Even in a region as blessed with hilltop towns as Puglia, Lecce still astonishes. The town’s palazzi, chapels and piazzas were fashioned by some of Italy’s finest 17th-century architects — such is the harmony and homogeneity of its baroque architecture, it even has its own style, barocco leccese.
The centrepiece is the monumental Basilica di Santa Croce, celebrated for its ornate and bizarre façade: look out for griffins, dodos, biblical figures, cherubs and even a few sheep in the stonework. Also worth visiting is the Museo Faggiano, where a Lecce townhouse has been turned into a living history lesson, with archaeological excavations revealing the house’s history back to Roman times. The city also has a Roman amphitheatre.