Lecce Travel Guide

Towns and cities in Puglia

Lecce Travel Guide

Lecce, often referred to as the 'Florence of the South' in Puglia’s Salento region, is built in the local soft creamy limestone with dazzling architectural surprises around every corner. The city is a minor Baroque masterpiece, where every street and piazza tells a story. With its blend of historical richness, architectural beauty, and vibrant daily life, Lecce is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Puglia.

Lecce Travel Guide

About the area

Lecce, Puglia

Situated in the heart of Italy's Salento peninsula, Lecce is more than just Puglia’s cultural heart—it's a city where history is alive in the ornate churches, grand piazzas, and ancient ruins. Lecce's strategic location made it a significant port in Roman times, a legacy that can still be explored through its well-preserved amphitheatre and the remnants of Roman roads. The city's economic life thrives on its traditional industries such as olive oil, wine, and ceramics, keeping the artisan spirit of Lecce vibrant and visible.

Lecce Travel Guide

Things to do in Lecce

Things to do in Lecce
  • Admire the Church of Saints Niccolo’ and Cataldo: The Church of Saints Niccolo’ and Cataldo is a fascinating Norman church built by King Tancred of Sicily in 1180. The façade was significantly embellished with statues and other decorative art in the early 1700s, but the impressive original portal fortunately remained. The result is a fascinating mix of Norman austerity and Italian Baroque.
  • Visit the Basilica di Santa Croce: The Basilica di Santa Croce has one of the finest and most intricate Baroque facades in Italy. The level of detail is quite stunning and the evident perfectionism of its creators most probably contributed to the building's exceptionally long period of gestation: it took over 200 years to complete before it was finally opened for worship in 1695.
  • Explore the Roman amphitheatre: Under the gaze of Saint Oronzo's statue is Lecce's Roman amphitheatre, built in Lecce the end of the 2nd Century BC. A series of earthquakes, bombardments and unfortunate town-planning initiatives meant that it remained buried and forgotten until after the 2nd World War, when excavations began. About two thirds of the arena were uncovered and archaeologists have calculated that it would have measure some 100x80m with a capacity of around 25,000 spectators.
  • Stroll through Il Castello di Carlo V: Tour this imposing castle built by Charles V, which now hosts various cultural and artistic events, and enjoy the beautifully decorated interiors and central courtyard.
  • Relax in the Piazza del Duomo: Spend time in one of Lecce’s most beautiful squares, surrounded by historic buildings and lively cafes, perfect for people-watching and enjoying the local atmosphere. The Duomo itself was built originally in 1144 but in the mid-17th century it was given a facelift and a 70m-high bell tower was added for good measure.
  • Discover local flavors and crafts: A quintessentially southern Italian town, bursting with piazzas and palazzi, Lecce's old town centre is a wonderful setting for the strolling visitor. Cafés, bars and restaurants flank the streets offering refreshments and front-row seats from which to observe the comings and goings of the locals as they go about their daily business. And don't miss out on shopping for authentic handmade ceramics—a perfect memento of your trip.
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