Lecce is a city in Apulia region of Italy.
Lecce has been dubbed the Florence of the south. Whereas many people (not understandably) skip it in favour of the nearby beach towns of the Salento peninsula, this city,
distinguished by its elaborate style of baroque buildings, has at least a couple of days of attractions worth seeing.
Lecce is roughly 580km (although some older measurements claim up to 640km, depending on the route) from Rome.
Lecce is easily accessible by the airports in Brindisi (30 minutes by train) and Bari (2hours by train). There are discount flights available from London, Rome, Milan, etc. For a complete list, check out the Apulian airports website
There are FS trains from Foggia, Turin, Rome, Naples, Venice and Milan. You can also reach Lecce by Eurostar Train from Bologna through Rimini and Bari. Travel times from Rome and beyond can be long. Night trains with sleeping couches are available, and often a better bet.
The trains arrive at Lecce station, 1km from the city center. Be aware that taxis anywhere can be expensive (expect to pay up to 15 euros to the center, especially if you have luggage items), so you may want to check with your hotel the public transportation options available.
The old town of Lecce is full of narrow streets which are barely suitable for driving. The City centre is small and easy to walk around.
- Piazza S. Oronzo - Situated in the heart of the city and named after the patron saint's statue erect in 1666 after the population had defeated the plague which had broken out ten years before.
- Cathedral - A wonderful example of baroque style, most of the cathedral was designed by G.Zimbalo, the most celebrated architect of that time. He also designed the five floor belfry (1682).
- Porta Napoli - Also know as Arch of Triumph, it was erected in 1548 to pay homage to Charles V and thank him for having fortified the town. Twenty metres tall, the arch is situated in a square named after it, where S.Giusto once was.
- The Obelisk - Was erected in 1822 thanks to Vito Carluccio at the time when Ferdinando I Borbone came to visit the town.
- Paisiello Theatre - Once the permanent theatre of the town. Founded in 1758 and rebuilt in 1870, it was opened with the performance of Giuseppe Verdi' s 'Un ballo in maschera". Because of its rich decorations, this theatre - which can only contain 320 spectators - is nicknamed "The wedding souvenir".
- The Holy Cross Church - Is a symbol of the baroque style in Lecce buil in 1646, thanks to three well-know architects - Gabriele Riccardi, who devoted himself to the general plan and the lower part of the facade; Francesco Antonio Zimbalo who made the twin column porch and the portal aside; Cesare Penna who conceived the high level of the facade. The big Romanesque central rose window, the rich frame, the four columns, and the niches as well as the telamons, the imaginay creatures, the animals, the mythological and historical characters of the facade are all what makes this church unique and renowned over the world.
Many people go to Apulia to learn the typical rustico recipes of the region's cuisine. Cooking schools abound, including
- The Awaiting Table cooking school[www.awaitingtable]
- Stile Mediterraneo Italian Cooking and Wine School Puglia: culinary vacations and wine tours in Puglia Italy()
- PATH walks, talks & beyond, Lecce, . Tailor made wine and food tours, daily activities spanning from cycling to walking including private wine tasting tours of local boutique wineries and hands on cooking classes designed for individual travelers operated by your local concierge.
- Lecce cake
- fantastic gelato from Gelateria Natale in the old city.
- Cheers Gastro Pub (Cheers Pub Lecce), Viale Dell'Università,41, ☎ +39.3188.8.131.521, . Modern Irish Gastro Pub next to Porta Napoli provides cool Dishes&Drinks. Open all day. English Speaking Team.
- Joyce Vineria/Enoteca, Via Umberto I, 4, Lecce, Tel. 0832 279443
- Delicious "cucina tipica" food served with aplomb in a small restaurant in the old city. Many inventive and interesting recipes, plus a large and relatively inexpensive selection of regional and national wines. A terrific choice in the old city, where many restaurants are aimed at tourists and are of limited quality.
- Azzurretta B&B, Piazza S.Oronzo – Via Andrea Vignes, 2b, ☎ 0039 338.258595, . Good value compared to hotels. About 1 block away from the walled old city. The owner, Marco Larusso, speaks English reasonably well and is very helpful and accommodating. Be prepared to spend up to an extra $10/day on metered street parking.
- B&B Corte dei Musco, Corte dei Musco, 3 - 73100 Lecce (Italy), ☎ +39 368 3740180, . "Corte dei Musco" B&B is in the historical centre of Lecce, near Porta Rudiae.It is on a ground-floor of a small, ancient building with a vaulted roof. The Building has been subtly restructured and is situated in a serene and characteristic court of Lecce.It has two independent suites and a large, sunny terrace with a gazebo, small tables and sun-chairs.
- B&B Lecce Villa Giuliana wine & rooms, Via Carretti 6 Arnesano, ☎ +39 340 080 9257, . en-suite rooms at only 5 minutes drive from the Lecce town center immersed in a lush garden and olive grove with swimming pool, organic fruit and home baked cakes. Linen and towels are also provided. min €45 max € 60 per person per day.
- B&B Piazza 300mila (bed and breakfast Lecce), Via Quarantasettesimo Reggimento Fanteria, 40, 73100 Lecce, ☎ +39 0832.308183, . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 10.30. Bed and Breakfast " Piazza 300mila " is situated into an elegant flat located in an modern palace of the center of Mazzini’s plaza, in the commercial part of the city. The Forniture is modern, every room has heating during winter and Air conditioning during summer, television, dvdplayer and a small refrigerator and WI-FI Internet Access.
- B&B Voler Lecce, Viale Oronzo Quarta 22, 73100, Lecce, ☎ +39 3898940847, . Bed & Breakfast is situated in an historical building by the end of XIX century in the centre of Lecce. Suites are large and luninous vaulted a stella.
- Agriturismo Arangèa, S.P. San Pietro in Lama/Monteroni angolo Via Vecchia Copertino, . an old farmhouse of a previous mansion, in the heart of Salento peninsula.
- Hotel Casina Copini, Via S. Angelo 73038 Spongano, Tel. +39 0836.945352 - Fax +39 0836.945352, . Hotel Casina Copini offers visitors comfort and a swimming pool and a park in the context of a 19th century villa in the province of Lecce.
- Hotel Casina dei Cari, S.P. Presicce-Lido Marini, 73054, Presicce Lecce - Tel. +39 0833.711284 - Fax +39 0833.711284, . Immersed in verdant Salento, amidst olive trees and stone walls, the Hotel Casina dei Cari has inherited a historical farmhouse between Presicce and Lido Marini.
- Masseria Scinata Dimora Antica B&B , Strada Santa Caterina, 201, 73048, Nardo', S.Caterina Lecce - Tel. +39 339.4985458 - Fax +39 0833.872821, . Scinata Dimora Antica is an holiday villa in Puglia, in the Salento region, a luxury B&B in Santa Caterina di Nardò near Gallipoli (Lecce).
- Motel Aloisi, Via Taranto 297, Tel. +39.0832.240607, Fax +39.0832.243786, . 3-star hotel on the Salento peninsula.
- Tenuta Monacelli, SS Quinzano Località Cerrate-Casalabate - Contrada Monacelli , 73100, Casalabate-Lecce - Tel. +39 0832.382037 - Fax +39 0832.382037,. Tenuta Monacelli, a farmhouse in Lecce, for exclusive farm holidays in Puglia, in the enchanting Salento region.
- Villa delle Palme, via kennedy, trepuzzi, 73019, - Tel. +39 0832755557 ,. In the heart of Salento in Trepuzzi, Lecce, Bed and Breakfast B&B Villa delle Palme, invites you to spend a relaxing holiday in absolute peace immersed in the nature and in the green.
Nearby Lecce are the following towns:
Other popular destinations such as Alberobello and Matera are also easily reachable by car. Consider spending at least on day at each, but if you're too short on time it is possible to see the main attractions of both in a day trip from Lecce (at least 5 hours by car).