Puglia at the heel of Italy, is one of Italy’s hidden gems. The sunnily ornate baroque buildings of Lecce have earned it the tag ‘Florence of the South’. Its northern counterpart might boast a more impressive list of native artists and sculptors – but Lecce scores on food. With its glorious Mediterranean climate, the Puglia region enjoys intensely flavoured fruit and veg, rich meats, and – with the dramatic Adriatic and Ionian coastlines never far away – fresh seafood. A visit to Lecce is a cookery course by itself.
Probably the best example of the Lecce Baroque style is the Basilica de Santa Croce, near the Piazza Sant’Orono. Food is never far away from the Pugliese mind: the Basilica’s facade has an array of intricately carved animals, vegetables and fruit, while the overall impression it gives to many is that of a giant wedding cake, complete with meringue and cream!