Beautiful Lecce. We went years ago when the Small people were teeny, staying in an authentic Trullo in true Puglia style. I wasn’t so much into photography back then judging by my archives (hence the reason there are not many photos of the compact city centre amphitheatre – I imagined I had lots already!) and this post is slightly later than intended as I had to trawl through various memory cards looking for my original (imagined) Lecce shots.
You have to look up in this city…
We were there for a big family wedding, arriving super late last Wednesday night after Alitalia “misplaced” our baby seat in Rome (it was eventually delivered back to us after enjoying a private 3 day city break!). The baby coped with his first two flights (first to Rome, then on to Brindisi) like a pro, only really threatening to cry seconds before conking out into a deep slumber for the remainder of the journey. The worst part were the typical tuts and glares from a few of our fellow passengers for daring to enter an aircraft with an infant. I extinguished the glowering looks from one super grump directly in front with my best death stare, and managed a few overly loud comments about the baby being so good and “much better than certain (horrible) people had expected him to be” as we disembarked, probably much to Mr R’s despair. But honestly horrible aeroplane people – rein it in unless you have good reason (badly behaved kids, parents who couldn’t care less etc.) or cough up and pay for business class where you are less likely to encounter any child (crying or not). It says a lot about someone if they cannot cope with literally ten seconds of a slightly grizzling small baby on a short flight!!…
Catching a few z’s in the shade in a makeshift sunbed cot. Travelling with a small baby means lots of creative problem solving. Talking of travelling with a small baby, the worst part of the flights the other day by far was other people. The tuts and glares and eye rolls as we got on the plane with him. And he fell asleep and didn’t cry at all. People are so quick to judge. May karma kick them in the bum 😂 #familytravel #travelwithkids #travel #babytravel #babiesofig #babytravel #travelgram #kidstravel #familytravellers #instapassport #instatravel #travelgram #sleep #sleepingbaby
ANYWAY, back to Lecce. It was beyond midnight when we finally arrived, but a small welcoming committee awaited, mainly consisting of family and of course the main reasons we were there – my cousin and his future bride. Of course, all three Small People were now completely wide awake, so we had time for a quick catch up over some Prosecco from the hotel’s honesty bar (what a fabulous idea!) before conking out ourselves…
City Centre Amphitheatre
Thursday morning we spent catching up with loved ones and relaxing, before taking in the sights and retracing our steps from our first visit all those years ago. As Lecce is the Bride’s Father’s home town, we had an expert on hand to recommend some good eats, and most importantly the best Gelateria (Gelateria Yoguteria Artiginale!)…
By Friday morning, almost the entire wedding party had arrived from all over the place (including from as far away as Australia!), and we spent a big chunk of the day by the roof top pool (where the baby had his first dip!) before the first big party that evening.
Roof tops from the roof gardens of Hotel Risorgimento
I can’t think of a nicer place for an evening reception than the roof gardens of the five-star Hotel Risorgimento in the heart of the city. With views stretching out far across the roof tops (and TV aerials), and accompanied by the cries of swallows on their evening feeding frenzy, we enjoyed the company of guests that had come together to celebrate the special couple over yet more fizz, delicious nibbles, and with the most gorgeous sunset as a backdrop. The party ended at a reasonable hour which meant we could get an early ish night before the big day itself…
I have to say that I have been to some stunningly beautiful weddings in my time. I like to think my own South African wedding was pretty special, but this wedding might just have set an off the scale standard – when Italians get married, they do it in style! With Castello Monaci as a venue you can’t go far wrong anyway I should well imagine. Built as a monastery in 1500, the castle is surrounded by centuries old vineyards, olive groves and masses of mature gardens and courtyards. It is just exquisite.
The ceremony took place in a sunny courtyard, which was probably about the time that the Smallest boy managed to leave a baby thumbprint on my camera lens, giving every picture thereafter a bit of a seventies soft-focus vibe… This went completely unnoticed by me as the occasion itself, along with the absence of the Father of the Groom (my lovely uncle who died a few years ago), AND combined with the gorgeous moving speech from the Father of the Bride meant I would have given Alice Cooper a run for his money had I opted for normal eye-make up that morning and not the waterproof variety. My eyes along with my camera were fuzzy for the rest of the day (I suppose the generous wine waiters may well have contributed to that too)…
(you might notice I have only included one photo of the lovely couple themselves out of fairness really, they are still on honeymoon and might not have even seen their official pictures yet, but I am hoping they won’t mind this particular photo to help illustrate what an amazing time we had thanks to their meticulous planning. It must have taken forever!)
The wedding breakfast stretched out over hours and across several of the castle’s locations, starting with the biggest selection of antipasti I have ever seen, outside in the gardens. The main courses were served in the castle accompanied by speeches, some live music and a bit of dancing!… And finally, just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more, we were led to a vast dessert buffet taking pride of place next to one of the pools. The evening culminated with dancing and further drinks by yet another pool – where Small Boy pitted himself against his older counterparts for a spur of the moment dance off. He won. I have video evidence (something to remind him of further down the line!)!
And that wasn’t the end of the celebrations either, we rounded everything off with an afternoon at the Lido the next day. The weather started off slightly reminiscent of a typically English Day at the beach (not that that ever stopped anyone!) but before long the clouds departed, and the sun came out – as did the Aperol! Cin cin! A truly memorable few days.
I would recommend Lecce whether or not you have a wedding to attend. I have heard it called a mini Rome of the South and I can understand why….
Wrong glass. Who cares! Last night of wedding celebrations. It’s been a brilliant few days. #cincin #igersitalia #italy
A photo posted by Emma (@bavariansojourn) on
We stayed at: The Hilton Garden Inn Lecce. It’s a short walk from the centre of town, and is ideal for families as it’s a) in a quiet location, and b) popular with Small People for the roof top pool and good buffet breakfasts (don’t forget to ask the freshly cooked waffles!). We had a Junior Suite on the fifth floor, and the room was spacious and quiet. Hotel Staff were friendly and very helpful (even helping to resolve on our Alitalia fiasco!)…
We ate at: Lecce is full of great restaurants, most notably for good pizza, seafood and frittini. Our Bride & Groom recommended the following as tried and tested options (sadly we didn’t get to try all of them…) ‘00’, La Cantina delle Streghe, All’Ombra del Barocco and the South East Cafe.
Best Views: – without a doubt from the roof gardens of The Risorgimento. I think they would be strong contenders for the best cocktail prize too…
And, should you be looking for, or are indeed tempted by this very post to tie the knot somewhere a little further afield than home, then look no further than Castello Monaci for perhaps one of the most perfect wedding venues ever.
What a beautiful place! And how fabulous to celebrate your wedding there! Wow!
Thanks Otilia! (:
Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely says
I love, love, love Italian weddings. They are just dreamy. My uncle dances tarantella at weddings in Capri and whenever we’re over there, we go along with him. It’s so much fun. I’ve suffered the same glares on planes when travelling with the boys. I’m normally pretty relaxed but those kind of people make me very confrontational. Paul has to hold me back!
Thank you Rachel, your Uncle sounds brilliant! I wouldn’t mind but I just wish people would give them a chance. They are all too keen to jump on the usual Daily Mail “children shouldn’t be allowed on planes” bandwagon! :D x
Trish @ Mum's Gone To says
Looks like we’ve both been enjoying family weddings recently. This looks utterly gorgeous – what a location!
And boo to the people tutting at your little baba. How ridiculous – it’s not as if you were travelling long-haul and even then, what on earth did they have to moan about?
Thanks Trish. Your wedding looked gorgeous too! And yes, I am sick of people assuming that children will be badly behaved on a plane. I remember one stupid couple on a trip to the states tutting and loudly declaring their annoyance that we had sat in front of them. I turned to them and said “we live abroad, my children probably fly more than you do, they know how to behave on a plane” and they were a dream the entire flight. Mind you, R did cry when we were about to get off as a lady opened the overhead and a giant easter egg fell out and hit her on the head! :D
Ashley Hubbard says
Looks like a wonderful place to have a wedding! I’d settle just to get married in Italy haha
Such a gorgeous location wedding or not! Thanks Ashley! :)
Oh how very lovely x
Thanks very much Becky! (: x
How beautiful, it looks magical and what a wonderful backdrop for such an ocassion.
It was really magical… Thank you Emma!
Ali Clifford says
What a WONDERFUL adventure for a wedding, and your photos are just beautiful!
Thanks so much Ali! x
Donna Billson says
Italy has been on my wish list for such a long time, your post has reminded me how much I want to go there! I really need to give my husband a nudge!!
Thanks Donna, give him a HUGE nudge! :D x
What a wonderful place to get married! It all looks so beautiful and relaxed. I love seeing cities I’ve never thought to visit too. So much of the world to add to my list!
It was a super relaxed affair, not an ounce of stress in sight! Thanks Helen! I think you would like Lecce! :)
Not crazy about going to weddings :), but the architecture looks amazing! Thanks for sharing all the good info!
I think even the biggest wedding-un-fan would have enjoyed this day and place! Thanks Alex :D
What an amazing, idyllic location to get married…a dream come true!
Thanks Alexis! (:
I work for a wedding company, so love seeing weddings in different countries aha. Italy looks like a beautiful place to get married!
It really is idyllic! Thanks Claire! (:
Nilabh Ranjan says
nice place to get married.The pictures are awesome and great. Thank you por detail write-up.Excellent
Thanks Nilabh :)
Kara Guppy says
The perfect location for a wedding. Bet it was a beautiful occasion – the photo’s were stunning
Thanks so much Kara! (:
What beautiful photos and what an amazing setting for a wedding – the skies are just gorgeous!
Thank you Cass! (:
Vicki Louise says
Beautiful images – and well done on the bubs for the first 2 flights – and shame on those nasty people on the third! But what a place for a wedding – absolutely magical!
Thanks very much Vicki Louise! :)
Gorgeous photos- the architecture is incredible. It does look like a perfect spot for a wedding!
Thanks very much Nathan! I think you would have approved of the foodie side of things too! :)
Sarah Twain says
It does look like an amazing place to have a wedding! Especially the weather- it looks perfectly romantic! Hope you had a fun time!
It was gorgeous, thank you Sarah! :)
A Patchwork Life says
An Italian wedding just conjures up such a romantic picture – sounds like you had an amazing time, and what a venue! So beautiful.
It was just perfect. Thank you T x
What a beautiful place for a wedding! I’m a bit jealous right now!
Thanks Ashleigh, it was stunning…
looks beautiful! a wedding in italy would be a dream
Thank you Sher…
Heather Cole says
What an amazing wedding venue! We got married in a castle, but like you, I have to say this could top this list of beautiful destinations! And stunning architecture in Lecce, I always say we don’t spend enough time looking up in cities, this is definitely somewhere to do that!
Thanks Heather! Lecce is so beautiful, you definitely definitely need to look up there! :D
Nayna Kanabar says
What a lovely trip , your photos look stunning. The wedding was set is such a beautiful place.
Thanks Nayna, it was gorgeous! :)
Jen Walshaw says
Wow, what a beautiful place to have a wedding. I love it. Oh and Pah to people that whinge about kids on planes. I agree they should have to pay for business class or just suck it up!
Thank you Jen. This particular guy was so rude. I understand the annoyance if a baby screams for an entire flight, or a toddler misbehaves and the parent does nothing to sort it, but literally ten seconds of quiet grizzling before he fell asleep? :D
Such a breathtaking place for a wedding and reception! I adore seeing photos of Italy but I have never been yet. One day…
I am sure you will love it when you get there! Thanks Sara-Jayne! (:
Wow Stunning pictures! That courtyard where the ceremony was looks amazing! Just beautiful
Thanks Gemma! (:
Midlife Singlemum says
What a fabulous place for a wedding.
It really was stunning! (: