Lecce is often called the “Florence of the South” but it is so much more!
It’s sophisticated, it’s cosmopolitan, it’s stylish, it’s cultured, it’s elegant, it’s welcoming, it’s gracious, it’s friendly, it’s captivating, it’s ageless and it is positively bursting with Baroque!
In a nutshell, Lecce requires no comparison to warrant our attention, it is absolutely splendid on its own…
Baroque blossomed in the arts – music, art, and architecture – in 17th century Italy. In Lecce and many nearby cities of the Salento region, the characteristically soft local limestone known as pietra leccese was a natural and perfect choice for creating and embellishing in the Baroque style.
By definition Baroque is over the top and makes no apologies for being ornate and extravagant. It is also exultant, joyful, and lighthearted… and it’s contagious.
Just try to frown or feel a moment of guilt or dark thoughts – impossible. No gruesome gargoyles or angry demons and saints with threatening looks of disapproval or pointing their accusatory fingers here…
Extravagant, effusive, lavish, opulent, eye-popping…turn a corner, look up, look around, slow down, you are surrounded by animated cherubs, buxom maidens, mythological creatures, and, of course, saintly saints.
Characteristically, there are symbols and stories. After all, this is how messages, history and myths were communicated to the illiterate masses. No lack of drama here!
Instead, it’s more like a delicious party – a celebration festooned with garlands of ripe fruits and blossoming flowers…swirling, twisting, billowing, undulating.
Rather than shrinking in guilt, your impulse will be closer to wanting to dance with joy!