Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lecce, Part 1

The southeasternmost part of the Italian mainland is the Salento peninsula, which extends between the southernmost part of the Adriatic Sea and the Gulf of Taranto, thus forming the "heel" of Italy's "boot".  The main city on the Salento is Lecce, known for its baroque architecture, and often called the "Florence of the south".  Lecce was the southeasternmost place visited by our tour group.  Before entering the city, we made a brief stop near a traffic circle, which included an electrical box topped by a statue.

We entered the main part of the city by going through a triumphal arch.

As we proceeded down a narrow street, a few of us wandered into a small courtyard.

Back on the street, we saw two windows that formed a Moorish balcony.  Notice the difference in condition between the two sections of stonework below each respective window.

At a street corner, we saw this Italian terrace.

We proceeded to our first stop in Lecce, the Basilica di Santa Croce (Holy Cross).  The very ornate façade was undergoing some renovation, and thus partially blocked by scaffolding.  I got this shot of a section of the façade, which shows human and animal figures "supporting" the section above them.

Inside the basilica was this side altar, dedicated to the cross itself, and which includes a balcony.

On the ceiling of the basilica was this image.  I don't know if it's a painting or a tapestry, but the surrounding "frame" appears to be a woodcarving with gold inlay or gold paint.  In any event, there's more to come in Part 2.

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