More information and photgraphs of Lecce, Puglia (Apulia), often referred to as the Florence of the South, can be found here in Martha’s Italy Travel Blog
Martha lists her top Lecce Top Sights:
- Piazza del Duomo, or Cathedral Square, is a beautiful square with ornate buildings. Here you’ll find the duomo, Cathedral of the Madonna Assunta, originally built in 1144 and completely restored in 1659-70 when the 70-meter tall bell tower was added. The Bishop’s Palace and Seminary, two Baroque monuments, are also in the square.
- Via Vittorio Emanuale is the main street lined with shops and cafes that runs between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Along the street you’ll find the tourist information office and Church of San Giovanni Battista.
- Roman Amphitheater was built in the second century AD and once held 25,000 spectators. The amphitheater is partially excavated but monuments have been built above most of it. You’ll see the remians near Sant’Oronzo Square where there’s a Roman column topped by a copper statue of Saint Oronzo, the city’s patron saint.
- Church of Santa Chiara, famous for its ceiling with paper mache’ decorations, is a short distance from the amphitheater. Archaeological Museum, open only on weekday mornings, and remains of a Roman theater, discovered in 1929, that once held 6000 spectators are behind Santa Chiara.
- Basilica of Santa Croce, on Via Umberto I, has a richly decorated facade and is considered the emblem of the city. Next to the church is Palazzo Celestini, a former monastery that’s now a government building. Behind it are the municipal gardens.
- Castle of Charles V was built in the 16th century and was the royal residence. Next to it is the Opera House.
- Provincial Museum, on Viale Gallipoli, currently has free admission and houses important finds from the city and the region.