By Katie Shaw
23 August 2019
To celebrate experiences that bring Italy to life, here are a few of our favourite unique activities that truly take you to the heart of this beguiling country.Read more
Boasting a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of elaborate baroque architecture, Lecce is the principal town of the Salentine peninsula, and has been dubbed 'the Florence of the South'. Lecce's history is long; it was first settled by the Greeks in about the 5th century BC, before becoming an important Roman settlement during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Some of the Roman structures can still be seen in Lecce today - the main piazza is on the site of the amphitheatre. Following a quiet period during the Dark Ages, the Sicilian Normans ushered in a prosperous era for Lecce from the 11th century.
Lecce's magnificent architecture
The city continued to flourish under German emperors, before being absorbed into the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. Now one of southern Italy's most important cities, it was during this time that Lecce acquired its Renaissance and baroque heart - and, with improved stability, wealthy merchants and bankers flocked to the city from all over Italy. This influx of wealth funded the construction of many of Lecce's finest buildings, including its grand palaces. Today, tourists are drawn to this magnificent city to admire its quaint, narrow streets and its unique architecture - much of which, existing nowhere else, is referred to as 'Leccese Baroque'. Among its many highlights are the decorative Chiesa di Santa Croce, with its intricately carved rose window and grand, elaborate chandeliers, and the Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by the 230-feet (70-metre) high bell tower of Lecce's cathedral.
Immerse yourself in culture on the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy, a rugged, rural and breathtakingly beautiful area. We tour the ancient city of Rome before travelling through the olive groves, vineyards and almond trees of a region referred to as 'the breadbasket of Italy' on a wonderful adventure exploring Puglia & Basilicata.… see more
12 days from £2,395 ppView tour details >
Allow yourself to be immersed in the captivating culture, cuisine and history of Italy on this special tour. From pasta making and truffle hunting in the Umbrian countryside and staying at an authentic 'trulli' resort, to watching the Vatican City come to life before your eyes on a private visit, this holiday takes you off the beaten track to showcase the very best hidden experiences Italy has to offer.
Discover this different side to Italy on an exclusive small group tour, as part of an intimate group of no more than 20 like-minded travellers. With our small group tours, you have all the advantages of travelling in a group as well as access to certain experiences and hotels not suitable for larger parties.… see more
12 days from £3,050 ppView tour details >