Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 2, 2019

Lecce, Pearl of Puglia

Lecce is often called the Florence of the south. It is nothing like Florence and doesn’t need to be. It is a delightful city with its own character and beauty.

This was our introduction to the city. It also happened to be our hotel…click Here for more.

After checking in we walked along Via don Minzoni to a park that has been a popular place for the people of Lecce to wander since the Middle Ages. It has had many renovations.

We entered the historical centre via Porta San Biagio. It is one of the original gateways to the city, rebuilt in 1774 and decorated with the coat of arms of the Bourbons and a statue of Santo Biagio on top.

On entering the centro storico were immediately surrounded by stunning baroque architecture.



We came upon Chiesa di S Matteo from the 17th century.

Not far away we caught a glimpse of the campanile of the Duomo of Lecce. It is almost 70 metres tall and was constructed between 1661 and 1682 by Giuseppe Zimbalo.

Around the corner we entered the enormous Piazza Duomo in front of the church. Entry is via the propylaea, or monumental gate.

Even though the piazza is huge I had to stand in one of the far corners to be far enough back to capture the whole church. The first version of the cathedral was built in 1144 and rebuilt in 1230 by bishop Volturio and again for bishop Pappacoda, by Guiseppe Zimbalo in 1659-1670.

On the way to the Roman Anfiteatro I was impressed by a group of houses behind a little square with a statue of Fanfulla from Lodi, an Italian commander.

I love the way ancient buildings are brought into the current era without losing anything of their character.

The Roman Amphitheatre was built in the Augustan era, 1st century AD. It was accidentally discovered in 1901. It is partly built in tufa and partly brickwork. Statues recovered during excavation are now in the Museo S. Castromediano.

There are many churches in Lecce.


Stunning architecture and baroque decoration is everywhere.


The shopping in Lecce is diverse and excellent and there are inviting cafes all over town.

Our favourite shop was this one, Valentina, just around the corner from the Duomo.

Here we met the delightful and charming Benvenuto.

He offered us a taste of his delicious dried figs stuffed with almonds, a speciality of the city and the very best dried figs I have ever tasted.

He also pointed out his letter from the Vatican.

Our favourite meal was at Volo, a very stylish restaurant.

Lecce was the highlight of our Puglia trip and one of the few places I would return to. The weather was awful, but we were able to duck in and out of the rain to see some of the wonderful buildings, eat and shop. We had one afternoon of sunshine when most of these photos were taken.

There is a lot more to discover in Lecce. We didn’t get it visit the museums and there are dozens of them. Don’t miss Lecce if you go to Puglia!


  1. Thanks for the Virtual stroll!

    • My pleasure!

      • I did visit Lecce some 6 or so years ago, but only very briefly, so it was good to see your images’

  2. Because I’ve never been to Puglia, your series was been a positive eyeopener.

    • Lecce is particularly lovely. We enjoyed our stay there.

  3. Wow…although I have always wanted to visit the areas of Tuscany and Umbria, I think that perhaps Puglia should be on that list as well 🙂 Looks gorgeous as well!

    • Lecce is well worth a visit.

  4. Stunning! Worth revisiting.

    • There is a lot to see in Puglia.

  5. What an amazing place!! Youcertainly captured the Pearls of Puglia in your photos. I’d love to visit there one day. Xx

    • Lecce is a stunning city, well worth a visit.

  6. Lovely photos Deb. I think on our next visit to Italy we will have to spread our wings and travel a little further afield.

    • There is much to discover in Italy.

  7. The first time I learned about Lecce was in secondary school more than twenty years ago when I was still watching the Italian Serie A soccer league — the city’s eponymous football club was doing relatively okay back then. It’s often overlooked by visitors to Italy who usually put Rome, Florence, or Venice in their itinerary. From your photos it looks like Lecce is worth a visit, and I guess when you were there you didn’t see too many other tourists?

    • We visited in May, before the tourist season. The town was busy, but not uncomfortably so. The weather was awful as it was for much of our Puglia visit, but at least in a city there is plenty to see and do. Lecce was difinitely my favourite place in Puglia.

  8. One day I hope to visit there. It looks absolutely gorgeous! 😀 I’ve heard of Lecca food, especially their olives and olive oil.

  9. Lovely description of Lecce, a city I visit regularly. Fabulous photos to match.

    • Lecce was my favourite place in Puglia. I love it! There is so much to see and it is gorgeous…even in ordinary weather.

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