Lecce, Sea and History Monuments

Lecce is one of the most beautiful city in Puglia. Thanks to its monuments and its baroque historical city centre, it has been mentioned in “The Best in travel 2010” as a city to see and visit .

The baroque style is so spread in Lecce that it is known as “The mistress of baroque” and as “The Florence of the south”. So when you have a walk trough its streets you can admire the marvelous balconies, the churches, the monuments that remind us the XVI century.

There are a lot of things to see in Lecce. If you go across Porta Napoli, you can see the old town with its ancient buildings belonging to the XVIII century. You can also see the Church of Saint Mary of Providence ( Chiesa di Santa Maria della Provvidenza) and in Umberto I street you will find one of the most important and beautiful churches in Lecce, The Church of the Holy Cross ( La Chiesa di Santa Croce).

This church was begun in 1353 but completed only in 1695. Even if its construction lasted so much time, the result was absolutely fantastic. It is decorated with animals, grotesque figures and it has a rose window just in the middle of the façade.

Also the Duomo (cathedral) is worth seeing. It was built in 1144 and a bell tower was added in 1660. The Duomo is the centre of the religious life of the city, but is not the unique place in which you can breath the essential spirit of Religion. Lecce is plenty of churches, such as The Church of San Niccolò and Cataldo ( Chiesa dei santi Niccolo e Cataldo), built in the medieval period and restored in 1716, in which its original elements are mixed with the baroque ones; the church of the Theatines, ( Chiesa di Santa Irene), whose altar of St. Michael Archangel has a copy of the famous painting of the Saint by Guido Reni.

The Roman Amphitheatre , built in the II century a.C., to allow the soldiers to enjoy the shows here represented, has a very historical charm. Because of earthquakes and devastations, the building was completely buried and only after the Second World War it was excavated. Now it is half-buried because historical buildings were built above it during the centuries.

One of the sculpture found in the Amphitheatre was a statue of Athena, now in the Castromediano Museum. Near Oronzo’s square ( Piazza Sant’Oronzo), there is the Castle of Charles V, where leccese cultural life takes place. The hand-made production in Lecce is a must. Wrought iron, terracotta, copper and rush are used to shape different objects. Two materials are also widespread in Lecce , the papier mache and the leccese stone. Each tourist will buy handcrafts in the numerous workshops in the centre of the city. A visit to the permanent exhibition is by far the best way to appreciate these handcrafts made in Lecce .The last Sunday of each month, Bellini square ( Piazza Bellini) hosts the antique exhibition.

Lecce is known also for its cooking. Vegetables and legumes are prepared in every way, especially with Mediterranean spices. They are usually cooked in a terracotta pot, dressed with Italian extra-virgin olive oil and then eaten with freselle, toasted bread. You can also taste the “puccia”, a kind of bread made in Lecce, drinking a glass of good wine, such as Negramaro, Slice salentino e Primitivo di Manduria! Have a nice day in Lecce and bon appetit!