If you want to explore Salento, Lecce is not only a great base for that but also a place where you will have many things to discover. Mostly famous for its baroque architecture, you will easily fall in love with the vibe of this small and compact town. It is also a good place to learn more history, all the way back to the prehistoric times. So if you’re in the area, make sure to add Lecce to your list. Otherwise, you will be missing out on the opportunity to explore this amazing place.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Lecce, Italy.
1. Walk around the historic center (Centro Storico)
One of the reasons why Lecce is popular among tourists is its old city center - Centro Storico. It spreads around a number of streets and consists of more impressive and grandiose squares. You will see hundred years old baroque architecture all around.
The Roman theaters are also amazing sites. Since it’s rather compact, the best way to explore it is on foot. You will feel the history all around you.
Address: Piazza Oronzo, Piazza del Duomo, Via Umberto I, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2. Admire the decorations of Basilica di Santa Croce
Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce is a church built in Baroque architecture. The figures on the facade are interesting to see and the interior is also impressive. It has a long history, dating back from the 16th century. Like most similar churches in Italy, both the paintings and the sculptures are spectacular.
Basilica di Santa Croce
Address: Via Umberto I, 3, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Website: Basilica di Santa Croce (in Italian)
3. Piazza Sant'Oronzo
Although it looks fairly similar to other squares around Italy, what makes Piazza Sant'Oronzo unique is the fact that it hosts the old Roman amphitheater. It is also a good place for people watching while enjoying a coffee, as there are many coffee shops and restaurants around.
Address: Piazza Sant'Oronzo, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Website: Piazza Sant'Oronzo
4. Take the tourist train around the city center
Ascoli Piceno, trenino turistico cittadino (22 novembre)Posted by Roberto Visconti on Sunday, 22 November 2015
Although Lecce’s city center is small enough for walking, taking the tourist train will give you more information about the history of the town in a fun way. You will pass the post important sights, so it will be easier for you to explore by yourself afterward. The train leaves every hour from Castello Carlo V from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tourist train, Lecce
Address: Castello Carlo V, Lecce, Italy
5. Anfiteatro Romano
If you get lucky, you might even assist some activities organized in Anfiteatro Romano. Although it’s not very big compared to other amphitheaters in Italy, it will transport you back in history. As there are houses built around it, the entire building is not excavated. It is believed to date back all the way to the first or second century.
Address: Piazza Sant'Oronzo, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Website: Anfiteatro Romano (in Italian)
6. Museo Provinciale Sigismondo Castromediano Lecce
Taking you back to the prehistoric times, this free museum is a good overview of the area. There are some pottery and artifacts exhibits. Unfortunately, not everything is translated into English. Although it has a good layout, don’t expect a modern museum. You can plan a short visit, maybe even less than one hour, especially if you don’t understand Italian.
Museo Provinciale Sigismondo Castromediano Lecce
Address: Viale Gallipoli, 30, 73100 Lecce, Italy
7. Piazza del Duomo
Try to visit Piazza del Duomo at night. All the lights give the place a magical vibe. The baroque style buildings from around the square make you feel that you have traveled in time. Lecce Cathedral is placed here, contributing to the beauty of the square.
Piazza del Duomo
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 73010 Lecce, Italy
Website: Piazza del Duomo (in Italian)
8. Duomo di Lecce (Lecce Cathedral)
Talking about the wonderful square Piazza del Duomo, one of the buildings that stand out here is Lecce Cathedral. The high ceiling and the wood carving make the interior of the Lecce cathedral grandiose. The somber atmosphere will make you think about existential questions.
Duomo di Lecce (Lecce Cathedral)
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Website: Duomo di Lecce (in Italian)
9. Porta Napoli
Built all the way back in the 16th century, Porta Napoli marks the entrance in the old town with a splendid arch. It gets lit up at night, making the sight look totally different than during day time. Impressive, yet not grandiose, but rather elegant, Porta Napoli is for sure a point of interest that you don’t want to miss while in Lecce.
Address: Piazzetta Arco di Trionfo, 73100 Lecce, Italy
10. Museo Faggiano Lecce
If you’re passionate about history, this is the place to come. It covers over 2,000 years of historical-archaeological evidence, squeezed in a rather small house. All the artifacts were discovered while the owner of the house was doing restoration work.
The objects displayed include coins, small sculptures, pottery and other antiquities. You will also learn a lot about the history of Lecce. The display is indeed fascinating for all ages.
Museo Faggiano Lecce
Address: Via Ascanio Grandi 56, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Website: Museo Faggiano Lecce
Learn everything about Salento's history while in Lecce
With its historic sites, when you leave Lecce, you will know everything about Salento’s long history and old traditions. After having seen all the old buildings with impressive architecture, you will for sure feel enriched and more knowledgeable. And since it’s a university town, you might also have the opportunity to interact with Italian youth and find out more about their view regarding Italy’s future.
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