We could not be anywhere else but in the hearth of the historic center of Lecce. Bequeathed with a generous stash of baroque buildings by its 17th-century architects, the city has a completeness and homogeneity that other southern Italian metropolises lack. Indeed, so distinctive is Lecce’s architecture that it has acquired its own moniker, barocco leccese (Lecce baroque). Lively, graceful but relaxed city with upmarket boutiques, excellent Pugliese restaurants, and a strong tradition for papier-mâché making. Both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas are within easy access and it's a great base from which to explore the Salento.