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Lecce - Puglia (Salento)

Lecce is situated in the isthmus that forms the heal of Italy, right down in the south-eastern cornerb of the country. It is a large centre, and a town that I grew to like. My hotel was close to the ring road, so getting in and out was easy. The ring road is very efficient, and getting around within the town itself is also quite easy after the first couple of mistakes.

The town is easy to reach from Brindisi airport. It's a fast drive down the superstrada. Property prices are reasonable, and you have all the usual facilities. The centre contains the usual historic area with the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. It is usual to list half a booklet of churches to visit in Italy, but that isn't my scene. However, there are a bunch of interesting cafes and restaurants inside the old city walls.

It's a small city centre, so you can do it easily on foot, although if you are disabled you can drive in and park where you like, however, do have your badge on display as you pass through the city walls or the police will hassle you.

To the north is Martina Franca, which you should visit. This is the centre for many of the trulli that are for sale in this part of the world.

All along the coast hereabouts are fine sandy beaches. Many of them also back onto woodland, so there is shade as well. A little to the south of San Cataldo is a nature reserve based around a small lagoon. It's a pleasant spot. Then there is a belt of woodland running parallel to the coast behind the beaches. It's amazing how many empty or derelict properties there are along this road. This could be a good area to search for that ideal property to buy.

I drove as far as Otranto, which is a small touristy town with a nice beach, and an old fort. In fact virtually all these old seaside towns have some kind of fortress guarding the coast line. There are round towers all down the coast, much like the martello towers along the Sussex and Kent coast.

I would not say this part of Italy displays much charm, and the inland villages are not what I would choose as the ideal holiday or retirement home. However, once across the hills you reach the western coast at Gallipoli. Just south of the town is the area's main beach. It stretches for several miles and is packed at the weekends.

Further north up this western coast you have woods reaching down to a rocky coastline until you reach the town of Porto Cesareo. For me, this is the jewel of the south. I didn't take any pictures because the sun was rather low, but there is a long sandy beach accessible right off the town pavements. It is also sheltered at the southern end by a long spit of land a few hundred metres out to sea, and at the northern end by a couple of wooded islands. This means the place acts as a centre for yachting. There is a massive marina here stretching for miles.

And if you look at the Unique Property site bulletin for this area, you will find a dozen or more other properties available in this part of the world, plus links to many more.

These bulletins are only available to paid-up members of the Unique Property site. The fee is only £37 for a year's worth of bulletins (roughly 50 a year). Check out our home page:

Next week I shall be featuring the rest of the foot of Italy.


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