Night location: Lecce, Italy
It seems as though every street corner in Lecce is adorned with a flamboyant church facade. Between the seventeenth and the eighteenth century artists flocked to the town and created their own 'decorative baroque' style known as Lecce Baroque that is characterised by a sensory overload of friezes, flowers, fruits, spiral columns and wreaths.
Our Halliday Sacred Tour started in the Piazza del Duomo with a visit to the Seminary Palace and Diocesan Museum. The highlight here was the tranquil cloister with the baroque well in its centre. From here we went inside the Duomo which featured many richly decorated altars of Lecce stone and polychrome marble that ran down either side of the central nave. The wooden ceiling had some magnificent paintings including one of the last supper.
For the rest of the morning we wandered through the town, in and out of churches that were all richly decorated. Of particular note, the Basilica di Santa Croce is considered the highest exhibition of Lecce Baroque. After five years of restoration the facade has only recently been revealed as an overwhelming example of elaborate sculpting.
To conclude our morning we visited a 2nd Century CE Roman Theatre. Forgotten and absorbed by 18th century palaces, it was rediscovered in 1929 and opened to the public in 1940. Originally it would have seated 4000 spectators but today we were lucky enough to have the whole theatre to ourselves.
We spent the bulk of the afternoon lazing on the rooftop terrace beside the pool/water feature before enjoying a casual dinner at a restaurant around the corner. Interestingly, David has managed to have tomato and burrata cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner today so he's enjoying the simple pleasures of southern Italy.