church, cathedral, street

Lecce in Italy: sights and tips for the baroque city

If you want to marvel at the most magnificent baroque buildings in Apulia, you cannot avoid Lecce. The likeable small town of Lecce is considered to be Baroque capital of the region and is sometimes even referred to as the “Florence of the South”.

It’s unique Lecceser Baroque style, which runs like a red thread through the entire old town. Almost all buildings in Lecce’s old town are out hellbeigem Tuffstein built, which gives the city a very special color scheme.

On our road trip through Puglia we stopped for one night in Lecce and were immediately taken with the flair. In this blog article we will show you the most beautiful sights and tell you about ours personal tips for Lecce.

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1. Lecce (Italy): First travel tips at a glance

Worth knowing and exciting facts about Lecce

  • Lecce has around 100,000 residents. The old town is therefore pleasantly manageable and can be explored relatively quickly on foot.
  • Lecce is the largest city on the so-called Salento, that peninsula in the very south of Puglia.
  • Lecce = Baroque! While elsewhere in Puglia you’ll find typical whitewashed houses, Lecce has some of southern Italy’s most magnificent baroque sights awaiting you.
  • It is not for nothing that the Baroque style in Lecce has its own name: Lecceser Barock.
  • Lecce lies not by the sea. However, it is not far to the coast. In about 20 minutes you can reach the sea from Lecce.

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How many days should I plan for Lecce?

Lecce is small but beautiful. The old town is not too extensive. In a few hours you can visit the most important sights, at least from the outside. A day trip is therefore theoretically sufficient for a visit.

We would recommend you on your trip through Puglia 1 to 2 nights to stay in Lecce. We stayed one night ourselves (with enough time on the day of arrival) and found it perfect.

What can’t I miss in Lecce?

For those who want it short and sweet, here is a small best-of list. (Of course, more information about these highlights and sights will follow in the course of the blog article.)

  • The Lecce Cathedral visit and don’t forget to visit the crypt below the cathedral. Wow!
  • The Roman amphitheater admire.
  • The baroque flair enjoy the city and keep looking up.
  • A Pasticciotto Lecce probieren – or better yet several. This pastry filled with a kind of custard cream is typical of Lecce.

2. Sights in Lecce

Piazza del Duomo & Dom von Lecce

The main square in the old town from Lecce is the spacious Piazza del Duomo. As the name suggests, Lecce Cathedral is enthroned here, the most important sacred building and one of the top sights in the city.

The baroque cathedral is already quite impressive from the outside, but you should definitely take a look inside. Our tip: Under no circumstances should you miss the descent down to the Crypt. The portico below the church interior impressed us the most. (Photography is prohibited down here.)

Of course, the cathedral also has a bell tower, the so-called Campanile. An elevator takes you up to the top in no time Observation deck. From up here you can look in all directions and marvel at Lecce from above. Altogether worthwhile, but at 12 euros not exactly a cheap undertaking.

By the way, the Piazza del Duomo is still used by some other impressive sights lined, such as the Palazzo Arcivescovile and the Palazzo del Seminario (= Antico Seminario). The latter not only houses the ticket counter for the cathedral tickets, but also an inner courtyard that is really worth seeing.

Information on visiting Lecce Cathedral

Entry: 6 euros (our tip: combined ticket for several churches 9 euros)
Price elevator bell tower: 12 Euro
Opening hours and further information: Churches of Lecce (official site)

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St. Croix Basilica

The second important church in Lecce is the imposing Basilica of Santa Croce. alone detailed ornate facade This basilica with Renaissance and Baroque elements is a highlight in itself. Several artists contributed to this total work of art. All in all, it probably took a whole century to complete.

We also strongly recommend that you take a look inside the church. We personally have comparatively simple church interior lined with columns liked it very much.

The unusual one is also worth seeing Ceiling of the Basilica of Santa Croce. The carved and gilded wood coffered ceiling dates from the 17th century.

Information on visiting the Basilica of Santa Croce

Entry: 6 euros (our tip: combined ticket for several churches 9 euros)
Opening hours and further information: Churches of Lecce (official site)

Piazza Sant’Oronzo & Roman Amphitheater

If you follow the promenade (“Via Vittorio Emmanuele II”) from the cathedral to the east, you will reach the spacious Piazza Sant’Oronzo. This square is one of the most famous in the center of Lecce and home to several tourist attractions.

On the one hand there is the 29 meter high column called „St. Oronzo Column“. The bronze statue of Saint Oronzo is enthroned at the syringe. He is said to have saved the city from the plague. (Unfortunately, the statue was not in place when we visited, as a duplicate is being made to replace the original statue.)

This is probably the most famous sight on the Piazza Sant’Oronzo Roman amphitheater. Yes, that’s right – an amphitheater in the middle of the city. It dates from the 2nd century and was actually only discovered by chance during excavations at the beginning of the 20th century. You can admire the amphitheater from the outside and also as part of a guided tour view.

Roman Theater (“Teatro Romano”)

How now, another Roman theater? To be honest, we were confused at first too. But in addition to the large amphitheater in Piazza Sant’Oronzo, there is actually something else just a stone’s throw away in Lecce, something hidden Roman theater.

The Roman theater is significantly smaller than the amphitheater, but impresses with one unusual location. It nestles right next to neighboring houses – somehow quite strange, so in the middle of the city.

You can admire and photograph the Roman Theater through a lattice around the clock. If you also want to enter it, a guided tour is necessary.

More sights in Lecce for more time

Historical city gates of Lecce: Also worth seeing are the former gates to the old town of Lecce: Porta San Biagio, Porta Napoli and Porta Rudiae. A detour (especially to the worth seeing Porta San Biagio) is worthwhile.

Castle Charles V: This extensive castle complex was built under Emperor Charles V in the 16th century. The fort is currently (as of autumn 2022) being renovated and can therefore only be visited to a limited extent. There is currently not much to see. The fort houses several exhibitions, about which there are probably divided opinions.

Abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate: This impressive 11th-century abbey is not in Lecce’s old town, but about 20 minutes’ drive away. The detour is definitely worthwhile.

3. Eating and drinking: Culinary tips for Lecce

Lecce is one of the culinary hotspots in Apulia known, so you will find a fairly wide range of great, authentic restaurants here.

A specialty not to be missed is Pasticciotto Leccese. This shortcrust pastry filled with custard cream is typical of the region and available in almost all cafés in the city – usually in different flavors.

Also very popular Coffee from Lecce. Here you get an espresso on ice with almond milk. Tastes wonderfully refreshing on hot days.

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Cafes and restaurants in Lecce

Vico del Cuciniere: High quality Italian-Mediterranean cuisine is served in this restaurant. Meat and fish predominate, but on request the young chef prepared two excellent vegetarian dishes for us. The restaurant is in a quiet side street. When the weather is nice, you can sit outside in front of the restaurant.

Breeding: Popular, young restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere. Italian cuisine is served, partly with a modern interpretation – eg bruschetta, burgers and salads.

Pizza & Co: Here’s a tip for all pizza fans. (Please don’t let the name confuse you.) This little place around the corner from the cathedral serves excellent pizza.

Christmas pastry: This popular pasticceria not only serves very good ice cream, but also Italian dolci such as the famous pasticciotti leccesi.

4. Map: All sights and tips at a glance

To give you a better overview, we have marked all the sights and tips on this map. Our tip: It is best to click on the rectangle at the top right to save the map on your smartphone (Google Maps app).

5. Our accommodation tip for Lecce

For our night in Lecce we chose the Palazzo Bignamia family-run Bed & Breakfast. You spend the night here very close to the city centre: it is only a ten-minute walk to the cathedral. Nevertheless, the palazzo is located in an easily accessible street, so that the journey is uncomplicated. the park Incidentally, this is possible free of charge directly on the street.

Back to Palazzo Bignami. There are only ten in total Zimmer in different categories. You all are lovely decorated. The bed “sprung” us personally a little too much, but that’s really whining on a high level. Overall, you feel very, very welcome – which is also due to the extremely courteous host couple.

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A special The highlight is the breakfast. In Italy we always lower our expectations. But here we were actually taught better. A fantastic buffet with many local products is served – cheese, fresh fruit, delicious foccacia, the best cakes and, and, and.

Our conclusion: Great value for money. Very friendly and helpful owners and an excellent breakfast. We would book again!

Here you can book the accommodation: Palazzo Bignami

Transparency: Affiliate links

This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

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