The province of Lecce is truly the 'heel' of Italy, sitting between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The Adriatic coastline is unspoiled and has imposing cliffs and pine forests rising up from little sandy bays lapped by blue water. The Ionian coastline is flatter and with beaches and a seabed of fine white sand the water is crystal clear.
Province of Lecce, Puglia
The area consists of gently rolling hills interspersed with plains and ancient villages. Organised vineyards and olive groves contained by low drystone walls dominate the landscape. There are two large lakes in the province, Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo which form part of an important nature reserve.
Lecce, the capital city of the province, is often referred to as the 'Florence of the South' and is known world wide for its wonderful architecture, mostly constructed from local stone.
Piazza Duomo, Lecce - Photo F Crippa
The town of Otranto lies on the southernmost extremity between the Adriatic and Ionian and the lighthouse there, Faro della Palascia marks the most easterly point of the Italian mainland.
Faro della Palascia - Photo: Luciano Esposito
Beach in Gallipoli - Photo: Idéfix
Other towns of note are Gallipoli, a Greek word meaning 'Beautiful City', Squinzano, famous for its red and rosé DOC wines made principally from Negro Amaro grapes and Santa Cesarea Terme, an important thermal spa establishment with theraputic waters coming in from four caves.
Santa Cesarea Terme - Photo: Laurent Massoptier