Lecce is the capital of Salento, in Puglia . It is one of the most beautiful cities of art in Southern Italy and it was also nicknamed “the Florence of the South” Lecce is a city that amazed and fascinated thousands of tourists and visitors.
Its style is a mixture of the archaeological remains of the Roman domination and the richness and exuberance of the typically seventeenth-century Baroque of the churches and palaces of the center.
- 1 Walk around the historic center of Lecce
- 2 The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce
- 3 Sant’Oronzo square
- 4 The Castle of Charles V
- 5 The churches of Lecce
- 6 Visit nearby beaches
- 7 Most Instagrammable places in Lecce
Walk around the historic center of Lecce
Your walk will take you to admire the main beauties of Baroque and Roman architecture preserved in the city of Lecce: t he cathedral, the church of Santa Croce, the Roman amphitheater, the Castle of Charles V, and numerous other elegant Baroque buildings.
The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce
Lecce is known for its 17th-century Baroque beauty, but the city’s history stretches back to the Roman empire. You will find this more evidently in Lecce’s Piazza Sant’Oronzo, where the Lecce Roman Amphitheater ( Anfiteatro Romano di Lecce ) from the second century BC is still used today for performances.
Few cities identify so much with their center, but the people of Lecce have a special, almost visceral relationship with the square on which, among other things, stands the statue of the patron saint that gives its name to this space, now back to be the beating heart of the city after the fogging of the 1970s. The Square is the scene of events dedicated to food, wine, music, and entertainment, not just in summer.
The Castle of Charles V
The Castle of Charles V or Castello Carlo V in Italian, is a majestic fortification right in the heart of Lecce. You will find the castle just a few steps from Piazza Sant’Oronzo, it marks the point where the old town and the modern downtown area meet.
Although it has undergone several rebuilds over the centuries, the structure preserves its original trapezoidal base with four massive arrowhead bastions on each corner. An internal courtyard separates two concentric buildings. Dating back to different eras, these testify to the various stages of the Castle’s history.
The churches of Lecce
Lecce is home to an astounding number of churches; there are 22 churches in Lecce, Italy listed on the local tourist map of the historic city center. Found tucked down quiet cobblestone lanes and featured on spacious squares, Lecce churches were designed to impress. We were in awe of the many churches we visited – most of which feature the city’s signature architectural style: Baroque. We are highlighting our favorite Lecce churches – whether for the intricate architecture, decorative interior, or storied past.
The Cathedral of Lecce
Lecce’s Cathedral is a must-see, as much for its setting as the church itself. The Piazza del Duomo is one of Italy’s most beautiful squares, a Baroque masterpiece that makes space seem like a lovely cloister.
The piazza is closed, giving it an intimate feel and highlighting the artistry of the buildings that enclose it. The Episcopal Palace was the archbishop’s regal residence and the Palazzo del Seminario now houses the museum of sacred art, which is worth visiting. Both are beautiful buildings, and the decorative carvings and adornments will enchant you.
The Basilica of Santa Croce
The first glimpse of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce takes your breath away. The church is a gleaming riot of sculptural decoration that resembles a wedding cake. Lecce is called the “Florence of the south,” and this church is the symbol of Lecce’s Baroque splendor that earned it that name.
Started in 1549, it was completed about a hundred years later and used the best master craftsmen in Puglia to achieve its beauty. Incredibly delicate and detailed carvings adorn nearly every inch of the facade, and the interior is rich and airy.
Abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate
The abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate is located on the provincial road that connects the towns of Squinzano and Trepuzzi to Casalabate. The complex of buildings is one of the most significant examples of Romanesque Otranto. It was built in the 12th century and it represents one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture you’ll find in Puglia today.
Other Important Churches of Lecce
When talking about Churches of Lecce, the list goes quite long. Besides the churches that mentioned, you should also consider visiting Church of Saint Irene, Church of Saint Claire, Church of Saint Matthew, Church of San Sebastian, Church of Saint John the Baptist, Church of Saint Mary della Pace, Church of Saint Mary della Porta, Churches of Saints Nicolo and Cataldo, Church of Saint Maria Degli Angeli, Church of Saint Mary of Constantinople, Church of Saint John Benedictine Monastery and Church of Jesus.
Visit nearby beaches
Enjoy the splendid sun of Puglia on the beaches of Gallipoli, Porto Cesareo, Otranto and Lecce during your holidays in Salento!
Gallipoli Beach (Gallipoli)
Pearl of Salento, Gallipoli is one of the most popular and popular beaches on the coast. It looks like a beach several kilometers long of fine and clear sand, lapped by a turquoise sea.
Porto Cesareo beach (Frigole)
The first impression is that of having arrived on a tropical beach, such is the transparency of the water and the whiteness of the sand. The beach of Porto Cesareo has a very shallow seabed and allows you to walk to the Isola dei Conigli which it overlooks.
Santa Cesarea Terme (near Otranto)
The beach takes its name from the sulfurous waters that characterize the numerous caves. Santa Cesarea Terme is mainly rocky, therefore suitable for those who love rocks, the small natural pools that are created, and that encloses a sea with shades of blue and turquoise.
The Maldives of Salento (Santa Maria di Leuca)
The name does not disappoint expectations: the crystal clear sea, the fine white sand really gives the impression of being in the Maldives. The seabed is very shallow, here and there small islets emerge from the clear waters. All around, the dunes covered with tamarisks and acacias frame this paradise.
Torre dell’Orso: the two sisters
Torre d’Orso is located a little closer to Lecce, the region’s treasured baroque gem city.
With its powdery white sands, crystal clear water, and two towering sea cliffs known as the Due Sorelle (two sisters), the beach is one of the region’s most dramatic landscapes.
Most Instagrammable places in Lecce
While being in Lecce, try to get the best memories with you. During summertime, you shouldn’t miss visiting the best beaches in the region. If you will be visiting Lecce out of high-season months, the churches, the castles and other attractions in the city also will make your trip unforgettable. Make sure you shoot some photos while in your journey in if you are looking for places to take Instagram worthy photos, consider the following.
- The Gothic buildings in central Lecce.
- The Amphitheater
- The Maldives of Salento beach
- The two sisters