What to see in Lecce: 10 places not to be missed

In this article, we will introduce you to the 10 places we think you cannot do without visiting the beautiful city of Lecce!

In the appellation “Lady of Baroque”, as it is called by art experts, lies the magic of a city unlike any other in Apulia. There are so many places of interest that Lecce offers its visitors that one day is certainly not enough to discover them all.

Instead, a weekend is perfect to admire the main sights of the capital of Salento, and then visit the other beauties of the Salento region, including mediaeval villages, spectacular natural caves and incredible beaches.

What to visit in Lecce

If it is true that all roads lead to Rome, it is equally true that during a stay in Lecce all roads lead to Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s patron saint and main meeting point for residents and tourists alike.

So the question is: what to visit in Lecce, or rather where to start?

Cosa vedere a lecce - Piazza Sant'Oronzo

For a 48-hour walking tour, Piazza Sant’Oronzo is the ideal place to start. A number of important sights are already located here, including the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, the Sedile (also known as the Palazzo del Seggio) and the churches of Santa Maria delle Grazie and San Marco.

In the centre of the square stands the column of the patron saint. The second stop is the Castle of Charles V, the fortress built by the Habsburg emperor to defend the territory from Turkish invasions. Mission accomplished. For the past ten years, the castle has housed the Papier Maché Museum.

Cosa vedere a lecce - Castello di Carlo V

The visit to Lecce continues with one of the city’s symbols: the Basilica of Santa Croce, famous throughout Italy for best describing the artistic current of Lecce Baroque. 

Cosa vedere a Lecce - Basilica di Santa Croce

Not far from here is Piazza Duomo where the beautiful Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta and Sant’ Oronzo stands, the second most important in Lecce. The city owes its famous square to the three proponents of Lecce Baroque, local architects Giuseppe Cino, Mauro Manieri and Giuseppe Zimbalo. The fascinating bell tower also stands here. From there you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city via a recently installed panoramic lift.

Cosa vedere a Lecce - Piazza Duomo

 

The other two points of interest not to be missed during a weekend in Lecce are the Church of San Nicolò dei Greci (near the Basilica of Santa Croce) and the remains of the Roman Theatre.

The main attraction of the city of Lecce is the Baroque, of which the city is one of the highest examples nationwide.

Santa Croce represents the highest expression of Salento’s Baroque art: the Basilica, built starting in 1548 but only completed in 1695, stands in the heart of the city and is one of the symbols of local identity.

Palazzo dei Celestini is part of the same complex that incorporates the basilica, was built at the same time as it and in the same style, and with the basilica constitutes a site of interest that fully embodies the style of the period and the urban centre of Lecce.

Cosa vedere a Lecce - Palazzo dei Celestini

The centre of the old town of Lecce is full of monuments, especially religious ones, from the Church of San Matteo to that of Sant’Irene, passing by the splendid Duomo di Lecce and its adjoining bell tower, all enclosed in an area of just a few square metres and capable of displaying in all its splendour the virtuosity of the artists who have succeeded one another throughout history.

Piazza Mazzini, Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Via Trinchese are the main points of Lecce’s social life, along which various pubs, shops, hotels and much more are to be found in abundance. Lecce is a city of art, culture and continuous stimulation.

Tip for visiting Lecce

If you want to see the major points of interest in Lecce, you can purchase the “LeccEcclesiae routeticket on the Chieselecce.it website, which will allow you to visit the Duomo, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Churches of Santa Chiara and San Matteo, and the Museum of Sacred Art. You will also find several shopping solutions for other sights in Lecce.

What to do in Lecce

A few metres from Piazza Sant’Oronzo is Bar Avio, considered an authentic pagan temple by locals. Its specialities are the caffé in ghiaccio and the espressino freddi. Also recommended is a tasty stop at the Franchini pastry shop to sample the exquisite pasticciotto.

Another essential stop is the Sigismondo Castromediano Museum, inside which you can better understand the history of Lecce and the entire Apulia region. The building is named after the duke who commissioned the work in the second half of the 19th century.

Cosa vedere a Lecce - Museo Sigismondo Castromediano

What to see in Lecce – Sigismondo Castromediano Museum

Finally, we recommend visiting Lecce during the month of May so as not to miss the Cortili Aperti (Open Courtyards), an event organised by the Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane (ADSI) during which private buildings of great historical and artistic interest are opened to the public. 

There would be so much more to write about because there are so many things to see in Lecce and especially in its surroundings there are unique wonders.

Tourism in Salento is growing year by year, in contrast to national surveys that show a general decline throughout Italy.

Much of Salento’s success is due to its enchanting coastline, which – on both the Adriatic and Ionian sides – attracts both Italian and foreign visitors.

Are you looking for a structure in Salento? Browse our categories!

Team HDSalento

Team HDSalento

Articles by the HDSalento team

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