Column: Taste of life in Lecce

Carol Forster
Carol Forster

Following on from last week’s column about my new book, ‘Eight Months in Lecce, I thought to share a small excerpt with you.

It is about arriving in the classy Baroque town of Lecce, in the Salento region of Puglia, for the very first time. Lecce is a fascinating place which sits bang in the middle of Italy’s heel.

October 2

Three exhausting flights are akin to giving birth, an ordeal but worthwhile in the end.

Arriving at Brindisi airport this afternoon was surprisingly relaxing: A small compact hub without any fuss or bother. Scooping up my ample cases and piling into a taxi, my driver alluded to the fact that town loyalties are strong. My inquisitive questions about Lecce, down in the heel of Italy’s Salento, were met with some reserve, but I could tell, reading between the lines, that it was a place of great beauty, and one to be absorbed at a leisurely pace, were it ever possible.

The car journey saw olive groves and small deserted palazzi; a palm tree here or there under still warm October skies. What struck me the most on this journey, was how the modern motorway with its racing cars contrasted with such quiet beauty on its flanks. Ancient and modern, hand in hand.

My first views of the city were confused yet optimistic. Some Roman remains here, a dirty billboard there, all in hues of pastel. The sun overhead, created the sense of entering a frame, perhaps a bit claustrophobic, but nonetheless positive.

The streets stretched on with elegant golden bathed palazzi swathed with their lush gardens and Baroque features. Baroque is the next big thing that affects. Baroque everywhere. Intricate, delicate Baroque ...

If you wish to read on, you will need to buy the book!

Lecce was interesting to write about because it is somewhat off the standard tourist trail as English travellers tend to head for the big cities or northern parts.

Being in the south of Italy, it has a certain flavour and mysterious quality that you only glimpse as a tourist. Thus spending time there was fascinating.

My book is available in the Amazon bookstore both as an E-book for Kindle and in paperback form. Free versions available too!