After the celebrations in honour of Saint Martin (November 11th) and new wine, we begin to think about Christmas time. In the streets of the city centre, the first themed lights appear, while the shop windows of local shops make a beautiful display of Christmas gifts to buy for our family and friends.
It’s December. In Lecce and the nearby towns, all the local tourist offices and trade associations are committed to organizing the traditional Christmas markets. From Cursi (December 3rd) to Guagnano (December 8th) and Marittima (December 17th), both adults and children, after some shopping, will have the opportunity to attend shows and taste tradtional winter products, such as hot chocolate and pittule (fried dough balls). Above all, a special mention goes to the Christmas markets of Muro Leccese and Lecce.
In Muro Leccese, on December 7th and 8th from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm, the 4th edition of “Natale al Borgo” will take place. It is not just a Christmas market in a medieval village, but also an opportunity to get to know this lovely gem of the Salento region. Thanks to free guided tours in the old town centre and medieval re-enactments in the hypogeal olive oil mill (with background actors performing the ancient crafts), you will be able to relive a “slow life” atmosphere. The tasting of typical local products and the soft music of the bagpipes will brighten your journey through time.
In Lecce, from December 7th to 24th, there will be the local fair in honour of Saint Lucy (also known as “Fiera dei Pupi”). The location would be the former Theatine Monastery, a baroque building located in the old town centre which was, for some centuries, the seat of the Theatine fathers. Nowadays it often hosts exhibitions and fairs. In this wonderful place, both in the morning and in the afternoon, local craftsmen will exhibit their artifacts for you. Your eyes will be caught by the tiny and realistic terracotta creations, by the papier-mâché puppets (“pupi”) and the numerous nativity scenes (embellished by streams and pastors, depicting the arts and crafts of the time). If you would like to bring a bit of Salento into your home, I suggest you to purchase one of these creations.
Still in Lecce, at the Officine Cantelmo (old factory for iron working, which has become a “housing of events” since 2008, thanks to the collaboration between Officine Cantelmo Social Cooperative, the Municipality of Lecce and the University of Salento), you can look around both at the “Handmade Christmas“ (Natale Handmade is the Italian name) market on December 9th and 10th and at the “Christmas Last Minute“ one from December 19th to the 21st. You will find many original ideas for your home and Christmas presents for your friends and loved ones (all strictly handmade!). Also, while children will be entertained by some workshops, adults can attend book presentations. The markets of Officine Cantelmo will be open from 10:00 am to 09:00 pm.
Besides, if after you’re done with your Christmas shopping, you’d also like to attend a solidarity event then the town of Maglie (one of the most important ones in Salento) is the destination for you. In this charming town, on December 17th, people will run for Telethon. All you have to do is wearing a Santa Claus hat and sign up for the “II Babbo MaraThon“. It is a 5 km non-competitive marathon through the streets of the centre, which will start at 10:00 am from Aldo Moro Square.
So what are you waiting for? Save the dates and come to discover the gems of Salento!
Copyright photos of the article: asscommuro.it; salentoguideturistiche.it; bari.repubblica.it
Copyright extra photos of the gallery: ilpiccolopresepe.it; bari.repubblica.it; asscommuro.it