Known as the Florence of the South, Lecce can be defined as an open-air museum. The Baroque style adorns churches and ancient buildings and the Lecce stone shines in the sunlight, giving the city a romantic atmosphere. Surrounded by walls dating back to the empire of Charles V, still partially visible today, the itinerary in the city center can only start by crossing one of the three gates built by the Emperor himself in defense of the city - Porta Rudiae, Porta San Biagio and Porta Napoli. To the three gates existing today, a fourth one is added, Porta di San Martino, which was demolished in the 19th century.
Strolling in the historic center of Lecce, the great charm of the city immediately catches the eye. Piazza Duomo, in wich there is the Cathedral of Lecce, the Bell Tower, as well as the Sedole (the seat of the bishopric), is a treasure chest that contains the essence of the Baroque, a style that embellishes the entire city, recognizable by the gaudy decorations that characterize the exterior of the buildings. The beauty of the square can also be admired in the evening, with plays of light that enhance its peculiarities making it unique in its kind.
Walking down Via Palmieri, you can admire the historical buildings of the Lecce nobility and appreciate their elegance, until you reach Porta Napoli and continue to discover the historical city center.
The city hub is Piazza Sant’Oronzo, enhanced by the coexistence of multiple styles within it. Surrounded by historical cafes, it is the ideal place to enjoy the typical “Caffe Leccese”. On the side of the square stands the splendid Palazzo Carafa, the seat of the Municipality, as well as the place where the statue of Sant’Oronzo, protector of the city, is kept. A few steps away, the Roman Amphitheater: a monument that testifies to the importance reached by the ancient Lupiae (original name of the city of Lecce) in the imperial era. Another gem, hidden behind the City Museum (MUST), is the small Roman theater, still used today for theatrical performances. But you cannot leave Lecce without visiting the incredible Baroque style facade of the Basilica of Santa Croce (16th-17th century), which has become one of the most famous attractions of the city.