We landed in Bari on a semi cloudy day but this was a good thing as our first stop was Polignano a Mare where you usually find a super packed beach. But let's start with the beginning
Landed....so jump in your rented FIAT :) and off we go to discover this lovely region of Italy: Puglia.
First stop on our list was the beautiful Polignano a Mare.
Polignano a Mare
It is said that it dates from the "4th century BC when Greek settlers founded the city of Neapolis. It flourished under the Romans and was important enough for Emperor Trajan to direct his Via Traiana, built between 108-110 AD, through the town. Remains of this road include a bridge at Lama Monachile, just north of the historic centre." (Source)
After you parked your car head to the beach to dip your feet in the sea or if you arrive like us on a bit story day, listen to the waves hitting the cliffs. It's something magical about that sound that takes you somewhere far far away.
Once you are back to reality and took your 1 million photo of the place, head back up to enter the historic center.
Get lost through the little streets
Check out the poems of the walls
Check out the view from the top
And get ready for lunch at Pizzeria Bella Mbriana. Now that we are at this topic, let me also highlight what are the local products that you can find in the region and you must try!
After lunch head to Lecce , drop your bags and go around the city. You will be impressed with the super Baroque architecture. Have a look to see what you can do & see around.
Church of Santa Chiara
That's where we first stopped in Lecce, not bad! :) but wait for it the city has loads of churches
The Cathedral of Lecce in Piazza Duomo
"The cathedral was first built in 1144, but underwent repairs in 1230. It was rebuilt in 1659 by the architect Giuseppe Zimbalo by order of bishop Luigi Pappacoda, whose remains are kept in the altar dedicated to Saint Orontius of Lecce, the patron saint of the city." (Source)
"The cathedral has a Latin cross plan with three naves divided by pilasters and columns, and the main altar is placed at the eastern end of the church. The central nave and the transepts are covered by a wooden ceiling with coffers created in 1685 along with paintings by Giuseppe da Brindisi which show: the Preaching of Saint Orontius, the Protection from the Plague, the Martyrdom of Saint Orontius, and the Last Supper." (Source)
Castle of Charles V
"It was first built in the Middle Ages, and was strengthened by Charles V in 1539, to a design by the architect Gian Giacomo dell'Acaya. To build this fortress two constructions were pulled down: the Chapel of the Trinity and the Monastery of the Benedictine Order of the Saint Cross. The castle did not have only defensive functions, in the 18th century one of its rooms was used as a theatre. From 1870 to 1979 it was used as military district. Nowadays it is the seat of the Cultural Affairs of the township of Lecce, a backdrop for many cultural initiatives" (Source)
The Roman Amphitheatre & St Oronzo square
"Below the ground level of the piazza is this restored 2nd-century-AD amphitheater, discovered in 1901 by construction workers. It was excavated in the 1930s to reveal a perfect horseshoe with seating for 15,000. A little colonised by weeds, it's nonetheless an impressive centerpiece to Lecce's main communal square" (Source)
Church of Santa Maria della Grazia
Gesuiti Chiesa Del Gesu'
I love this city, seriously, and if I am to choose one spot is the area around this church...looks mega cute.
San Matteo Church
"Known by the locals as Santa Maria della Luce, this graceful little church bears the fingerprints of Giuseppe Zimbalo, as much of baroque Lecce does. The famed architect completed the building, with its elaborate facade and more restrained interior, when the original architect died before completion." (Source)
Porta Rudiae: "Sometimes called Porta Sant'Oronzo for his statue that graces the top, Porta Rudiae is the oldest city gate, but was rebuilt in 1703. It features a single arch with Sant'Dominic and Sant'Irene on either side of Sant'Oronzo. Below the saints, near the top of the pillars, are the sculptures of Lecce's founders." (Source)
Porta San Biagio: "The southern gate, Porta San Biagio, was built in 1774 and is dedicated to St. Blaise, who lived in Lecce and was a 4th century bishop. A statue of St. Blaise tops the archway. Ferdinand IV of Bourbon's coat of arms is in the center with Lecce's crest displayed on both sides." (Source)
I won't add any picture here, but so that you know, if you fancy leather shoes, this is the place to buy. With loads of models and with what it seems to be good quality/price ration, everyone can find something nice. ;)
Food to try
Pasticciotto with your cappucino
Rustici leccesi as a snack
Ice Cream from Natale as dessert
I am sharing the place I stayed just for you to have at least a starting point. I have booked it via booking.com. Nice apartment but shower not suitable for tall people.