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Archive for the ‘Southern Italy’ Category

Lecce – The End

Back in Orvieto, we truly enjoyed Lecce. It’s stone is a beautiful color, the town is clean, it is a nice scale. Here are some final pictures of the city.

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The cathedral's break tower

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The cathedral and the piazza it sits on

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Over the back door of the cathedral

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Back side of the Roman coliseum

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The Roman amphitheater still in use

And the beautiful light on the buildings

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Caffe Alvino – an old world treasure.

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A buttery, warm pastry with jelly in it.

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And a final shot that only begins to capture the color, the softness, the beauty, and the delightful detail of the Lecce stone.

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Baroque Revisited

Having been duly chastised by Jean about my critique of Baroque, and having been here long enough to truly BE in Lecce I revisited Santa Croce. The quantity of detail in these Baroque pieces and the sheer number of them is overwhelming. But if you narrow your field of view and begin to take it in it can be quite stunning.

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So, I stand a fan. Lecce’s stone is soft and thus accommodated well all the Baroque. One of its biggest exports is stone because it is so carvable. One problem is that stone exposed to the elements does deteriorate.

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One last view of Lecce to come and then back home to Orvieto!!

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We took a day trip to Gallipoli today, a fortress town on the Ionian Sea. As we boarded the train in Lecce, the originating town, and at the first two stops in Lecce numerous Africans boarded carrying large bags or packs. At the ensuing 8 or so stops along the way to Gallipoli, several would get off the train. Clearly, they were getting off at the various towns to sell their wares.

On the way to the train station we walked by the Italian immigration office where dozens of Africans and Middle Easterners were lined up and gathered. Here we saw first hand what we have read about in the U.S. of the thousands of immigrants fleeing desperate situations at home.

It reminds me once again of the value of travel. It helps us see how incredibly fortunate we are amongst all the people on this planet. It also let me see how the Africans on the train were a community, greeting each other and talking the entire time they were on the train. Too, they were not unhappy as best I could tell.

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Countryside is full of stones, stone walls and olive trees

The second revelation of the day is what the difference is to visit a place and to BE in a place. I am not a good tourist. I don’t like going to visit a place, to see the sights and sites. It is too fast, too shallow, even when seeing incredible things. I want to BE there, to know a place, to feel it, to experience it, to live it. And I just can’t do that in a day. It is why our Adventure in Italy trips consist of staying in Orvieto for a week. People traveling with us are there fully, and for me it makes all the difference in the world.

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Though a tourist destination Gallipoli is very much a working town, a fishing town.

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And it has the feel of the Mediterranean coast town it is.

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The Duomo is Baroque on the outside but dominated by paintings inside. It had lots of layers and contrasts to attract my eye.

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Happy to be back in Lecce which, having been here for four days now, we are getting to know!!

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The Color of Lecce

The color of the stone and buildings here is beautiful. We’re both having trouble describing it. Kristi is calling it vanilla. For me it is more of a golden light honey. And I am having a hard time capturing it with my camera. For whatever reason the pictures don’t convey the softness of the color, even those taken in evening light. Oh well. This is the best I can do.

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The one above shows a storefront and the terrace of the apartment above we are staying in. Such a great space and location.

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More Baroque

This is Santa Croce, another Baroque marvel.

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This is one of fourteen, count them – fourteen! There are two or three that are quite simple, but this is the norm.

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The ceiling is quite something.

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Mama Mia! This is the piece de resistance in this church.
Across the street from the backside of Santa Croce is a lovely park called Villa Communale.

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It is full of statutes of famous Leccese and Italians. Don’t know who the guy below is, but he caught my attention.

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I’ve got more Baroque googaa to show but wanted to plug this beautiful apartment we are staying in. Immaculately clean, nicely appointed, wonderful patio, great location, very reasonably priced. 1.5 baths, bedroom, loft bed, couch bed.
http://www.vrbo.com/1670149ha?

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Great kitchen with two sets of dishes, trays for taking your food to the patio, excellent stove, dishwasher.

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Lecce has many interiors with this kind of ceiling. Some are exposed stone, which is a beautiful color.

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Kristi in the doorway of the patio at night.

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The street lamp below the balcony at the end of the patio with the wonderful little crown.

As I write crickets are chirping and town is starting to come awake here on the patio. Sweet!!

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Lecce Baroque

I’m not a fan of Baroque. In fact, the first time I looked at visiting Lecce I said no because of the Baroqueness of it. I’m still not a fan, but the sheer excess and gaudiness is something to behold. These pictures are from Sant’Irene church, Irene being the patron saint of Lecce until 1656.

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This picture gives you an idea of the scale of the church. There are eight of these monstrous altars, all with the incredible over the top goo gaa. The astounding thing is that we have seen at least a dozen churches of equal scale and equally decked out. That said, there are some interesting (at least for me) photos to be had with all the layers.

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