Booking.com: best prices
Specchia is a charming village set on a small hill and surrounded by olive groves. The village is inland in the Lecce province of the 'heel' of Italy and is halfway between the Adriatic and Ionian sea.
Wandering through the narrow lanes of the village and exploring the various palazzos and churches is a pleasure and many streets in the village have views over the surrounding countryside.
Specchia is considered to be one of Italy's "most beautiful villages" and in 2007 it was awarded the EDEN award (European Destination of Excellence) for best emerging, rural destination.
The area around the Piazza del Popola and the Palazzo Risola is the most attractive. The Palazzo Risola has medieval origins but todays castle was built in the 15th to 18th centuries following the destruction of much of the town in the early 15th century during battles to conquer the Kingdom of Naples. The Palazzo Risola has an imposing square tower and an attractive stone balcony.
Another of the main buildings is the Church of the Virgin Mary which dates back to the 15th century but has been extensively altered since. Its pretty, square belltower was built in 1945 as the original belltower became unsafe.
The oldest churches are the 10th century Saint Euphemia and the 11th century church of Nicholas of Myra.
The 17th century Palazzo Rico is another building to look out for. Its attractive arched gallery topped by a large balcony area is a late addition which was allowed to be built over the pavement on condition that the area underneath remains available as a public gathering space!
The village has done much to smarten itself up in recent years and all telephone and electricity cables have been buried and the paving restored to its 19th century glory. As part of the town's restoration work some underground oil mills, once used in the production of olive oil, have been restored and can be visited. Go to the tourist office to organise a guided visit.