Lecce, Italy: The Florence Of The South

Lecce, also known as the Florence of the south, is the main city on Salento Peninsula, in Puglia region. The town is built of a stone that glints gold, honey and cream in the sunlight, and this is a local material that is perfect for sculpting and building.  Due to the presence of the soft limestone, which is easy to work on, this city became the major center for Barocco Leccese, the ornate architecture.

The city is also popular for its traditional handicrafts, such as the art of paper mache. The historic center can be explored easily on foot.

A Little Bit of History

Legend says that at the time of the Trojan War a city called Sybar was founded by an Italic tribe. Later it was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC and was named Lupiae.

Basilica Santa Croce, Lecce, Italy - This is a Baroque church in the city of Lecce. Its architecture and interior are magnificent and a true piece of art that you should not miss if you are visiting Puglia region.Santa Croce Basilica in Lecce

In 2 AD, this city was moved 3 km/1.9 miles from its original site by Emperor Hadrian, who named it Licea or Litium.

Sant’Oronzo was the first Christian bishop and patron saint of Lecce. After the fall of the Roman Empire, this city was conquered by the Byzantines in 549 and then it was ruled by the Saracens, Lombards, Hungarians and Slavs successively.

Piazza del Duomo, Lecce, Italy - This is a square where Lecce Cathedral, (or Duomo di Lecce) proudly stands and a great place to experience true atmosphere of the city. It is the historic center of the city and one of the attractions worth your visit.Piazza del Duomo in Lecce

Lecce gained commercial importance after the Norman conquest in the 11th century. It was annexed to the Kingdom of Sicily from 1053 -1463. It became an important Italian city in the 15th century.

A Street in the Historical Center of Lecce, Italy - A walk through the historical area of Lecce, also known as a Baroque city, will show you an amazing architecure and a true atmosphere of the city. The city itself, with its cobblestoned streets, unique culture and fantastic cuisine is a must-stop if you are visiting Puglia region.

A street in the historical center in Lecce

A new line of walls and a castle were built by Charles V to avoid Ottoman attacks. Lecce served as the base for fighter aircraft to fight the Germans during WWII.

Just like the other regions in Italy, Lecce has a full calendar of religious, gastronomic and cultural events.

Fiera di Sant’Oronzo is celebrated with processions, partying and wonderful illuminations to honor the towns Patron Saint.

Otranto Jazz Festival, La Notte Bianca and La Focara per Sant’Antonio Abate are some of the other popular events.

This region is famous for its papier-mache figures and you can also buy handcrafted figurines.

Where is Lecce?


  • 24.2 miles/ 39 km from Brindisi, Italy
  • 24.8 miles/ 40 km from Gallipoli, Italy
  • 95 miles/ 153 km from Bari, Italy
  • 213.1 miles/ 343 km from Crotone, Italy
  • 356.6 miles/ 574 km from Rome, Italy
  • 257.2 miles/ 414 km from Napoli, Italy
  • 28.5 miles/ 46 km from Brindisi-Salento Airport, Italy
  • 370.3 miles/ 596 km from Rome Fiumicino Airport, Italy
  • 354.1 miles/ 570 km from Rome Ciampino Airport, Italy
  • 253.5 miles/ 408 km from Naples International Airport, Italy

Things to See

  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Madonna Assunta Cathedral
  • Roman Amphitheater
  • Sant’Oronzo Square
  • Via Vittorio Emanuale
  • Santa Chiara Church
  • Santa Croce Basilica
  • Provincial Museum
  • Castle of Charles V
  • Passeggiata


  • Mulino ad Aqua Bay
  • Porto Selvaggio
  • Turchi Bay
  • Otranto
  • Cape Palascia and Sant’Emiliano


  • Alberobello
  • Matera

Lecce is a Baroque city with a unique Adriatic culture and flavor. The unique aroma of Lecce produced by sun-bleached stone, cobblestoned streets, blue sky and flowering trees is unforgettable.

The city of Lecce is easily walkable and affordable, and it has an intriguing cuisine, wonderful climate and vibrant street life.

We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!