Grand Hotel Tiziano e dei Congressi, Lecce ****
In a quiet, residential area a few minutes walk from the downtown area of Lecce, the Grand Hotel Tiziano e dei Congressi sits on Viale Porto d'Europa - modern accommodation perfect for making the best of this superb historic city. View hotel
Double rooms from €60
Hotel President, Lecce ****
A modern, four star hotel in the centre of Lecce - the Hotel President is on Via Salandra, close to the most fashionable shopping area and within easy reach of the beaches of both the Ionian and Adriatic coasts. This Puglia hotel has 150 fully equipped rooms. View hotel
Double rooms from €51
Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce *****
The Patria Palace Hotel is a luxurious five-star hotel housed in a wonderful 17th-century former palace in the historic city of Lecce. Lying in the southern Italian region of Puglia, and dubbed 'the Florence of the south', Lecce is a fascinating city brimming with elaborate Baroque architecture and ancient Roman treasures. View hotel
Double rooms from €77
Legend has it that Lecce has its roots in the ancient city of Sybar, founded at the time of the Trojan War, but this splendid Puglian city emerges from myth and into recorded history in the third century BC, when the Romans took the town and dubbed it Lupiae. 1500 hundred years of turbulent invasion and counter invasion then ensued - after the manner of so many Italian towns. Poor Lecce even had to suffer being physically moved three kilometres to the north east by the Emperor Hadrian in the second century AD.
Today, the reasons for visiting Lecce are manifold. Puglia, and especially the Salentine Peninsula, which forms the spur on the heel of Italy, is a quite beautiful and unique place to visit. Sunsoaked of course, and with beaches on three sides, so warm blue waters are never far away. But Puglia is also a beguiling mix of the Italian and the many other cultures that have invaded and left their mark. The white buildings, palm trees and prickly pears make this feel as much Greece as Italy in places. We have a superb coastline of beaches, rocky cliffs, ancient watchtowers and deserted coves.
And Lecce itself is a remarkable place. The Romans, Goths, Normans, Saracens, Lombards and others all left their mark, but it is for its opulent Baroque buildings that Lecce is best known. The soft Pugliese sandstone allows extraordinarily elaborate carving, seen at its acme in the Santa Croce Basilica. Other must-sees in the city include the Duomo, the Church of Saints Niccolo and Cataldo, the Celestines Convent, the Roman Amphitheatre and the Castle of Charles V. You have to make time to visit the Church of Sant'Irene too, with the most opulent (this is saying something) of Lecce's Baroque altars. Make time too for the Orto Botanico di Lecce, botanic gardens. The city has a Serie A football club (at time of writing anyway) in the shape of US Lecce.