Travel Lecce - recommendations?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Mark Temple, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. For a place to stay, places to eat, and beaches to visit on day trips.

    Ferragosto, so naturally most places fully booked :(
  2. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Only caveat is it's 7 years since I ate there, but it is still going and getting very good reviews from a quick google search:

    Lecce: Cucina Casareccia, 19 Via Colonnello Costadura. Tel:+39 083 224 5178
    Fabulous little restaurant with no menus: set in an old house in the town, with various inter-connecting little dining rooms. There’s a real sense of theatre when you need to knock the door to gain entry, and a real feeling that you are stepping into a most traditional family home, with the bustling open kitchen full of ladies busy kneading dough, stirring pots and filleting fish. This is a Slow Food sort of place where deeply traditional food is served, and house wine is drunk from chunky tumblers. A basket of terrific crusty sourdough bread was served, along with Pittule – little beignets filled with olives and a fava bean puree with chicory and croutons. There is no menu, and the dishes just keep coming: next, a stew of broad beans and artichokes, followed by a big plate of mussels served with beautifully waxy potato and courgette fried in oil with garlic, and piled into dishes to share. Though rustic and plentiful, somehow the appetite keeps up with the pace, and a dish of wholemeal pasta was a simple interlude, doused simply in olive oil with a few chick peas and little strips of deep fried pasta adding crunch. The main course was horse (common in Puglia’s more rustic places, and ‘Cavallo’ if you are looking to avoid it), slow braised in a tomato sauce with some bay leaves and spice. This is not much of a secret destination now, but it remains an exceptional one and has to be on any foodie’s ‘must do’ list. Booking is essential.
    Mark Temple likes this.
  3. Sounds great, Tom!
  4. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    If it is still as good as in 2010/11 it should be right up your street :) Some great ice cream shops in the town too. Yum.
    Mark Temple likes this.
  5. Hi Mark, Lecce is a lovely attractive city, small enough to explore on foot, not very touristy, with stunning baroque architecture. The sights are the obvious ones I'm sure you already know, the Piazza Duomo, the Roman Amphitheatre in the Piazza Sant'Oronzo, the three main Porte into the centro storico, the Basilica di Santa Croce....and as with all Italian cities, it's great to just wander and explore on foot and it really comes to life and looks most beautiful at night.
    As far as restaurants, the ones I really enjoyed were Arte dei Sapori, Nautilus Garden and Boccon Divino, all very good. Lots of pasta, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables, tomato based sauces, not much dairy, which was good for me.

    As far as a beach day trip, I would very much recommend Otranto- beautiful clear water, gorgeous views, clean beaches, lovely little town, very Mediterranean in look and feel.
    Ate in a really nice restaurant by the sea, I Villani d'Aragona, great spot with lovely views and good food.
  6. Thanks, Adam! Will check out those. Did you get to Gallipoli too?
  7. No I didn't Mark, but I'm told it's just as lovely there on the Ionian coast...the whole Salento definitely has a kind of island feel to it and a distinct identity from Puglia as a whole, I felt that right from landing in Brindisi, and you see it in Lecce and in souvenir shops etc. I guess that makes sense with the two coasts, and no regional border. There is some local dialect too, eg il sole = lu sule.

    Wine wise of course as I am sure you know, Negroamaro is king in the Salento, not just in the reds, the Negroamaro rosato is really good too, probably the best rosé wines I have tried, certainly one of very few times that it was my first choice of wine with dinner once or twice. It goes well with the local food and the sunshine. The Salice Salentino reds are great too of course, and there is also a good bit of Primitivo around, smaller amounts of Nero di Troia and Montepulciano, mostly from northern Puglia, and the most common white is probably Fiano. Apologies if you already know all that! ;)
    Mark Temple likes this.
  8. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator


    all of my reviews are a few years old now, but there are a dozen restaurant recommendations for other spots along the eastern coast at Restaurant guide: Italy
    Mark Temple likes this.
  9. Another vote for Arte dei Sapori, eating outside in the courtyard was really good fun and the cooking wasn't bad either.
    Adam Ventress likes this.
  10. I was in Salento last year but only spent a day in Lecce. I was recommended by a local famous guy to try either of Zio Pesce, Blu notte or il Bacaro (closed on sunday). I went to zio Pesce and we had a very good fish based meal. It was a sunday otherwise I would have wanted to try il Bacaro that was first on that guy list.

    The coast is fantastic with a mixture of sandy and rocky beaches (not good if you are with young kids).

    In terms of favourite beaches, Lido Teranga-Punta Prosciutto-Porto Cesareo, Lido Maldive del Salento- Pescoluse (great pasta straight on the beach Lido), Lido Oasi di Sant’Isidoro.

    Gallipoli is worth a visit. We had a great dinner at Trattoria La Puritate.

    Is getting busier and busier every year as Italians start appreciating that they can get fantastic clear water without going to exotic places.
    Mark Temple likes this.
  11. Blu Notte was on my list when I went but it was closed on the night I had intended to go, it's got very good reviews though...
  12. Think Gallipoli is probably the only feasible coastal option, as we will be using pu blic transport and while you can get to other places, you can't easily get to the best beaches (or so it seems).

    Thanks for the ideas, all!
    Adam Ventress likes this.
  13. Yes I think there is a direct train from Lecce to Gallipoli, whereas Otranto requires one or two changes.
  14. Found a nice-looking little hotel conveniently located, which doesn't have a pool but does have a jacuzzi and hammocks in the garden. Which is nice, as I wasn't really fancying the sweaty logistics of two day trips to the beach.

    Grazie, Pietro... no kids, young or otherwise :)
  15. The beaches there are worth every effort, trust me.

    Gallipoli is very nice. Extremely windy though. Do try the local “cozza pelosa” (hairy mussel). They serve it raw and it is extremely tasty.
  16. Thinking of getting a bus to the beach at Porto Selvaggio from Lecce (it goes to Porto Cesareo first), and then an onward one on to Gallipoli (and then back to Lecce from there). Do you know that beach, Pietro? Seems nicer than the big beach south of Gallipoli (and the one in town will be too crowded in August)?
  17. We did stop in the Porto selvaggio area, and it was beautiful but not good as we were travelling with kids (8,3 and 18 months). It was more like this (Google Image Result for but I can see some sandy pictures online. You can find platforms built on those rocks and dive straight into the beautiful and clear sea.

    The whole coast is fantastic, you cannot really get it wrong. South of Gallipoli it gets very busy, especially at weekend and middle of August.
  18. Thanks, Pietro! Yeah, I know it will be really busy - that's why I had the Porto Selvaggio idea! Can you get into the sea if you can't dive?
  19. Some platforms are only a couple of steps above sea level and are organised with sun beds and longe chairs, with shading umbrellas. So it is no high dive, just a little jump. Again I only encountered two of those places but there may be small beaches around there as I have found some pictures on the net.
    Mark Temple likes this.

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