Lecce, in the heart of the heel of Italy’s “boot,” certainly has gorgeous and frothy constructions, but to assign it the nickname of the “Florence” of the South does not serve the 2.000 year-old city well. Lecce stands out on its own, with its sun-kissed, completely over-Baroqued limestone buildings and shouldn’t be made to feel like Florence’s little sister.
We noted early on in Puglia a high percentage of Brits, both ex-pats and visitors. Case in point, this palazzo courtyard was hosting a British classic car tour through the city on our visit. So much for speaking the few Italian phrases we had practiced! English was spoken everywhere in Puglia.
Adjacent to the palazzo sits the Basilica di Santa Croce. Because no visit anywhere in Europe is complete without a major site under restoration and scaffolding, we could check that requirement off the list rather early.

In Puglia Papa Francesco is known on a first name basis.

The smaller churches we toured were impressive, as well.  

Leece’s streets beg to be wandered, which we did in spite of 35ºC temperatures.

A family photo at a courtyard flea market.

These planters (?) were quite for sale at nearly every vendor. I can see why.

More of Lecce’s loveliness.