Salento is situated in the heel of Italy’s “boot. The penisula boasts gorgeous beaches, lush farmland, ornate churches, and ancient ruins. With the Adriatic on its east coast, and the Ionian on its western shores Salento enjoys over 250 km of coastline, for which it is famous.
The western coastline has some spectacular stretches of sweeping, golden sand beach. It is here that the city of Gallipoli, (whose name is taken from the Greek, meaning beautiful city). On the east coast, especially around the Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca areas, cliffs give way to tiny rocky coves and pretty little bays.
According to Lonely Planet if Puglia were a movie, Lecce would be cast in the starring role. Bequeathed with a generous stash of baroque buildings by its 17th-century architects, the city has a completeness and homogeneity that other southern Italian metropolises lack. Indeed, so distinctive is Lecce’s architecture that it has acquired its own moniker, barocco leccese (Lecce baroque), an expressive and hugely decorative incarnation of the genre replete with gargoyles, asparagus columns and cavorting gremlins. Swooning 18th-century traveller Thomas Ashe thought it 'the most beautiful city in Italy'. It's a lively, graceful but relaxed university town with some upmarket boutiques and good Puglian restaurants. Both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas are within easy access and it's a great base from which to explore the Salento.
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