Hide Away in Lecce, Your Next Dreamy Italian Vacation Spot

Hide Away in Lecce, Your Next Dreamy Italian Vacation Spot

Of Italy’s few remaining untrammeled urban gems, it’s Lecce, in Puglia, that we’re most enamored of these days. So tiny you can walk across it in half an hour, this town in the heel of the Italian boot punches way above its weight when it comes to impressive architecture: ornate cathedrals sitting one after another next to beautiful Baroque palaces, all built from pietra leccese, the singular creamy-white local limestone. Despite its aesthetic allure—and a small coterie of in-the-know enthusiasts, like the Guerrand-Hermès family, who quietly keep holiday homes here—Lecce has remained largely off the international radar. This year, though, the little town’s reputation has grown in the world, as two expats have shown that an exceptional hotel, especially one that balances its style bona fides with a sense of place, can telegraph its adopted hometown’s unique charms in whole new ways.

First, in late June, came La Fiermontina. Its owner, French businessman Giacomo Fiermonte, whose grandmother was a prominent Pugliese, wanted to create a “contemporary reflection of the old Leccese artistic culture for others to enjoy.” The new-build architecture filters tradition through a minimalist lens, with rib-vaulted ceilings and tall, slim windows recalling castle embrasures. The restaurant serves elevated interpretations of cucina povera (ciceri e tria, fried pasta bits with chickpeas in broth, is the ultimate Puglian comfort food), which, while delicious when eaten…

read more: www.cntraveler.com

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