Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Cold Day in Lecce

Since Lecce is a larger city we decided to do a guided tour.  It has been so helpful in terms of finding things and gaining a lot of knowledge about the area.  We have found all our guides to be very informed and wanting to share their knowledge.  Our guide suggested we meet at the L"Arco di Trionfo because there is a public car park nearby and it is by the old city. 
 The view through the arch.
 The obelisk just across from the arch.
 Just down the block is this sample of how paper mache statues are made.  The method of making statues was introduced to cut down on costs and time.  You can't tell the difference between a statue made of expensive wood or of straw - that is until damage shows up and straw starts peeking out instead of stone or wood.
 There is a rod sticking out in the middle of the arm if you look closely.
 Santa Maria della Porto or Saint Louis - pretty plain, except for the dome which looks like it could have been in Istanbul.
You get a since of an area by its street scenes.
 Not necessarily scary - meant to protect the house and its members.
 And lots of balconies.

 Gates leading to doors and then more doors.
 New take on a tradition.
 An advertisement for street food.  This restaurant specializes in horse meat.  It used to be cheap and was meant for the hard working laborer.  Now it is popular and expensive.
 If you look closely at the photo above you will see that two  of the smaller busts are of nuns.  The ones above are big busted regular people.  This building as shown below is suppose to show the sacred and the profane together.  The religious and the regular lives co-existing.
 Next on to the Piazza Del Duomo or square of the Cathedral.  There are regular homes as well as religious buildings and government buildings

 The photo below is the Duomo outside and inside.
 As our guide explained, the baroque style was meant to produce awe in the common people.  The more outrageous the better.  She also told us that the "seconds" were commonly assigned to be put the furthest or highest away so people would not notice any flaws. 

 This picture is on the ceiling (ceiling is second picture in this series) and hard to see unless you have a telephoto lens.  Our guide pointed it out because she loves the casual nature of this depiction of the last supper.  No one seems to be looking at Jesus, just conversing amongst themselves.
The last thing  from Lecce that I will share is our visit to the Roman Ruins.  This amphitheatre was discovered during the time that Mussolini was in power.  He thought it was really grand and built the structure behind it as well as some larger buildings in the background of the photo below.  Only about 1/3 of the amphitheatre has been uncovered.  The rest is still under the surrounding building and roads.

 In this same piazza on a bank building is an art deco clock.  The bank commissioned and paid for it. 

After our 2 hour tour our guide mentioned that the church in Otronto with the famous tiled floor would be closed the next day for repairs as the wood ceiling was infested with wood worms.  So we had a quick lunch in Lecce and headed off to Otronto.

In Otronto there is a basilica and a cathedral named after St Pietro.  First - fun with shadows - it is around 3p.
 Street scene.
 The basilica is closed - too bad as it is supposed to have some great Byzantine paintings.
 And now - the cathedral:

 The floor is completely tiled.  I think it was called "the tree of life."  But there were a lot of scary scenes on that floor.  You could walk directly on it in some areas.  I was surprised that they did not try to protect it.

 There are three huge glassed in areas containing skulls.  These are the martyrs who died rather than convert to Islam when the area was over run with the Turks.
 And a close up of the floor.

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