Lecce, Italy Restaurant

Il Simposio, a happening norcineria

A norcineria is, literally, "a place that fixes pork in the classic style of Norcia," the Umbrian town whose name, if you are an Italian, practically oinks. At Il Simposio, a happening norcineria in the fashion-mad city of Lecce (one of the provincial capitals of Apulia, down south in the heel of Italy's boot), the tableau that greets you feels slightly medieval. The arched dining room is carved out of the same warm sandstone as the rest of the centuries-old city center, floored with the smooth cobblestones ubiquitous on the narrow streets of southern Italian towns, and lit by flickering candles on a huge wrought-iron chandelier. But the rest of the room's art-glass fixtures are resolutely up to the minute, and so is the crowd, which, with its tattoos, goatees, and cell phones, might have been bused in from New York's TriBeCa.

These days, the now-prosperous province—which gives the nation an amazing two-thirds of its olive oil and is also flourishing with tourism—has gone meat crazy. At Il Simposio you can have your pork stuffed into a sandwich or folded inside a tortillalike round called a piadina, slathered with olive tapenade or with a tart and pungent artichoke cream. But the pride of the place is its bevy of prosciuttos, the cured Italian ham—everything from the classic cinghiale (wild boar) to the very now struzzo (ostrich). It comes draped on wooden platters, inside sandwiches, atop grilled bruschetta spread with soft cheese, or served with salads in bowls made of bread. $40. 7 Via dei Verardi, Lecce, Italy 73100; 39-0832-277819.