Today is Friday and we are feeling sad about the terrible tragedy in Nice. Travel is wonderful but these days there is an element of danger. But we won’t let it stop us.
So today we met our guide for the day. Lovely Simona. I found her website and booked a three hour tour. It’s great going with a local and as it turned out she lives around the corner from our apartment.
We set off and she began to tell us about life in Lecce both now and in the past. She is a born and bred local, though her partner Tim, she described as more English than the Queen !
We walked and she pointed out the features on the buildings. This was a wealthy area in days gone by due to production of wine, olives and tobacco. There are a number of large Palazzo, now either privately owned or broken into apartments. In this way it’s like the very lovely areas of Rome.
We looked at the markings above the doors, the churches, Cathedral and Basillica. They all have a story.
The really interesting thing about Lecce is the use of Cartapesta or paper mâché as as an art form. Used to make statues, it is particular to this area. It’s used in Venice for making masks but here it’s in the churches. You can hardly tell the difference between the statues made from Paper mâché , wood and stone. Such craftsmen.
We visited one shop in a quiet area behind the Cathedral and had a nice talk with the owner. A lovely lady named Stefania. Ginetta – you and Em would love this work. Her more modern work is also amazing. She had made a bustier you would love and a dress. And a mermaid!
We looked at the altars of different style – Baroque and Renaissance.
Such beauty in one place.
We had to stop for a refreshment. A coffee over ice with a dash of almond milk to make it sweet. Delicious. It’s called ‘Cafe in Ghiaccio con latte Di Mandorle’.
More walking and talking and noticing things we would otherwise have missed – including the drain cover marked with the city symbol of the she-wolf and the oak tree; and the fascist symbol from the 1930’s.
Significant symbols everywhere.
We retreated to our apartment for a piccolo siesta and to catch up with the Tour de France
Then it was time for our passeggiata. We walked, we shopped, we had a glass of wine and we watched others doing the same.
Dinner was at Osteria 203 recommended by Simona. It was a beautiful meal with a gorgeous bottle of local red. To make it more special we watched a parade go past our restaurant. It was to take St Carmine back to her church. Accompanied by a band. Steve thought the band almost unique – not because of the typical Italian playing con gusto and slightly off key – but of the 40 or so members, no three of them were in step even with each other!
After dinner walked some more and visited another lovely shrine – the most popular Gelateria named Natale. What a place.
Buona notte my friends
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