Lecce is the capital of the province of the same name and one of the most beautiful cities in the region of Puglia (Apulia). The nickname of Lecce is the “Florence of the South”. It is best known for its many baroque churches and palaces.
All about Lecce
Useful tourist information
Public transport to/from Lecce
The nearest airport is the Brindisi-Salento airport, which is about 50 km from the centre of Lecce. The Galatina airport in Lecce itself is exclusively used for military purposes. From the central station there are trains that allow you to travel easily to all major destinations in Italy.
Public transport inside Lecce
Public transport is provided by the company SGM. The price of a single ticket (2020) is 1 Euro, while a 90-minute ticket costs 1,30 Euros and a 24-hour pass 2,50 Euros. You need to buy the ticket before boarding the bus. The drivers sell single tickets, but the cost is higher (1,50 Euros). A carnet of six tickets costs 5 Euros and a weekly pass 9,70 Euros. For monthly passes there are two options, either personale (only one person can use it) or impersonale (whoever has the ticket can use it). The personale ticket costs 29, the impersonale 36 Euros. A yearly pass is 291 Euros. The fine for traveling without a ticket is 100 Euros, which is halved in case you pay within 30 days.
Lecce is located on the site of the former Messapian city of Sybar. The Messapians were a Iapygian tribe that occupied the heel of the boot of Italy, more or less what is now known as the Salento area. Their settlements were independent city state, that traded with the Magna Graecia cities in the south of Italy.
The Messapian name for the settlement was Lupiae, which gradually transformed into Licce and then Lecce.
In the 3rd century B.C. the city was conquered by the Romans. It gradually became wealthier and reached its heyday in the 2nd half of the 2nd century.
After the decline of Rome the area was plagues by a succession of barbarian invaders. The Huns, Ostrogoths, Saracens, Lombards, Greeks, Hungarians and Slavs all occupied the region at some point or other
In the 10th century Lecce became part of Byzantium. Later, the Normans made it into the capital of Salento.
Under the feudal system it became property of the Altavilla, the Brienne, the Manfredi, the Enghien, the Orsini del Balzo, the Ferrante of Aragon and the Bourbons.
Under Ferdinand I of Aragon the city became the capital of the Terra d’Otranto, a region which was later to become the Province of Lecce. The coat of arms of the province is still the emblem of the old Terra d’Otranto.
Having become part of the Kingdom of Naples, Lecce became the seat of a provisional government during the Risorgimento uprisings of 1848.
Tourist attractions Lecce
The presence of many baroque palaces and churches has given Lecce the nickname “Florence of the South”.
The 12th century Cathedral was reconstructed in the 17th century. Other important churches are the Santa Croce Basilica, the San Niccolò and Cataldo Church, the Santa Teresa Church, the San Francesco Church and the Chiesa del Rosario. The most interesting convent is the San Giovanni Convent.
The Castle of Anjou was built in the first half of the 16th century. The city walls werd built by Charles V and contain a 16th century triumphal arch. The best known towers are the Torre del Parco and the Torre del Belloloco.
Remains of the Roman theatre and amphitheatre can still be visited. The archeological area of Rudiae likewise.