The city of Lecce is famous for it’s Barroco architecture : it has been named the Florence of the south.
Lecce is located in the southern part of the heel, halfway between Brindisi and Otranto. The city has been dubbed the Florence of Baroque.
Because of the soft limestone that’s easy to work, Lecce became the center for the ornate architecture called the barocco leccese and the city is filled with Baroque monuments.
Lecce has a provincial charm. The churches are quiet, but this is a university town, with a buzz in the bars, pastry shops and bookstores.
Lecce’s architectural history can be surveyed in one sweep across the main piazza, Saint Oronzo. Towering above the scene is a statue of Lecce’s patron saint (Saint Oronzo) perched atop a 25-metre-high marble pillar from Roman times that had been one of two marking the end of the Appian way, stretching across Italy to Brindisi.
Next to the square is the half-uncovered Roman amphitheater, which was once big enough to seat up to 15,000 people. It was discovered in 1908, having been lost in the 1500s. Excavations were carried out under Mussolini, who was intent on rebuilding a national sense of empire. In the process, the renaissance-era town hall on the square’s edge was demolished, and municipal buildings erected instead.
And last but not least, Basilica of Santa Croce, on Via Umberto I, has a richly decorated facade and is considered the emblem of the city .