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Lecce, Italy

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Lecce, Italy

Lecce is a city in Apulia region of Italy.

Lecce has been dubbed the Florence of the south. Whereas many people (not understandably) skip it in favor of the nearby beach towns of the Salento peninsula, this city, distinguished by its elaborate style of baroque buildings, has at least a couple of days of attractions worth seeing.

Lecce experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) with an average temperature of 20.8°C.

History

According to legend, a city called Sybar existed at the time of the Trojan War, founded by the Messapii. It was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, receiving the new name of Lupiae.

Under the emperor Hadrian (2nd century AD) the city was moved 3 kilometers (2 miles) to the northeast, taking the name of Licea or Litium. Lecce had a theater and an amphitheater and was connected to the Hadrian Port (the... Read more

Lecce, Italy

Destination:

Lecce is a city in Apulia region of Italy.

Lecce has been dubbed the Florence of the south. Whereas many people (not understandably) skip it in favor of the nearby beach towns of the Salento peninsula, this city, distinguished by its elaborate style of baroque buildings, has at least a couple of days of attractions worth seeing.

Lecce experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) with an average temperature of 20.8°C.

History

According to legend, a city called Sybar existed at the time of the Trojan War, founded by the Messapii. It was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, receiving the new name of Lupiae.

Under the emperor Hadrian (2nd century AD) the city was moved 3 kilometers (2 miles) to the northeast, taking the name of Licea or Litium. Lecce had a theater and an amphitheater and was connected to the Hadrian Port (the current San Cataldo). Orontius of Lecce, locally called Sant'Oronzo, is considered to have served as the city's first Christian bishop and is Lecce's patron saint.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Lecce was sacked by the Ostrogoth king Totila in the Gothic Wars. It was restored to Roman rule in 549, and remained part of the Eastern Empire for five centuries, with brief conquests by Saracens, Lombards, Hungarians and Slavs.

After the Norman conquest in the 11th century, Lecce regained commercial importance, flourishing in the subsequent Hohenstaufen and Angevine rule. The County of Lecce was one of the largest and most important fiefs in the Kingdom of Sicily from 1053 to 1463 when it was annexed directly to the crown. From the 15th century, Lecce was one of the most important cities of southern Italy, and, starting in 1630, it was enriched with precious Baroque monuments. To avert invasion by the Ottomans, a new line of walls and a castle were built by Charles V, (who was also Holy Roman Emperor), in the first part of the 16th century.

In 1656, a plague broke out in the city, killing a thousand inhabitants.

In 1943, fighter aircraft based in Lecce helped support isolated Italian garrisons in the Aegean Sea during World War 2. Because they were delayed by the Allies, they couldn't prevent a defeat. In 1944 and 1945, B-24 long-range bombers of the 98th Heavy Bomber Group attached to the 15th U.S. Army Air Force were based in Lecce, from where the crews flew missions over Italy, the Balkans, Austria, Germany, and France.

 


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Lecce, Italy: Port Information


You can visit Lecce on a cruise tour. Brindisi is the closest cruise port. 
Lecce is situated almost 25 miles to the south-east from the port. You can take an organized cruise tour or get to Lecce on a cab or a train. 

Get around Lecce, Italy


By bus

Public transport is managed by SGM company, with 20 bus lines and 4 trolleybus lines. Single tickets can be purchased at most of tobacconists and newspaper sellers around the city. 

By taxi

LecceTaxi covers the town and other destinations in the Salento area.

By car

Here is a list of useful parking lots:
  • Piazza Carmelo Bene (Ex Foro Boario). It is near the Bus City Terminal with interchange to lines 29, 30, 31.
  • Oberdan Parking, Via G.Oberdan, 43, ☎ +39 0832 454601, e-mail: info@oberdanparking.it. 24 hr. It also provides a service of car and bike rental. 
  • Metropark, Via di Ussano, toll-free: +39 800650006. 24 hr. 189 parking spaces 100 meters from the railway station. 

On foot

Walking is, without a doubt, the best way to discover the main attractions of Lecce, since the whole old town is a limited traffic zone (ZTL). This feature gives the opportunity to move between monuments, churches and archaeological sites free from the stress of traffic.

What to see in Lecce, Italy


Churches

Lecce has more than 30 historic churches, these are the most representative ones:
  • Church of the Holy Cross (Basilica di Santa Croce), Via Umberto I, 3, ☎ +39 0832 241957. 09:00-12:00 / 17:00-20:00. It represents the main example of Lecce baroque style. It was built between 1549 and 1695, thanks to three well-known architects: Gabriele Riccardi, who devoted himself to the general plan and the lower part of the façade; Francesco Antonio Zimbalo who made the twin column porch and the portal aside; Cesare Penna who conceived the high level of the façade. The big Romanesque central rose window, the rich frame, the four columns, and the niches, as well as the telamons, the imaginary creatures, the animals, the mythological and historical characters of the façade, are all that makes this church unique and renowned over the world. Free. 
  • Cathedral (Duomo di Lecce), Piazza del Duomo, ☎ +39 0832 308557, e-mail: info@cattedraledilecce.it. A wonderful example of the baroque style, most of the cathedral was designed by Giuseppe Zimbalo and it was completed in 1689. free. Lecce Cathedral on Wikipedia Lecce Cathedral (Q843722) on Wikidata 
  • Church of Saint Irene (Sant'Irene dei Teatini), Via Vittorio Emanuele II. A majestic baroque church with an elegant and quite sober exterior that hides a richly decorated interior. Free. 
  • Church of Saint John the Baptist (Basilica di San Giovanni Battista), Via Giuseppe Libertini, 5, ☎ +39 0832 308540. A magnificent façade characterized by two grooved columns, completed in 1728. It is just a few steps away from Porta Rudiae. Free. 
  • Church of Santa Chiara, Piazzetta Vittorio Emanuele II, ☎ +39 0832 241915. Built in 1429 and renovated in 1691, its main features are the octagonal interior plan and the lavish altars. Free. 

Archaeology

  • Roman amphitheater (Anfiteatro romano), Piazza Sant'Oronzo, 42, ☎ +39 0832 253791, e-mail: sar-pug.centrooperativo.lecce@beniculturali.it. Situated in Sant'Oronzo square, the structure was built during the 2nd century AD and it was able to seat more than 25,000 people. It is currently used for various religious, music and art events. 
  • Roman theatre (Teatro romano), Via Arte della Cartapesta, 10, ☎ +39 0832 682985. In the heart of the old town, it was built in the 1st century AD and it had a capacity of 5,000 people. It is now the seat of events and performances. 
  • Rudiae archaeological park (Parco archeologico di Rudiae), Via S. Pietro in Lama. The site of an ancient Messapian and then Roman town, 3km south from the city center. Here you can see the remains of the amphitheater, a necropolis and walls. 

Other buildings

  • Piazza S. Oronzo - Situated in the heart of the city and named after the patron saint's statue erected in 1666 after the population had defeated the plague which had broken out ten years before.
  • Paisiello Theatre - Once the permanent theatre of the town. Founded in 1758 and rebuilt in 1870, it was opened with the performance of Giuseppe Verdi' s 'Un ballo in maschera". Because of its rich decorations, this theatre - which can only contain 320 spectators - is nicknamed "The wedding souvenir".
  • Castle of Charles V (Castello Asburgico). A majestic medieval castle rebuilt during the first half of XVI century. It is the seat of several exhibitions, events, and conferences. 
  • Triumphal Arch (Porta Napoli), Piazzetta Arco di Trionfo. It was erected in 1548 to pay homage to Charles V and thank him for having fortified the town. It is known as "Neapolitan Gate" since there started the road leading to Naples, capital of the kingdom. 
  • Porta Rudiae. The oldest gate of the town, rebuilt in 1703 in baroque style. 
  • Porta San Biagio, Piazza d'Italia, 8. The southern entrance to the old town, dedicated to Saint Blaise. It is 17 meters (55 ft) tall and it's topped by the coat of arms of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. 
  • Park Tower (Torre del Parco), Viale Torre del Parco, 1, ☎ +39 0832 347694. A fortress symbol of Lecce's medieval period, built in 1419. It is now the seat of meetings, weddings, cultural events, and a 4-star hotel. 
  • Obelisk (Obelisco), Piazzetta Arco di Trionfo (In front of Porta Napoli). 10 meters (33 ft) high structure built in 1822 in honor of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. 
  • Palazzo dei Celestini, Via Umberto I, 13 (beside Basilica di Santa Croce), ☎ +39 0832 332463. The seat of Province of Lecce in an impressive baroque building completed in 1695.
  • Palazzo del Seggio (il Sedile), Piazza Sant'Oronzo, ☎ +39 0832 682102. 09:30-13:30 / 15:30-19:30. Ancient city hall, it represents an interesting mixture of gothic and renaissance architecture. It is situated in the middle of the vibrant Piazza S.Oronzo, contiguous with the small Church of San Marco. Free.

What to do in Lecce, Italy


In July, there's a typical music festival in Melpignano near Lecce where you hear the famous "Pizzica."

From June to September, the coast constitutes an attraction of its own, with clear see-through waters and some top-end beaches, particularly so in the southern part of the peninsula, in the litorali of Lecce province.

Lecce is a city packed with beautiful baroque buildings, churches, and villas, built with a local stone at a time when the city served as refugee shelter for aristocratic families from all over Italy. Consider spending a day or wandering around its peculiar streets and exploring the local cuisine.

What to eat and drink in Lecce, Italy


Pasticciotto Leccese is the typical cake of the town. It is made of shortcrust pastry filled with custard and by tradition, it must be eaten warm as a breakfast item.
  • Martinucci Laboratory, Via Salvatore Trinchese 7, ☎ +39 0832 309535, e-mail: info@martinuccilaboratory.it. 09:00-01:30. Taste the delicious cakes and ice creams of the most famous ice-cream franchise of Salento.
  • Joyce Vineria/Enoteca, Via Umberto I, 4, Lecce, Tel. +39 0832 279443
           - Delicious "cucina tipica" food served with aplomb in a small restaurant in the old city. Many inventive and interesting recipes, plus a large and relatively inexpensive selection of regional and national wines. A terrific choice in the old city, where many restaurants are aimed at tourists and are of limited quality.
  • Tabisca, Vico dietro lo Spedale dei Pellegrini 29 (an alley near Piazzetta Santa Chiara), ☎ +39 0832 243192, e-mail: info@tabisca.it. Mon-Sun 18:30-01:00. Mediterranean cuisine with a large choice of wine in the earth of the old city. 

Shopping in Lecce, Italy


  • Lecce cake
  • fantastic gelato from Gelateria Natale in the old city.

Safety in Lecce, Italy


Described at times as the "Italian Jamaica", Apulia enjoys indeed quite a laid-back and melancholic mood according to different parameters. In a 2006 survey, the province of Lecce came out in the top 10 of the safest provinces in Italy, with theft and attack to the property being "extremely rare". Street crime and local mafia-related violence, however, has been a serious issue in other parts of the region in the dodgy 80s and 90s, particularly around the denser urban areas of Bari and Taranto, cities that somehow kept bearing a bad reputation until recent days. However, most of this is a story of the past: Apulia is now one of the safest regions in the less-developed southern part of Italy and, outside of the poorest urban districts, violent crime is nearly unheard. Moreover, you'll find locals to be rather helpful and hospitable. The rare cases of aggression or fights are in the overwhelming majority of episodes cases of private disputes and/or alcohol-related. In fact, tourists, especially foreigners, are more likely to fall victims of overpricing and mild touts linked to the expanding touristic industry rather than violent crimes. Even these, however, together with pickpocketing, are isolated cases and are not a rampant issue as in Naples.

Language spoken in Lecce, Italy


Many dialects are spoken here and they're all quite different from each other, from the Greek influence of Salento to the Arabic sounding dialect of Bari; obviously Italian would be your best bet, maybe not local people's one though...

If you have to rely on a foreign language, English, followed by French and German, are the most studied languages. The degree to which they're spoken varies greatly, but overall the further you go from touristic spots, the slimmer the chances they will be spoken by anybody.

LOCAL TIME

9:55 am
June 17, 2019
Europe/Rome

CURRENT WEATHER

29.38 °C / 84.884 °F
light rain
Tue

27.41 °C/81 °F
sky is clear
Wed

27.21 °C/81 °F
light rain
Thu

28.67 °C/84 °F
sky is clear
Fri

29.25 °C/85 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

1 USD = 0 EUR
1 GBP = 0 EUR
1 AUD = 0 EUR
1 CAD = 0 EUR

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