Baroque Lecce


One of the reasons why Lecce was founded a few kilometres far from the Murge Salentine is the presence of a particular kind of sandstone, that you can find only in the surroundings, the so-called “Pietra Leccese”. This stone, warm-coloured and solid, was very suitable to build pillars, beams and vaults. Almost every church or building in Lecce has kept, in its subsoil, the hole derived from the excavation  made to extract the building stone. Often this holes were used as natural tanks where people kept water, olive oil or grain. Besides, the “pietra leccese” is very ductile and this is a reason why skilled stonemasons have easily decorated monuments and churches whose magnificence is still visible today.

Porta San Biagio

Architects and stonemasons at that time were strongly influenced by populations coming from far countries, since the Salento was a crossroads in the Mediterranean basin, thanks to its important harbours in San Cataldo, Otranto and Gallipoli.

Lecce has got monuments that witness art from Medieval to Baroque , and this is the reason why it is defined as “Southern Florence”.

Castello di Carlo V

Starting from the City Walls, you can see at the Northern entrance of the town, you can visit the old city centre, with its several artisan workshops, where real masters make their sculptures using pietra leccese, clay or papier-mache.

The historic city centre, with its Baroque architectural style, is demarcated by its three monumental gates: Porta Napoli, Porta San Biagio, Porta Rudiae.

A guided tour will allow you to plunge into the secrets and the history of the town and to know its articulated monuments as Piazza del Duomo, with its Cathedral, its majestic Bell Tower, its Archbishop’s Palace.

Having a walk in Lecce means being constantly surprised because of its corners that give you wonderful sceneries you’ll keep in your memories forever; because of its seventeenth century buildings, its churches and monuments, its little squares surrounded by houses in Art Nouveau style.

The Castle Charles V is an important historical witness. It was built between 1539 and 1549 by the Emperor Charles V of Hapsburg. He wanted to build a new fortress, instead of the old Medieval one, following the updated techniques of military architecture.

Sono oltre 40 le chiese antiche disseminate nella città, quasi tutte in stile Barocco. Di eccelsa bellezza la Basilica di Santa Croce, la Basilica di San Giovanni Battista al Rosario e le chiese di San Matteo, Sant’Irene e Santa Chiara.

There are more than forty ancient churches all around the town and they are almost all Baroques. Basilica di Santa Croce, Basilica di San Giovanni Battista al Rosario, the churches of San Matteo, Sant’Irene, Santa Chiara are incredibly beautiful.

The Square, oval shaped, has at its centre  a mosaic with the town emblem: a She-wolf in an alert position, under an uprooted holm-oak with golden acorn, with a crown made of five towers on it.

Una curiosità da conoscere su Lecce è che la città si è sviluppata al di sopra di un fiume sotterraneo denominato Idume, antica fonte di acqua potabile da cui attingevano gli antichi. La leggenda vuole che tale fiume sotterraneo attraversi tutto il centro storico di Lecce per poi raggiungere in superficie il mare Adriatico in prossimità della marina di Torre Chianca.

Lecce è una città splendida che vi sorprenderà per la sua storia, per le sue origini leggendarie, per la bellezza dei suoi monumenti, per il colore caldo della sua pietra. La perla del Salento è uno scrigno di emozioni! La calda atmosfera leccese e la sua eleganza artistica ed architettonica vi riempiranno il cuore e l’anima, facendovi innamorare perdutamente di questa meravigliosa città. La città è una meta valida in ogni periodo dell’anno ed è una destinazione ideale da aggiungere al tour del Salento.