Last but not least the cities. We only quickly visited Lecce and Bari. Our trip was more countryside village-orientated, so I don’t have much to say or suggest. Lecce is full of Baroque buildings so for someone like me who doesn’t really care for the elaborate Baroque architecture, Lecce is not that interesting.
The amphitheatre in the main square is a nice site and frequently used by locals. I would suggest a quick look at the Santa Croce Cathedral because the decorations on the ceiling are very impressive. Another church worth a visit is Santa Chiara because of its papier-mâché ceiling. Papier-mâché is a traditional handicraft in Lecce.
Bari is a very busy city with plenty of traffic and noise, but with that comes lively nightlife. Being a big port it sits directly on the sea and, even though the historic centre is enjoyable and the modern centre full of nice shops, a walk along the seafront with an ice cream and a good friend is probably the best way of passing the time until the evening. Evenings and sometimes entire nights happen outside in Italy. Don’t even think about settling in at the first club you find, ask the locals for recommendations!
Bed and breakfast Casa dei Venti – Bari
This place was definitely furnished by a man with a wild taste for trashy and tacky furniture. But the bed is comfortable, if you can look past the flashy, almost brothel-like, bedcover. The toilet was also clean although a bit rickety and the TV was huge, another sign that a man furnished the place.
The building was probably once owned by a wealthy family and one of the floors is now the Casa dei Venti. The only sign that you’re in the right place is an inscription on the bell. Be brave and enter. The owner is nice and will give you three keys to access the B&B. Be aware that being so close to the city centre has its perks and its downsides: it’s noisy throughout the night.
Unfortunately I didn’t find out how the breakfast was as I had to leave too early, but the price is reasonable (€75 for a double per night). Works well for one or two nights.
In Vino Veritas – Bari
This is a fancy place near the shopping streets, a wine bar that serves meat cooked on a special stone. The service is professional and attentive. Our waiter also suggested a wine to go with our meat, kindly explaining its characteristics for us. We had the usual welcome treat and abundant portions of meat and grilled vegetables.
The meat was unbelievable! You can see that the people here know what they are doing. In fact, the owners are retired butchers who decided to open this small restaurant. They even had donkey meat, much to my friend’s pleasure. The grilled vegetables just couldn’t match the meat. It is a bit more pricey but nothing too shocking (€20 per person with drinks included).