Map of Salento and the "Barocco Leccese"
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I agree with Nan that Lecce with its Barocco is unique and the entire town with maybe 30 or 40 churches, baroque palaces and gates deserves to be included to the WHS list. In the proposal, there are only 5 churches/buildings included: basilica di Santa Croce (main facade under scafoldings now, but it is really a gem of Meditteraen Barocco), S Giovanni Battista (the main facade under scafoldings now), Santa Chiara, Piazza del Duomo (the ensamble is so delicate!), and SS Nicolo e Cataldo (I spent 3 days in Lecce but could not see this becase it is outside the town walls and I have not noticed that this complex is also listed in TWHS nomination...). I do not understand why only these churches were selected in Lecce, because I could read the studies that positions of main facades, shape of piazzas, direction of main streets, and possition of main monuments such as Campanile del Duomo or Colonna S Oronzo or Porta Rudiae have been carefully planned by baroque masters. It is also strange to me why the Title of the nomination is "Salento and the "Barocco Leccese"" even if the site is mostly about Barocco and not about Salento region.
I also visited Gallipoli with its cathedral, which is fully comparable to churches in Lecce but it has huge oil paintings covering the walls instead of usual frescoes.
I have no time to visit other sites, because I travelled by train and it has its own specifics in southern Italy...
In conclusion, Lecce is simply great, and I must return to Lecce to see repaired facades of S Croce and S Giovanni Battista.
As a worldheritage traveller I have seen my fair share of Baroque sites, be it churches, palaces or towns. To be blunt, I wouldn't call myself a fan. As such I was really considering skipping on Lecce while touring through Puglia. Yet another Baroque town? In Italy? ...
As a worldheritage traveller you also know what sites are up for inscription in the foreseeable future. And a fellow traveller had posted a raving review on some site*. So I went. And to be blunt again: I am really happy I did, because Lecce is just this great. The town center is filled with scores of lovely churches and piazzas. And I experienced none of the fatigue I have come to expect from a Baroque town.
Apart from Lecce I also went to Ostuni and Martina Franca. Ostuni is situated on a hill and certainly a nice site. Martina Franca also has a nice old town. But in the end both cities pale in comparison to Lecce. Additional cities mentioned in the application are Nardo, Gallipoli and Galatone.
You can read up on Barocco Leccese, how the insular location of the Salento as well as shifting rulers created a distinct version of baroque. To me this is simply a special and unique site that deserves inscription, even though it's in Italy and even though I strongly biased against adding more Baroque sites to the list.
Martina Franca is a short train ride from Alberobello (WHS). I would do a stop at Locorotondo, a pitoresque village on a hill. From Martina Franca you can continue to Taranto or Lecce.
Ostuni is located along the railway from Lecce to Bari. Be advised that the train station is way outside of town and it's a steep, long climb to reach the city center. They also don't have a sidewalk.
Lecce is a major railway stop for Italian railways. There are trains running along the east coast up to Bari and onwards to Rimini and Northern Italy. There is also a connection via Taranto to Salerno and Naples.
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