Pealing paint and layers of legend in Nardò
The pronunciation of the name alone with a deep back tongue vowel at the end brings back memories of sharp sunshine, shimmering heat, narrow labyrinthine streets, decorously peeling paint, decaying palaces and secret backyards where lemons drop from the trees.
Ancient Egyptians and the story of a bull
There are several legends pertaining to the origins of the city which dates back to the seventh century BC. One says the town was founded by colonialists from the Greek island Lefkada. Another legend based on the representation of the Sun god in the city’s coat of arms claims the Egyptians came here first. And finally there’s a story about a bull indicating the location for settlement by scraping its hoof in the ground and finding a well of water. Whatever is true, history adds multiple layers to the fabric of modern life for the 32 000 inhabitants, and I make believe I can spot some of these layers when walking around the city.
Around Piazza Salandra
Nardò offers a few, slightly obscure (in the sense mostly closed) museums but the main attractions are the religious buildings and monuments in the ingenious Baroque Leccese style and the captivating rural sophisticated atmosphere found eg. around the beautiful Piazza Salandra, where the fountain of the bull can be found. And that’s basically it for the more formal Nardò sights