Following the path leading from Porta San Biagio to the Church of San Matteo our advice is again to walk head in the air, so that you will not miss all the secret treasures carved on the facades of the palaces like the keystone of the archway to the door of the Perrone family. It represents an upside down angel holding a “cuddrura” in his hand, an angel food cake made of sweet bread, used to be eaten at Easter.
There are two folk tales about this palace. The first one relates to the sculpture of the angel. It is said that during Holy Week of 1219 St Francis stopped in Lecce on his way back from Syria, hungry and tired and he knocked on the door of the first house he found. This was the palace of the family de ‘Perroni. But when he asked for some bread, he was turned down. Then a miracle happened: from the kitchen where they were baking the “cuddhrure” , a little angel arrived, who handed to the Saint the ready donut. The second legend linked to the building explains the presence on the facade of a bust of Sant’Oronzo, located in a niche at the side of the first floor balcony. In fact the family who owned the palace, now abandoned and for sale, has always declared to be a direct descendant of the saint.
Strolling about, we arrive in front of the façade of the Church of San Matteo, which is slightly different from the other baroque churches you can see in Lecce and it rather recalls the Roman baroque from Borromini. The best surprise we had , it was from the owner of Ettore, the four -legged companion that Arturo met in the gardens, who had just invited our pet to play with his and us for coffee at his house, located on the main floor of one of the most beautiful buildings in the city: Palazzo Rossi, located right across from the church.
Once inside, we were astonished by the octagonal room frescoed in the Art Nouveau style leading to the magnificent corner balcony adorned with a series of corbels with human and animal figurines. From the balcony we could enjoy a magnificent view of the lavish façade of San Matteo, characterized by a subtle interplay of full and empty, light and shadow spaces.
It’s almost time for an aperitif. We head to La Bottiglieria al 128 (Via Trinchese 128), a wine bar recently opened that usually on Sundays mornings organizes themed events such as the exhibition FFF FALL FOOD FAAD an appointment with photography, art, crafts and design, but before we stop at the historic Raphael Caffè (via Matteo Imbriani 28, +39 0832 397132), where sitting in the small square, we can enjoy a cup of coffee accompanied by the inevitable pasticciotto, this time made with whole wheat.
(Traduzioni di Monia Saponaro)