The art of la dolce vita is alive and well in Lecce, Italy. The small town, nestled in the center of the heel of the country’s boot, provides a great base of operations to access the rest of the Puglia region. But even without leaving town there is enough to see and do to take up a day or two. There is enough to eat to last much longer, if desired.
There are several quite decent restaurants available covering the local cuisine, and, even more enjoyably, many options for breakfast and dessert. Indeed, the town appears to have an over-abundance of gelato and pastry shops, mostly centered around the main piazzo at the heart of the city.
These are the type of shops that I expected would survive based on tourists flocking in during the summer months or through less than legitimate business dealings. After all, how can that many coffee and dessert shops succeed in such a small town?
Apparently I continue to underestimate the consumption rates of coffee, delicious little pastries and gelato. Because even though we were nearly alone as tourists in town during our weekend there, business at the gelaterias was rather bustling.
I focused mostly on the gelato options and I must say that I can understand the success of these shops. Simply delicious.
Oh, and they were also the first stop in the morning for most of town to get started again. A couple espressos or cappuccinos to start the morning up is great if you’re into that sort of thing (by which I mean "Italian" in this case as most of town seemed to be there ever day).
We did most of our pastry and gelato consumption at Il Alvino, right in the center of town. There are other options that I’m sure are also quite good, but that’s where we were and I’d recommend it with no apprehension.
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