Amazing location in Lecce, this unique designer B&B is very special. Annie loves where Palazzo Persone is, its style, its informality and thinks it’s as boutique as they come! Ray loved his bistro buffet lunch – delicious and great value.
Lecce, “the Florence of the South”, has always been loved by discerning Italians for its beautiful Baroque architecture, elegant palazzi, richly decorated façades and wonderful churches. Now also a thriving and fascinating shopping centre, its shops are fabulous and it offers travellers that particular type of chic and interest only found in Italy. It has great restaurants, too, and Lecce is known for its good food and wine.
The Baroque and beautiful Basilica of Santa Croce is part of the beating heart of Lecce’s centro storico and Palazzo Persone, a spectacular boutique B&B, is next door – and we mean next door! Impressively huge double doors open into a beautiful, secret courtyard of arches and balconies, telling you, from the moment you arrive, that you are somewhere special.
As if the stupendous location is not enough, this unique former palace and synagogue will take your breath away. With only six rooms, Palazzo Persone has real designer style. Ancient blends with ultra-modern. Traditional materials and Pugliese ceramics are set against crisp, contemporary interiors. Quality, luxury and comfort sit with cool, minimal simplicity. Every room is different. Some overlook the façade of the Basilica, some the courtyard and others have direct access from one of the typically narrow streets of Lecce’s historic centre.
The contemporary and unusual style and the relaxed informality of the B&B extends to the absolutely charming café/bistro, on the ground floor, and popular with guests and Leccese folk too. This acts as the focal point, so don’t expect to find a traditional reception or bar. You will be welcomed at Palazzo Persone’s “Bistrot/Caffe” and, if the delightful Daniele and Caterina have anything to do with it, it will be a smiling, warm welcome indeed. Breakfast is served in the bistro and tables spill outside in summer, into the narrow side street. The buffet lunch they offer is a must try – great value, delicious and seemingly never-ending!
In the cellar of Palazzo Persone are the intriguing remains of the former Jewish synagogue. Restored beautifully, with a real respect for their importance, the stone arches lead to the ancient stone “baths”, reputedly used to “purify” young women before their marriage. Now covered in glass, they have been incorporated into the lovely restaurant, which is an elegant and cosy place, when the weather is too cool for alfresco dining. The cuisine is based on typical Salento dishes with a modern twist, and it is highly praised locally.
Palazzo Persone just has everything for us and so has Lecce, often overlooked, and that is a shame. Any itinerary in Puglia should include Lecce, by law! Spoil yourselves by combining a few days here, with other places in Puglia. In fact, it’s a must!
The beautiful Salento area of Puglia, with its crystal clear shores and its many fascinating, inland towns makes it an amazing place to explore. Right in its heart, yet only 12km from the coast, lies the Baroque, provincial capital of Lecce. Still relatively undiscovered and unknown, it is truly magnificent. Once a Greek city, and then a Roman town, you can discover fine examples of its ancient past, including the 2nd century amphitheatre. There is the Spanish Castle, right in the centre, and its many ‘palazzi’, churches and squares are brimming with Baroque architecture, such as the remarkable Santa Croce Church. This is one of the finest models of ‘Barocco Leccese’, with its intricate exterior and wonderful, Renaissance interior. The spectacular and impressive façades of the grand and palatial Piazza del Duomo, lit up at night, are beautiful.
Art in Lecce is still very much alive and you may even spot sculptors and artisans working on the local sandstone, in their shops or out on the streets. Then there’s the shops – resist if you can! You can easily spend time here, to absorb the atmosphere, and to discover all that Lecce has to offer