Renowned as the 'Florence of the South' because of its unique cultural value, Lecce's long history boils down to its contribution to the Baroque world.

Although the settlement's history can be tentatively traced back to the Trojan Wars (under the name of Sybar), the city's true history starts with the Roman conquest in the 3rd century BC, subsequently receiving the name of Lupiae. The settlement would soon be moved a few kilometres northeast and re-named Licea under the reign of Hadrian in the 2nd century AD.

However, prosperity would only come centuries after the Empire's fall with the Norman conquest in the 11th century. This shift in the city's complexion brought about economic and cultural revival, culminating in the 17th century with the erection of precious Baroque monuments. Today, this remains the chief attraction for the visitor in an otherwise tranquil and relaxing Apulian city.


Lecce's historic centre contains a series of buildings so distinctive (due to the sandstone's pink texture) that they are considered examples of barocco leccese. A testament to this is The Church of the Holy Cross. Begun in 1353 but only completed in 1695, its wonderful façade contains fabulous (if somewhat grotesque) statues, a huge rose window and an equally impressive interior.

Elsewhere, amongst the approximately 100 churches located in the city, The Church of St. Irene in the corso Vittorio Emanuele I and The Bishop's Palace are both attractive prospects.

Near the main Piazza del Sant'Oronzo, the 2nd century AD Roman amphitheatre provides a glimpse into Lecce's ancient past. This is supplemented by the Museo Provinciale Castromediano, which contains discoveries from the old Roman town prior to Hadrian's decision to move the city.

Lecce is represented in the football world by U.S. Lecce, recently relegated from Serie A. The team play their games at the Stadio Via del Mare, where tickets are easily acquired.


Although shops are scattered across the city, the main groupings of local craftworks can be found around the Piazza del Sant'Oronzo and the Via Palmieri.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Although lacking a distinctive cuisine, Lecce contains a number of good quality restaurants, particularly down the via SS Giacomo e Filippo. Elsewhere, La Capannina on the via Cavroli is recommended along with the La Puccia chain of local fast food stores (puccia being a type of bread with a number of assorted fillings).

For a quiet night out, why not take a walk through the Piazza del Duomo? If you're looking for something more active, the Piazetta del Duca d'Atena is available for a drink, while the Corto Maltese on the Via Gusti is great for a spot of dancing (helped by the local student population).

Tourist Information

LIAT Tourist OfficePalazzo dei CelestiniVia Umberto I, 13LecceTel: +39 (0)832 683 398infoturismo@provincia.le.it


Lecce is served by Brindisi Casale Airport, located some 39km from the city. As such, the Lecce-Brindisi Regional Transport buses are available, departing every three hours roughly (tickets can be bought from the airport).

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