This shop is heaven for anyone who likes old-fashioned stationery gifts. There are inks of all colours, fountain and quill pens, wax sealing sets, albums, paper theatre toys, globes and piles and piles of notebooks.
The same printed patterns are replicated over many of the items so you could put together a notebook with a contrasting picture frame, for example. I don't believe the items are locally-made as I saw ink with the same label in Venice, but they do make very nice presents. In fact, it seems to be a sister shop to one of the same name in Rome, although as far as I can tell it's not part of some vast chain. Certainly, I've never seen one of these shops before and couldn't find any others.
The owner was quite eccentric (he stalled us a long time asking for our artistic input on his new display...), but helpful, and I thought the prices were fair, with gifts for all budgets. It's a very appealing shop and getting out without spending is difficult, so be warned! Actually, I didn't manage it at all.
What to pay: Smaller hardback notebooks are EUR 11, inks around EUR 3 for a small bottle (various sizes) and pencils around one euro. Among the more economical gifts you can also find pens, photo frames and calendars. At the luxury end, large antique-looking photo albums bound in leather go up to over EUR 100.
Liberrima is reala must for all booklovers visiting Lecce. It's well-stocked with all the latest and classic novels, as well as good selections on travel, languages and the rest. But then most Italian bookshops are great for browsing...
What makes Liberrima special is a better than average range of local-interest books and CDs. And that's really saying something, as you tend to find even the most humble bookshop in Italy will have local histories, cookbooks, etc. Here, there is a whole section with CDs devoted to pizzico, the regional music style, and tables laid out with novels of all genres in Italian and English inspired by the city and tarantism, the religious spider-bite phenomenon that survives in this part of Puglia.
And there are numerous books on Puglian cooking, eating out in the area, guides, histories and more exhaustive academic-type things for those who are taking it all particularly seriously. Including a three-volume dictionary of the local dialect. Mind you, I did see this for sale at the train station, which gives some indication of how proud they are of their culture in this part of the world.
Outside, there are discounted books to peruse. There's a cafe in the small square next to the shop serving Greek-style snacks and light dishes - unconnected to Liberrima, I believe, but a good place to stop and flick through what you've just bought.
What to buy: We came away with a couple of new books as well as an unusual guide called Guide della Lecce Fantastica that has some interesting facts on the city.
What to pay: List price plus some discounts on popular novels