What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia?
Let’s go to Lecce, in Puglia! This is a very special post, as it is a guest post by dear Federica Miccolis, who is responsible for the blog Viaggiatori Si Cresce. Let’s know what to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia?
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Lecce is one of the most beautiful cities in Puglia. It is elegant and refined, cultured, young, perfect also to meet with the family. Lecce is a city with very ancient origins, which preserves vestiges of different historical periods and which has changed its face over time. Lecce was an important city in Messapian and Roman times, when it was called Lupiae, and it is a very important testimony of the baroque art for which it is distinguished and characterized.
If you are thinking of visiting the capital of Salento, I can already tell you that its main points of historical and artistic interest can be easily visited in one day. Like the locals, we will take a tour full of attractions through this city that is to be admired and felt. And you, have you been to Lecce? If you still don’t know it and are in doubt whether you should include it in your itinerary, know that it is really worth a visit! In this article, we are going to discover Lecce together by visiting the city for a day. Whether you visit alone, as a couple or with children, this tour is for everyone and will allow you to discover a beautiful city.
1) What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia? VISIT THE ROMAN AMPHITEATER
Let’s start our exploration of Lecce from its Roman amphitheater, located in the central Piazza Sant’Oronzo, a meeting point for all Lecceans and full of shops and clubs.
Roman Amphitheater of Lecce (foto di @viaggiatorisicresce)
The Roman amphitheater dates back to the time of Emperor Augustus. The imposing structure was buried by rubble from earthquakes and devastation over the centuries and was only brought to light in the early 1900s, albeit not completely. In fact, much of the ancient amphitheater is still underground. In Piazza Sant’Oronzo you can also see the homonymous statue of Sant’Oronzo, patron saint of the city of Lecce.
2) What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia? DISCOVER LECCE CATHEDRAL AND PIAZZA DUOMO
During your tour of Lecce, what to see in one day, you cannot miss the beautiful Piazza Duomo, where the most important church in the city is also located, namely the Cathedral of Lecce. The Duomo represents the heart of the historic center for the inhabitants of Lecce and what draws the most attention is, without a doubt, the main façade that you will find when you reach the square. This is the entrance through which everyone enters, but few know that in reality the main entrance to the Cathedral is on the side of the square, where, among other things, you can admire a beautiful decorated façade.
The construction of the Cathedral dates back to the 1600s, its underground crypt dedicated to Santa Maria della Scala is also worth a visit. The crypt is very large, almost as large as the surface of the entire cathedral, and in the past it was used as a place of worship, but also as a burial place. I recommend its visit because with its bright white it creates a strong contrast with the Duomo, dominated by dark and somber colors. The crypt is simply wonderful, but photography is not allowed inside.
A little more about the Cathedral…
The Cathedral overlooks the homonymous Piazza Duomo, which has a particularity: that of being a closed square square with access only from one side. In addition to the beautiful Cathedral, in this square are the Episcopal (Archiepiscopal seat of Lecce), the Diocesan Museum which is worth visiting if you are interested in sacred art, and next to the central façade of the Cathedral you will find the beautiful Bell Tower of the Cathedral. A panoramic lift was recently installed here, from which you can look out over Lecce. There is an entrance fee of €12 per person.
Good to know
If you visit Lecce during the Christmas period, I would point out that in this square there is a beautiful nativity scene that recreates the typical Salento landscape, complete with real dry stone walls and prickly figs.
3) What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia? DISCOVER THE BASILICA DI SANTA CROCE
During an itinerary in Lecce what to see in one day, if there is something absolutely unmissable it is the Basilica of Santa Croce. Listed as one of the most famous monuments in Lecce, the Basilica of Santa Croce represents the maximum expression of Baroque in Lecce and is different from other churches precisely because of its imposing Baroque facade, whose construction dates back to the 16th century. Considered a Minor Basilica up to its beauty, in my opinion this is the most beautiful church in Lecce.
Its large central rose window is undoubtedly one of the symbols that distinguish this city. You will be speechless when observing its facade full of sculptures and carvings that make it majestic and at the same time elegant and refined. The interior of the Basilica is equally majestic, what catches the eye at the entrance is the wonderful dark and golden coffered ceiling, which contrasts with the whiteness of the church. A gorgeous look that you can’t help but photograph.
A little more about Basilica di Santa Croce
Don’t miss the beauty of its side chapels and altars: one more sumptuous than the other, in full baroque style, will leave you speechless.
A curiosity about its location:
The Basilica of Santa Croce is located in the neighborhood of San Martino, the former Jewish quarter of Lecce. In fact, next to the Church there is also the Jewish Museum. Entry costs €9 and includes an audio guide. For more information about timetables, this is the link you can consult: Museo Ebraico di Lecce.
4) What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia? VISIT THE CHURCH OF SANTA CHIARA AND SAN MATTEO
Returning to the central Piazza di Sant’Oronzo, in two side streets that are also the meeting point of the population of Lecce, therefore one of the most inhabited areas of the city, there are two smaller churches, very interesting from the point of view of baroque art, which worth a visit on a day trip to Lecce. I’m talking about the Church of Santa Chiara and the Church of San Matteo.
The Basilica of Santa Chiara, although smaller than other churches in Lecce, has an equally precious façade, but it’s more the interior of this church that takes your breath away. The church is particularly notable for its octagonal shape, and the altars inside present very precious decorations with cherubs, statues and much gold.
A few steps from the Church of Santa Chiara, there is the Church of San Matteo. Probably after having already seen several baroque churches in Lecce, this one might seem less interesting to you. Instead, I suggest you take a walk around it, because it is a unique example of Roman Baroque, typical of the Borromini architect. It is recognizable by its facade, half concave and half convex. It’s a small church, but inside it’s very welcoming and with precious Baroque decorations.
Useful Information – Circuit ticket to baroque churches in Lecce
To visit the main places of historical and artistic interest in Lecce, you can purchase a single ticket that costs just €9 (adult) and €19 per family. This ticket gives you access to the main baroque churches in Lecce.
You can buy this ticket by CLICKING HERE! Admission includes:
- Cathedral, Seminary and Museum of Lecce (does not include the ascent to the Belfry of Lecce)
the Basilica of Santa Croce
- the Church of San Matteo
- the Church of Santa Chiara, the Duomo of Lecce, Seminario and Museum (does not include the ascent to the Belfry of Lecce)
- In addition, you can use the ticket within two weeks of purchase.
5) What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia? VISIT THE CASTLE OF CARLOS V
Among the things to see in Lecce in a day, one cannot fail to mention the Castle of Charles V. This castle is actually medieval in origin, as its first construction dates back to the 12th century. In the 16th century, then, Emperor Charles V of Habsburg ordered its restructuring to increase the defensive function of the castle, making it a real fortress. This was because Charles V considered Salento a strategic area for the war against the Ottoman Empire. The castle is open to tourists and houses the Carta Mache Museum and other temporary exhibitions.
A little more about Lecce…
Lecce is a city that impresses the visitor who comes here for the first time, and makes you want to come back, not only to be able to admire monuments and sites of historical interest from different eras, but also to breathe its atmosphere of a city measured humanly. Where to stop for a coffee in a bar in the center or even in some isolated street, observe the white of its buildings or taste a typical Lecce pasticciotto, a cake with cream filling. You cannot come to Lecce and not try it!
This article was written exclusively for Viajando Para Itália by Federica Miccolis, responsible for the blog Viaggi on the road con Bambini (Trip on the road with children)
To access the site, click on the following link: www.viaggiatorisicresce.it
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What to see in one day in Lecce in Puglia? I conclude by saying that Lecce is beautiful in all seasons of the year, being a must if you are thinking of your summer holidays in Salento, but also in autumn and winter, thanks to its mild temperatures; Lecce is much nicer with milder temperatures.
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