The City Gates

24 Mar

The ancient city walls protecting Lecce from the Turks by the order of King Carlos V had four gates. Today three gates remain, Porta Rudiae, Porta Napoli and Porta San Biagio. We walk through each of these gates in our meanderings and associate each one with what we do in their environs. So here they are…


Porta Napoli is the most imposing gate. The tree lined avenue approaching the gate gives it a sense of grandeur. And, unsurprisingly, this is where the tour buses pull up to drop off and pick up tourists coming to Lecce for a look-see. We saw our first tour bus day before yesterday. I think the season is starting. For us Porta Napoli is the way we walk to the campus of the University of Salento, past the best flower market and near a favorite cafe with good cafe macchiato.


Porta Rudiae is a favorite for two reasons. Lecce’s Academy of Fine Arts sits right inside the gate. Every time we walk through, students are milling in the courtyard and fill a cafe on one side of the gate. One day they were having a celebration feting a couple wreathed in laurel with purple robes. Both young and vibrant as the young can be. Porta Rudiae also has a wonderful daily market just outside the wall, all fresh vegetables, meat, fish and cheeses. We go by here often.


We think of San Biagio as “our” gate because it is the closest to our apartment. We walk through it every day to go food shopping and there are three cafes flanking the entrance. We rotate. One has the best bite size panini, one has the best pasticciotto, and one has the best rustico, a pastry stuffed with an array of country meats, cheese and tomatoes. Dana eats pasticciotto. He likes sweet. I eat rustico. I like savory. We trade days.

6 Responses to “The City Gates”

  1. Terrence Murphy March 25, 2022 at 4:31 am #

    As Auntie Mame said: “Live, live, live. Just think of all the poor suckers who are starving to death.”!!!! What only ONE pastry! Shame. As to your three gates: all so Italian, all so inviting and all so wonderful. Happy you have found a food market with all those goodies.
    How much cooking are you doing? And, is fresh pasta available at market? Terry

    • Jill and Dana March 25, 2022 at 8:46 am #

      Fresh pasta of every kind you can imagine and some quite fantastical is availabe in shops throughout Lecce. Dana always cooks wherever we live for which I am so thankful. Fresh vegetables like rape and chickory are new ingredients. We have to give ourselves a daily pastry quota lest we roll home.

  2. paul March 24, 2022 at 2:33 pm #

    The food and market shopping sounds delightful…is your Italian helping you through this??

    • Jill and Dana March 24, 2022 at 4:07 pm #

      There are few English speakers among the Puglians. My Italian is minimal. But much can be accomplished with hand gestures and a smile. People go out of their way to help.

  3. Derek Simmons March 24, 2022 at 12:17 pm #

    From your descriptions I’m sure I’d eat both pasticciotto and rustico and soon not be able to fit through the gates to get to them. Again, thanks for sharing

    • Jill and Dana March 24, 2022 at 4:09 pm #

      Luckily we’re walking a lot. And manage to limit ourselves to one pastry a day.

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