We headed down to Lecce this morning. Mondays can be funny in Italy, with many businesses (and so town centers) closed down tight. We figured that Lecce, with more of a big city and touristic influence, would be “open.” It was an easy drive into the city, and we found parking around the public gardens.
Lecce is an old city with a partially uncovered Roman amphitheater, but really came into its own during the 15th century, when there were a staggering number of churches and palazzos built. The local limestone carves easily, and as the Baroque was in full swing, thousands of putti and swirly columns decorate just about every surface. It’s a bit dizzying, actually, but since the interiors of many of the churches are usually decorated in the carved stone, there’s a lovely lightness to what are usually dark spaces.
We enjoyed walking around the city, following walks detailed in a little book we found in our rental. When our feet gave out, we rested in the public gardens and searched for a restaurant. Just about all the choices I had researches were closed Mondays. We ended up wandering into a simple place, and had decent though forgettable lunches.
By 3, the clouds were gathering and the wind was picking up, so we decided to drive home. The skies opened, and a thunderous rainstorm began. When the water started sheeting on the road, we pulled off into a gas station, where many cars, and several police officers all convened to wait things out. Hailstones dropped for a while, bouncing around the pavement. When things slowed down we got back on the road.
Back home, Larry walked over to the fish store, and bougth some large whole scampi. Not like they’re sold at home–these guys had heads and claws, the real deal. I marinated them in oil, garlic and salt, and we threw them onto the grill. Divine. You know when people say shrimp are sweet? These really were.