A short drive from Gallipoli marina is Nardo, a small town with baroque churches that is faithful to the siesta tradition. We arrived just after midday, and had the town to ourselves for a short walking tour.
Lecce is a mid-sized town, known for its baroque churches and roman ruins.
It is also a university town, so there is an energetic vibe, with lots of young people hanging out in the cafés at night and excellent choices of well-priced “street-food,” or that is the current marketing tool to sell good dishes with their famous burrata cheese, salads, frisella, cured meats and the like.
We ate well here and stayed over a night at a wonderful apartment just 5 minutes’ walk from the piazza del Duomo. Staying inside a walled city always offers an exciting drive through medieval streets, narrow and packed with people, a rosary clutching kind of drive. Photographing these streets empty only requires walking in the heat of the day while everyone in Europe is asleep.
Alberobello is the town known for the Trulli, these small dome shaped houses built from stone. The history is that houses built for the workers exacted a tax on the landowner, so these houses were built to be assembled and disassembled quickly from the rather flat rocks dug up to cultivate the land. This town was made a UNESCO site and these houses preserved, though only 4 families still live in them. The rest are now tourist holiday rentals or shops. We stayied in a hotel that was originally a Trullo but added to to make a nice hotel. Our room was a trullo with modern wifi, bathroom, and an interesting sleeping area. The bed was on a floor of plexiglass a few feet above a white rock bottom. I suspect moisture management was the reason for this, but with lights under the bed, it made a unique and pretty “bedroom.” The manager was a nice guy, and took us on a 1 hour walk around town to give us an overview, to explain why such a small town had such a huge church (because churches were often more about the person whose money built it that the Diety it honors), and to show us a shop where a man makes tiny handmade Trulli houses as souvenirs!! Surprise!! Perhaps it was his father or uncle’s shop, but it was very interesting.