Posted by: lizlitzow | August 18, 2010

Lecce – Puglia’s Baroque Pearl

If you are fortunate enough to visit this lovely city (and this we were able to do once the snow began to melt) you will be impressed by the lavish decorations on its facades. The local sandstone is tinged a warm pink. More than the architects, it was the local stone masons who left their mark on this city. They decorated the buildings with cherubs, monsters, flowers, fruits, beauties and beasts. Very far away, off the beaten track for most of Italy’s art-loving visitors, Lecce is positioned on the southeastern tip of Italy’s boot.

Lecce was first a Greek city, then a Roman town so we began our walk at piazza Sant’Oronzo. Walk a few metres to the church of Santa Croce with its baroque facade. Adjacent to the church is the Palazzo del Governo (town hall) and if you step back and look down the whole block-long complex you can really appreciate the decorations. On the other side of the church is the Celestine monastery, which is more restrained.

The Cathedral in Lecce

A walk through the quiet streets of the old town under wrought iron balustrades, curved whitewashed arches and soft amber street lamps you will find something to admire on almost every building. The Palazzo del Vescovado (Bishop’s Palace) and the adjacent Palazzo del Seminario (seminary) complete one of the lovliest piazzas in Europe. A walk into the seminary’s courtyard and you will see the delightful little wellhead and its two angelic guardians.

A stroll down via Palmieri you will be able to watch artisans working the local sandstone in their shops.  Via Rubichi is a great place to find the local crafts and next door is a wine shop selling excellent Salento wines.

A narrow street in Lecce

After all this walking, you’ll probably want to try some of the great local food. We suggest you stop in at Villa della Monica for some delicious local fare.

Old amphitheatre in Lecce

We thoroughly enjoyed our day spent in Lecce and would have liked to come back, but time was short having spent 3 days enforced stay (though fun) in Ostuni. As our son said “How often would you see snow down almost to the beach and palm trees totally covered in snow?”


  1. I love the stuff you discover when missing a plane or finding yourself not quite able to make it to your destination on a well planned road trip (or in this case, being snowed in!). You have painted such a wonderful picture with this & your last post to make me really want to travel to Lecce.
    Cheers Anna

  2. Lovely looking place-the streets are quite empty in the pics. Was it generally quiet?

    • Yes it was cos of the unseasonal weather ie snow for the first time in some 30 years ….. Just our luck !!!

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Wow, I’m really loving this! I need to go there! Great blog, and great info!

    • Thank you for your comments. We hope you keep reading. I will be back in Italy soon, so there will be lots more Italian stories.

    • Thank you – yes it was a most interesting city and different to those of the north of Italy.

  4. I haven’t been to Puglia yet but we hope to take an extended tour through there and Calabria at some point. I’ve always wanted to visit Lecce.

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