing contraption that is nothing short of genius. You will get to see how it works and as many questions as you would wish to. It is a dining experience that you will not get anywhere else. In addition to the fishing scene, Da Mimi Trabucco is full of history with the Ottaviano family name popping up more than once in the fishing, culinary and construction aspects.

5 Restaurants in Salento for Your Palates only

Written by Paola Fiocchi, Director, Passepartout Homes (www.passepartout-homes.com)

Having visited the region of Salento in Puglia for the past 8 years, I can pretty easily assure you, you won’t have a bad gastronomic experience in the heel of Italy.

Wherever you will end up eating, you will be greeted by welcoming hosts and mouth-watering dishes, made with simple ingredients. From starred restaurants to shacks on the beach, Salento knows a thing or two about good, honest food and wine.

crystal clear water of Salento
Salento in Puglia offers sun, crystal clears waters and excellent gastronomy.

Puglia provides most of what Italy consumes. Most of the grains for pasta, fish, olive oil and wine come from here. The region is covered by vast areas of ancient olive trees so it will come as no surprise that Puglia also produces over 70% of Italy’s olive oil (and 15 percent of the world’s olive oil). The region is also producer of 25 DOC wines most of which come from the Salento area.

Some of the region “signature” dishes include “orecchiette” (or “small ears”) because of their resemblance to small ears. Enjoy orecchiette with fresh tomato sauce, basil and strong ricotta cheese. Orecchiette with “cime di rapa” (sort of broccoli) are also a region’s favourite.

For breakfast head to the your local bar where locals enjoy a cup of freshly brewed espresso coffee and warm “pasticciotto” standing at the counter. The best pasticciotti can be eaten in Galatina where Pasticceria Abalone has been creating these pastries since 1745.

You will not get hungry during the day as there are plenty of snacks and appetisers available, including “frittini” , a mix of fried appetisers, “friselle”, a snack made of crunchy dry bread best served dipped in water and topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil and “pucce, a sandwich made of pizza dough and stuffed with cured meat, cheese or vegetables; not to mention the round shaped “tarallini” crackers available in different flavours, excellent with a glass of cold rosé wine on the beach.

Here are my top 5 recommended places to eat in Salento. Spoil alert, expect the lovely aroma of freshly prepared meals and the warm welcome of their owners.

L’Altro Baffo in Otranto, where Chef Cristina Conte will serve you traditional Apulia dishes interpreted in a contemporary key, where tradition meets innovation. Expect freshly made pasta, fresh fish and seasonal ingredients. Our favourite dish is “chitarrine ai “ricci di mare” “, fresh pasta with sea-urchins, for those of you with really fine palates! A family run business located in one of the most scenic spots of Otranto under the shadow of the Aragonese Castle. Reservation highly advisable.

Lo Scalo in Alessano, a historic seafront restaurant built along the rocky coastal route between Tricase and Leuca. Seafood dishes will be prepared according to the catch of the day and served in an enchanting setting by the water. As dessert, excellent is “pasticciotto” with lemon custard. Reservation highly advisable.

Agriturismo Le Site in Corigliano d’Otranto, where most of the ingredients used in the kitchen are cultivated in the Agriturismo’s own fields. Excellent meat and an abundance of vegetables are served by this family run enterprise. Le Site also produces its very own olive oil as well as home-made jam and liquors, available for purchase at the restaurant. Le Site also offers a number of guests rooms for those looking for a lodging.

Cantine Menhir Salento located outside Otranto is a producer of some of the best wines of Salento, including Negroamaro or Primitivo. Here you can also reserve a table at their “Osteria Origano” where excellent traditional Apulia dishes are served. In summer you can dine al-fresco in their Mediterranean garden and may be entertained by live music.

La Porta Antica in Sternatia is a traditional trattoria where excellent pizza, meat and fish dishes can be savoured. Their speciality are the “antipasti” which I highly recommend to try in abundance. Portions are very generous! It is very popular with locals and during the weekend and summer months it can be very crowded. reservations recommended.