Lecce, city of 95,116 inhabitants and the capital city of the province of Apulia, Italy, is located in north-central plains of Salento, a region also known as Tavoliere di Lecce, halfway between the Adriatic coast, at just 11 km distance, and the Ionian 23 km away.
According to the legend, a messapican city named Sybar existed before the Trojan War. After the advent of the people of Japigi and the conquest of the Romans, occurred in the third century, its name was changed in Latin with Lupiae and the city was transformed from a military station into municipium affiliated to Rome.
Lecce today is primarily a city of art and culture and in 2010 was listed as "Best in Travel 2010" together with the city of Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Singapore and Kyoto, selected among 5,000 cities for the beauty of its monuments and of its historical center, World Heritage Site, which earned her the nickname of the Florence of South Italy.
What to see
Lecce, also called Lady of the Baroque, is so rich in valuable monuments of art and architecture, which is difficult to think you can list them and describe them all.
Worth mentioning is primarily the Old Town: You may enter from entrance Porta Napoli and along the way you will meet the Churches of St. Mary of Providence and Santa Maria of Constantinople, Palazzo Adorno, dating back to year ‘500, and the Basilica of Santa Croce, the symbol of the baroque Lecce and built between 1549 and 1695.
Proceeding along the Old Town, you arrive in Piazza Oronzo, the elegant lounge of the city, occupied by the remains the Roman Amphitheatre, dating from the I-II century AD and brought to light in the early ‘900. Remaining in Piazza S. Oronzo, there is a Columnof St.Oronzo, 29 meters high and built in the late twelfth century by using the drums in cipolin African marble of one of two Roman columns belonging to the Via Appia in Brindisi, and Sedile Palace, built in 1592, former Town Hall.
Near Piazza Sant'Oronzo is the Castle of Charles V, built in 1539 following the demolition of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity and the Monastery of Santa Croce Celestino, which gives its name to two bastions of the fort, and want to prevent the Turkish invasion. Besides the important structure, the fort contains furniture of a particular artistic importance. Is also extremely charming is Piazza Duomo, one of the few existing examples of closed squares with dominant Baroque features, within which stands the Duomo, among the most beautiful in Italy, built for the first time in 1144, the Bell and Bishop's Palaces and the Seminary.
Some main examples of military architecture, are also worth mentioning the Medieval Tower Belloluogo, built in the fourteenth century and its surrounded by the original moat full of water, and the Park Tower, built in 1419 by the young hands of the 18 year old Giovanni Antonio Leap of Orsini, Prince of Taranto, and today one of the greatest examples of medieval and Renaissance past of the city.
Other churches worth mentioning are the Church of Saints and Nocolò and Cataldo, of medieval origin, the Abbey of Santa Maria with Cerrate and beside it also the charming Renaissance Well, the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista and the Church of Santa Maria della Grazia, with an artistic greek imprint.
- August 24 to 26 - Festival in Honor of S. Oronzo and Fair St. Oronzo
- December 13 to 24 - Exhibition of Cribs and Puppets