In Lecce - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

April 14, 2022

In Lecce

While touring in Europe I sometimes wonder if I am a cyclist or a tourist. Obviously I am both, but "tourist" seems like a shoe that doesn’t quite fit, a few sizes too big - although I’m sure the Europeans who live here would disagree with my self-assessment. Nonetheless, I view myself as a cyclist first and foremost, and tourist second. I love experiencing new places on both bike and foot, capturing their feel and beauty and a bit of their culture, but while touring I feel less inclined to give time and energy to the great cathedrals and historical monuments.

The conundrum is that I do enjoy learning about the origins and history of a place, of appreciating the finer details of great cathedrals, art and artifacts. So today, I took an organized walking tour through the streets of Lecce. It was a new experience. I learned much about the history of Lecce and the many cultures who once ruled here. I came to appreciate baroque architecture as more storytelling and theatre than religion, fascinated by the stories embedded in intricate façade of Basilica di Santa Croce. And I garnered numerous small bits of lore that I’ll probably remember far longer than the name of Basilica di Santa Croce – such that railings on Italian balconies are curved outward at the bottom to accommodate the shape of women’s dress skirts.

The guide was informative and entertaining, the group of 10 were congenial, and it was a great way to spend a few hours this morning. After the tour I had lunch with Val, another solo woman traveler, and we made plans for dinner at a traditional Italian family restaurant. I’m leaving Lecce with many marvelous sights still unseen, but with a greater cultural understanding and historical perspective of this great city. A very fine day.

Piazza del Duomo 

The false facade of the Cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta e San Oronzo
Heart 2 Comment 0
Cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta e San Oronzo
Heart 2 Comment 0
Campanile del Duomo
Heart 1 Comment 0
The side door of the Cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta e San Oronzo, which leads into the nave
Heart 3 Comment 0
Side door of Cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta e San Oronzo
Heart 2 Comment 0
Caritas Diocesana - the Catholic Archdiocese of Lecce
Heart 1 Comment 0

Roman Amphitheater

Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

Basilica di Santa Croce

Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 1
Keith AdamsI took a nearly identical photo of that guy, plus several of the neighbors, when we were there in 2014.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago

Random photos while walking about

Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
An original balcony from the 17th century
Heart 0 Comment 0
The curved balconies
Heart 2 Comment 2
Scott AndersonNice to know! I think I could remember that one too.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonThe things we remember! Hope you find luck in Lumel and are back on the road soon.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 11
Comment on this entry Comment 5
Rachael AndersonSounds like you had a wonderful day!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Jacquie GaudetI too feel “less inclined to give time and energy to the great cathedrals and historical monuments” when I’m visiting by bike. For me, I think it’s because, at the slower pace of cycling, I see so much more between those great sites that it’s information overload and also because, coming from the west coast of Canada, my visits are longer (no point going to Europe for less than 3 weeks) and I try to cram in as much as possible.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Lyle McLeodGreat reflection on the 'tourist vs traveler' conundrum. Dipping your toe every once in a while in the 'tourist' pool, as you did today, has it's rewards, and you've described them well. It's something that we'll have to keep in mind on our future travels. So true that you will remember why balcony railings are curved at the bottom .... but what was the name of that blasted church??
Looks like you also had a beautiful day in Lecce ... your pictures from today and your day in Otranto are bringing back many great memories for us.
Hope the rest of your journey goes well and that your ankle stories are history.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Suzanne GibsonI loved Lecce's baroque, wonderful that you got such an excellent tour! We, too, are usually eager to keep moving and don't spend enough time on the sites. I'll try to remember.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago