Lecce’s native son and artist Alberto Buttazzo!

One lazy afternoon while strolling the cute streets of Lecce, we entered an unassuming shop. It was hardly recognizable as a shop from the outside.  Inside Alberto and Dino were sitting and chattering away as if they have been waiting for our arrival all this while…

We did not know that we were looking at the portrait of an artist, until we started looking around the shop. I saw a print and immediately knew it would be mine. Maker turned out to be Alberto himself. 

 

When people like each other no matter what the languages they can communicate. Though we know some limited Italian it was easy to connect with him.  He told us about his art and showed us his books, prints, the printing machine and more. 

  

 This is Alberto’s passion!  He has been doing this since 1934, his father founded the La Teatrale typography shop in 1926.

 

Dino, his brother in law, and AnnaMaria, his sister – a soprano, joined our lively conversation.  Also we had the pleasure of meeting Antonio, Dino’s talented son.   

Hard not to fall in love with culture, art, passion… we felt lucky that we walked in on this history waiting to be told and heard.

 

If you are visiting Lecce, drop by and say hello to Alberto and family. The shop is located at Via dei Perroni, 21 Lecce.  If you are far away then follow him on Facebook at Tipografia Del Commercio Lecce.

Grazie Alberto!!!  

Cooking with Lecce’s best Chef Gianna !

We had been waiting for this cooking experience for weeks. It was important to us to make this travel a learning experience since we love to cook and eat. 

Chef Gianna and Giorgio gave us the full experience of cooking in traditional Lecce style.  We met in the early evening by Piazza del Duomo.  We strolled together to the market in a leisurely way while getting to know more about each other.  We all have a passion for cooking, eating, and enjoying good company as a common characteristic.   

Market experience was fun, we watched how Gianna and Giorgio selected cheese, tomatoes, and other ingredients. The market owner and staff were great.  This is an integral part of feeling and breathing the whole experience.  These are the kinds of memories that are priceless.  We loved it!! 

 

We arrived at the beautiful Cooking Experience kitchen. This is where they cook and entertain the guests.  

 

It is lovely, comfortable, fully equipped with anything needed for cooking a great meal.   

The menu was focaccia, orecchiette, stuffed eggplants, and pastacciotto , which is the local custard desert.  

   
 Drinking wine 🍷🍷 while we cooked made the whole process even more fun. Chef Gianna is full of great tips and lessons. We made the entire dinner from scratch!! 

  
 

Learning how to make the orecchiette was amazing. We made eggless pasta dough that could be used for any type of pasta. Chef Gianna showed us in detail how to make the pasta.
  

We tried our best to follow Chef Gianna’s instructions. Yes! she did use the pasta we made for dinner. She was gracious and kind to say we did well.  We think we need more practice 😉

The fully hand on experience was very satisfying. We made everything together. Giorgio assured us not to worry about taking notes since he send the precise recipes to all the students. This helped us relax, concentrate and have more fun. 

 

Voilà!!   the finished pasta… it was as delicious as it looks.  What’s remarkable is that time flew by, we had great laughs, and a great meal while learning without any strain or intimidation.  Giorgio and Chef Gianna have this easy going style that makes any level cook feel comfortable.  
While we did only one day, you can customize and book several sessions with Chef Gianna.  Start planning your cooking experience; contact Giorgio for details at cookingexperiencelecce@gmail.com 🇮🇹
 

Spa Salus PerAquam – our respite in Lecce, Italy

Our long time followers know about our Spa addiction. We have been in Spa’s around the world.  See our past blog entries for Maldives, Seattle, Kohler, Thailand, etc…

In Lecce, we have been walking everywhere. When you walk all day long and have fun it’s important to rest and treat your body well. It will pay you back!

Our hotel Risorgimento Resort luckily for us has a lovely spa. It is perfect for after a long day of site seeing and travelling.  We recommend that you book at least a day ahead. 

Our favorite spa expert is Monica Valiani – ask for her by name.  She speaks Italian, English, French, and German.  We had spa services with her for two days and it was simply excellent. 

 

Turkish Bath (Bagno Turco) after a good salt scrub on the entire body transforms your senses and starts the relaxation process. The emotional shower (rain, breeze) with special light therapy completes the whole treatment. We left clean, relaxed, and energized for our dinner party.

 
Next day we returned for facial and the special Cinque Sensi massage created by Monica. She designed this massage based on chackras. We loved it and our faces were radiating after the facial.  If you want a couples massage ask Monica for her signature massage designed for couples. 

The prices are middle range. For a great 50 min massage we paid €80. The Bagno Turco was €20. They have manicures, waxing, and many other facial and body treatments. You can also request something more tailored for your needs. 

The spa is small but tranquil and you can reserve it for privacy. You will be surrounded by unobtrusive service and positive energy.

  

Monica – thank you for awakening our cinque sensi and make our journey even more special! Grazie mille!! 🇮🇹

 

Restaurant Hopping in Lecce – Italy

So, if you find yourself in Lecce and need to eat… you have many choices. Since none will tell you the truth about which restaurants are good or not, we will!!

Avoid rooftop restaurant at Risorgimento Resort hotel. Food is mediocre at best and expensive.  Service was ok. So instead go up there for drinks, desert and the view.  Food was so bad that I actually got sick from it.  We loved the view, but regretted having dinner there. 

 
Take a chance at Nonna Tetti. Cute little restaurant in home cooking style. Food is great, relatively cheap but… ignore the rude staff if you can. Tell yourself you are here just for the food.  The pasta sagne was especially delicious!!  Make sure to order the house starter plates; they are small plates of side dishes like fried eggplants, pickles, beets and other yummies. 

Best place we had dinner at was Blu Notte! Everything we had was fresh, delicious, and memorable. We had pasta, fish, octopus, muscles, and desert. It is not cheap but not too expensive either.  Staff was well trained, friendly and efficient.  You might also get lucky and find a table without reservation, like we did. We recommend that you don’t take the risk and make a reservation.

 
 

Maybe you are wondering about paninis, sweets, and gelato — well, come back another day for our special focus on these dolci!!

Italian Adventure: first stop Brindisi! Lecce!

Our journey started in Stockholm, Skavsta airport. This is the first time we are using this airport and RyanAir.  Skavsta is known for cheap and direct flights to places in Europe.  Since it is cheap go ahead and treat yourself to a Business Plus upgrade!  

We found RyanAir to be basic, entertaining, and efficient. They had food, duty free, and lotto on board. Yes you can indeed play the lottery while flying :)) 
Total flight was three hours long. Went by quickly.  You can imagine our excitement when we saw the land as we approached… we knew out Italian Adventure started!!   

As we travel the Puglia region and other surprise locations, follow us along!! Ciao 🇮🇹 

Polkagris!!!

       Famous traditional hand made candy of granna in Sweden. Such a relaxing and lovely little city.         

      After 150 yeas the polkagris is made almost exactly the same way here you can watch them how they make it professionally live from the window.

        

      Lovely old boxes.

        

      And just few kind of creativeness of different tastes and shapes of polkagrisar!

                              

      Take walk around and enjoy the beauty of old cute buildings and other beauties.

                        

      Worlds biggest cycling race event. Here they go!! These are cyclists of vattern they cycle 300 km around the vattern lake every year 23.000 cyclist joined this competition and it was 50th anniversary celebration.

            

      This hot air ballon is one of the symbols of the Granna.     

      These are old but one of the most fashionable street floors. Hope you enjoyed this short photo tour! 

       

      Loppis at Stockholm (Återvinningsfest=Recycling Fest)

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      Every year the last Sunday of the May Stockholm has this colorful recycling fest. Everyone takes out their hidden trasures to the day ligth. So we took the advantage of being there by sharing some of these treasures with all of you. We met great designers too and share some photos from Stockholms best windows and views.
      Hope you take some time to come by next year to see and maybe find some treasures by yourself…