ROBIN Gauldie spends the weekend in Lecce, Italy
Check in at Lecce’s poshest hotel, the Patria Palace, with its stunning view of the Basilica di Santa Croce (Piazzetta Riccardi 13, 73100 Lecce tel: 0832 245 111, www.patriapalacelecce.com); two nights from €170 per person.
Head for Blu Notte, (Via Marino Brancaccio 2; tel: 0832 304 286, www.ristoranteblunottelecce.com) for a seafood dinner. Pay as little as €30 a head for two courses, or more than €100 if you go for the lobster.
Walk across Piazzetta Riccardi to Lecce’s Baroque gem, the Basilica di Santa Croce. Its façade is a riot of stone figures; the interior is crammed with elaborately carved marble.
Take a look at the 20,000 seater 2nd century AD Roman amphitheatre on Piazza Sant’Oronzo.
Have an al fresco lunch at La Torre di Merlino (Vico Giambattista del Tufo 10; tel: 0832 242 091). Local meat and seafood pasta dishes dominate; the tab will be around €50 per head.
While Lecce siestas (most shops close until 5pm), hop on a bus (No 32, from outside the Castello di Carlo V) for a 15-minute ride to San Cataldo and an afternoon at the beach.
For a Saturday night out Lecce-style, barhop around the historic centre. On streets like Via Guglielmo Paladini and Via Umberto you’ll find spots serving everything from local wines to craft beers and classic cocktails.
Discover Greek and Roman treasures at the Museo Provinciale Sigismondo Castromediano (Viale Gallipoli 28; www.provincia.le.it/web/provincialecce).
Sample typical dishes from Puglia at Alle Due Corti (Corte dei Giugni 1; tel: 0832 242 223, www.alleduecorti.com), cooked by celebrity chef Rosalba De Carlo.
Discover Lecce’s underground secrets at Museo Faggiano (Via Asanio Grandi 56; tel: 0832 300 528, www.museofaggiano.it).
Leave Lecce for Naples.