Nicknamed the ‘Florence of the South’ for its wealth of Baroque architecture, Lecce remains one of Italy’s hidden gems. Across the city, you’ll find examples of the region’s former prosperity with huge cathedrals and churches dominating the skyline. The Church of the Holy Cross completed in 1635 is perhaps the best example of Baroque with its gargoyled-facades while other landmark structures include the Lecce Cathedral, the Park Tower and the archaeological remains of a Roman amphitheatre situated nearby to Sant’Oronzo Square.
Lecce has long been one of Italy’s most historic centres with an agricultural history of limestone production dating back to the Trojan War. Home to approximately 95,000 people, the Puglian city possesses a strong Greek heritage which can be traced back to Emperor Hadrian and the Mesopotamians. This heritage has gradually evolved alongside both Norman and modern Italian culture to create the city we know today, famous for producing the Italian football star Antonio Conte, as well as WWl fighter ace, Antonio Amantea.
During your time in Lecce, there’re many different things you can enjoy, from lazy walks around the famous Sant’Oronzo Square to feasting on some traditional Puglian cuisine at restaurants like La Cucina di Mamma Elvira and Alle due Corti. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious Italian treats, including burrata and Pasticciotto – a regional shortcrust dessert filled with vanilla cream. Alternatively, Lecce’s warm climate means it’s suited to day trips to nearby Adriatic towns like Otrento or the Cesine Nature Reserve.