The historical centre of
San Donato of Lecce is famous for its typical case a corte and its noble
palaces as the
Baronial Palace, that was built in the XVIII century on a pre-existing fortress.
It was first used as a system of defence, but later it became a real well
decorate palace. The other most interesting palaces are Conte Palace and
Costantini Palace, both dating back to the XIX century. The Mother Church is
dedicated to St. Donato, and it was built in the XVIII century, on a
pre-existing religious monument. There are a beautiful richly decorated front
door and two niches, containing the statues of the Madonna and of the Saint. In
the upper part you can see a big window and other decorations. Inside you can
admire some elegant altars and paintings representing holy images. Since 1991,
the organization called "Amici del Presepe" have been preparing a very
suggestive living manger at Christmas. The patron of this small town is St.
Donato, that is celebrated solemnly on 14th and 28th August.
The nickname of the
inhabitants of St. Donato di Lecce is "cucummeri" that literally means
nickname is used to mean naïve and foolish people and it is closely connected to
a popular anecdote according to which, once, during the feast of the patron the
population were waiting for the arrival of important ecclesiastical
authorities. Unfortunately something happened: the clapper of the bell broke
down. Some men began to beat against the bell with some cucumbers trying to
reproduce the same sound of the original one but without any success.