After Bari and Alberobello, we continued our trip down the coast and ended up in Lecce, a city that is often (I’m not sure by who) called the “Florence of the South” for it’s baroque architecture. The city is beautiful and the architecture is amazing, but I think it is a gem on it’s own and shouldn’t be compared to Florence. There were more young people out in Lecce than I had seen in Italy before and they were drinking! Not just a few wines and a Spritz, but several mixed drinks, at last we had found the youths of Italy! The main square, Sant’Oronzo, was busy with young and old doing their “passeggiata”, or their evening stroll. The passeggiata to me is basically when Italians come out after their hours long “riposos” (naps) to judge what each other are wearing or whom they’re walking with. It’s quite the affair. We ran around the city for the first hour (it was almost 8pm by the time we had arrived and dropped off our bags at the hotel) to see all the important sights. My favorite was the Roman amphitheater that was built in the 2nd century.
After the first hour of running around we settled down and ate some pizza (very unoriginal, but still delicious although Steve, a staunch supporter of “American” pizza, would disagree) and drank beer. We moved from one bar to the next observing young Italians in their natural habitat. They are never rowdy, never speak to loud, and never drink too much. At 2am after people watching for a few hours we decided to call it a night since we had to drive to Matera the next day.