The beautiful sandstone town of Lecce is also called "The Florence of the south.” The rich architecture, beautiful historical center, and unique sights definitely make it a must-see town. Lecce is the perfect starting point for exploring the Salento peninsula due to its central location and proximity to two seas. Even though the city has only about 95 000 inhabitants, it has countless restaurant and café options, which make it easy to try all the local delicacies. Even though the sandstone town is quite diverse and offers something for everyone, it will particularly fascinate the history and architecture lovers with unique and amazingly well-preserved sights.
For many years one of the most famous sights of Lecce was under construction. In summer 2019 the construction works finally finished and now Basilica di Santa Croce has regained its former splendor. The baroque church was initially built in 1695. The richly decorated facade immediately catches the attention of everyone who passes. On the outside, you can see six smooth columns supporting an entablature, with figures, animals, statues, and a large rose window.
Just a few walking minutes from the impressive Basilica another historical gem is waiting to be explored: the castle of Charles V. Originally built in the middle ages it is now a major attraction for history enthusiasts. You can decide to wander through the ancient walls by yourself, book a guided tour, or visit one of the many exhibitions that are taking place there throughout the year.
The three ancient city gates are marking the entrance to the historical center of Lecce. Porto Rudiae is the oldest one and was built in the 15th century. While all the gates are impressively decorated, Porta Napoli is probably the most imposing one. It is a giant standing city gate surrounded by an alley of trees. All of them can be found in walking distance from each other and can easily be visited while strolling through the city.
The roman amphitheater at Piazza Sant Oronzo is the heart of the historical center of Lecce. It is located in the main square. It remained hidden until construction workers incidentally discovered it in 1901. It was built in the 2nd century CE when Lecce was just a tiny village. It is already amazing to see it from the top but to enter it you have to book a guided tour. During the warmer months sometimes concerts and special events take place there.
One of the most important and most impressive sights in Lecce is Piazza Duomo. The square is surrounded by majestical architecture. The main sight of the square is the Lecce Cathedral with a 72-meter-high bell tower. All the buildings are illuminated, so don’t miss visiting this fantastic spot at night.
When hunting down sights in Lecce, you should definitely take time to just get lost in the streets of the historical center. It is a huge pedestrian zone with many charming buildings, cafès and the typical dolce vita flair.
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