A FESTA A DAY KEEPS THE GLOOM AWAY.
It seems that there’s a Festa for nearly every day of the year in the south of Italy. They are celebrated in every hamlet, village and town, as homage to their patron saint. Historically, there would have been candles and devotions in the windows of households.
The modern day version may include a band of walking musicians, elaborate street lighting, fireworks, and of course, food. Much work goes into competing with neighbouring communities to see who can be the most inventive and surprising.
Italians love to stroll, sit and people watch, it’s a natural pastime for them. So adding the celebration of their patron saint, gives even more meaning to being part of the community.
A popular street snack served at festa time in Salento, would be sweet, crunchy, cupeta, an almond brittle, work of art, which represents the festive flavour. Cupeta is also eaten at other important religious times such as, Easter and Christmas. The traditional way of hand rolling the cooled molten sugar, almonds and lemon onto marble, is a delight to watch if you get the chance.
The south of Italy has much to offer; its delightful traditions, culinary heritage and distinctive flavours have survived and been passed down the generations.
We should all take the time to celebrate, it’s good for the mind, body and soul and in our uncertain world, constancy is reassuring.
As we say, “A festa a day keeps the gloom away”.
Gallipoli is called the ancient Kallipolis (beautiful town). It has a long history covering Messapian, Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine eras. Over the years, Gallipoli operated as an important port, serving merchants from all over the Mediterranean basin. One trading example is that the oil used to illuminate the lamps of London, left from the port. Still a working fishing port today, Gallipoli is now an important international tourist centre. The town offers a combination of wonderful clean beaches, edging onto crystal clear sea. In fact, they are among the most beautiful and best beaches in Italy. At night time, there are exciting clubs. The local food speciality, is of course fish – La Scapece. Gallipoli is a town of two halves. The old part with the castle standing on the ancient limestone island, is connected over a stone bridge to the new town. There are ancient alleyways, a typical fish market, important historical churches and many palaces. The new town, has the vibrant Corsa, which is packed with modern shops, bars and cafe’ life. Here you will experience an inviting and unusual combination of the old and new.
Called the Florence of the south, Lecce is a treasure of culture, history and architecture. We love Lecce for the Baroque style buildings, seen in the churches, many palaces and monuments.
There’s also an amphitheatre dating back to the second century A.D. in Piazza Sant Oronzo. The city castle, which was built between 1539 – 1549 is now used for high profile shows and cultural events.
Apart from the lovely historic centre and the cherubs, visitors will also appreciate the local hand-craft shops, modern shopping facilities, bars, restaurants and fresh local food.
Life in the south of Italy still has the rhythm of long lunches followed by ‘siesta’ and quiet time. Although a city, most of Lecce’s attractions and shops close for a few hours and the streets are quiet but then burst into activity from early evening until late.
The city is surrounded by beautiful countryside, small towns and the sea shore a few kilometres away. Lecce is definitely worth a visit and we promise that memories of this amazing, almost fairytale town, will stay with you
Heffort Restaurant is within Heffort Sports Village. It stands at the highest point of the town Parabita, meaning that the sea and landscape can be seen from the first floor dining area. It’s an unusual site for a top quality eatery, but well worth a visit.
Depending on the time of day, there may well be a football match or children in the park area when you arrive. The village can be used by the whole family, as is the way of life in Italy.
There are two elegant rooms with 120 covers and large French windows leading onto a vast terrace, which is used for summer dining.
Part of the complex is a stylish modern bar and café, serving sweet and savoury snacks, ice cream (gelato) and soft drinks. The clean modern lines provide a comfortable and stylish place to meet during the day.
Although the locals call the food at this restaurant ‘cucina povera’, which literally means food of the poor, Alle Due Corti Restaurant, serves anything but poor food. The locally produced ingredients are the perfect starting point for the expertise of the grandmother chef, Rosalba, who runs the kitchen. She is famous all over Italy for her culinary creations, has appeared on television and has written books on speciality foods of Salento.
Apart from the exquisite sensory experience of the food, the waiters are friendly and speak both Italian and English. Lecce has many top rated restaurants, but Alle Due Corti Restaurant is a truly traditional, Italian family trattoria. The menu is written in Salentino (not Italian) for the locals and English for the convenience of tourists.
The location is about 200 meters away from the main square but that’s why the character is so different from the main tourist area. This is where the locals go in Lecce to eat good authentic food. The ambience is simple and inviting with a lively atmosphere.
One trip advisor contributor says he has eaten in some of the top restaurants in the world over the past forty years, and Alle Due Corti Restaurant is up there with the best.
Another contributor writes that the food was phenomenal, simple, traditional and spectacularly well done. They loved every dish they tried and the prices were very reasonable.
A typical meal for two can cost around €50, including half a carafe of excellent, local wine. If you like a good dessert to finish your meal with an overload of pleasure, this is the place for you.
It’s worth noting that, The ‘Lonely Planet Guide’, also recommends Alle Due Corti, as do local hotels.
As part of your Cooking Holiday, you will have the opportunity to visit stunning local beaches. Ideal for a stroll or catching the rays.
The video below is an example to whet your appetite.
A selection of Italian dishes you could Learn to Cook on your Italian holiday in Salento.
Which ones appeal to you most?