Photo © www.brucomeladesign.it
Lecce has been dubbed the Florence of the south. Whereas many people (not understandably) skip it in favor of the nearby beach towns of the Salento peninsula, this city, distinguished by its elaborate style of baroque buildings, has at least a couple of days of attractions worth seeing.
To Get there by plane
Lecce is easily accessible by the airports in Brindisi (30 minutes by train) and Bari (2hours by train). There are discount flights available from London, Rome, Milan, etc. For a complete list, check out the Apulian airports website
To Get there by train
There are FS trains from Foggia, Turin, Rome, Naples, Venice and Milan. You can also reach Lecce by Eurostar train from Bologna through Rimini and Bari. Travel times from Rome and beyond can be long, and night trains with sleeping couches are also available.
The trains arrive at the Porta Napoli station, 1km from the city center. Be aware that taxis to the center can be expensive (expect to pay up to 15 euros, especially if you have luggage items), so you may want to check with your hotel the public transportation options available.
Cathedral – Photo © Valentina Paggiarin
- Piazza S. Oronzo – Situated in the heart of the city and named after the patron saint’s statue erect in 1666 after the population had defeated the plague which had broken out ten years before.
- Cathedral – A wonderful example of baroque style, most of the cathedral was designed by G.Zimbalo, the most celebrated architect of that time. He also designed the five floor belfry (1682).
- Porta Napoli – Also know as Arch of Triumph, it was erected in 1548 to pay homepage to Charles V and thank him for having fortified the town. Twenty meters tall, the arch is situated in a square named after it, where S.Giusto once was.
- The Obelisk – Was erected in 1822 thanks to Vito Carluccio at the time when Ferdinando I Borbone came to visit the town.
Lecce – Photo © Luciana Coletti -*Elle*
- Paisiello Theatre – Once the permanent theatre of the town. Founded in 1758 and rebuilt in 1870, it was opened with the performance of Giuseppe Verdi’ s ‘Un ballo in maschera”. Because of its rich decorations, this theatre – which can only contain 320 spectators – is nicknamed “The wedding souvenir”.
- The Holy Cross Church – Is a symbol of the baroque style in Lecce built in 1646, thanks to three well-know architects – Gabriele Riccardi, who devoted himself to the general plan and the lower part of the facade; Francesco Antonio Zimbalo who made the twin column porch and the portal aside; Cesare Penna who conceived the high level of the facade. The big Romanesque central rose window, the rich frame, the four columns, and the niches as well as the telamons, the imaginary creatures, the animals, the mythological and historical characters of the facade are all what makes this church unique and renowned over the world.
Where to stay in Lecce
There are hotels, apartments, villas and B&Bs available, check it out and make a reservation here.