Visit Lecce: discover the baroque style and more

Our guided tours in Lecce 

To discover the baroque style and more

The Salento area is located in the southern part of Apulia region, bathed by two seas, the Ionian and the Adriatic.

In the centre of Salento is Lecce, a splendid city of art known as the "Capital of Baroque" or the "Città Chiesa" (the City Church).

The great beauty of Lecce is its architectural style characterized by a rich set of decorative motifs. This constructive style developed between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and has particular characteristics that make it take the name of Barocco Leccese.

The city has many churches and many palaces built with a tender local stone, the pietra leccese stone, so beautiful that it seems decorated with golden stone lace.

The rose window of the Santa Croce church in Lecce
The rose window of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Lecce

Lecce is not only its baroque style.

The history of the city begins 2500 years ago; we can discover it with one of our excursions by visiting the old town, accompanied by our local authorized guides.

The old town is protected by imposing ancient walls that house the city gates that have welcomed local people and travelers for centuries: Porta Napoli, Porta Rudiae and Porta San Biagio.

Are you ready to visit the city with us?

We meet in the heart of Lecce: the St. Oronzo square!

We meet a few minutes before noon at the Caffè Cittadino where to enjoy a typical local coffee - on the ice with almond milk - and to eat a pasticciotto sweet, the typical cake made with pastry and delicate custard.

The typical local coffee in Lecce - on the ice with almond milk - and the pasticciotto sweet
The typical local coffee in Lecce and the pasticciotto sweet

It’s noon on the dot and from Palace Carafa, seat of the Municipality of Lecce, one of the songs sung by the great Lecce tenor Tito Schipa resounds for a minute: it is a tribute of the city - which happens every day at noon - to the famous tenor born in Lecce, that in the last century has performed in the most important theaters in the world.

St. Oronzo square has always been the heart of Lecce, a synthesis of different styles and buildings that coexist harmoniously.

The square is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Bishop Oronzo (also from Lecce) who in 1656 saved the city from the terrible plague epidemic that had hit the Kingdom of Naples.

Sant'Oronzo ceiling and frescos at cathedral in Lecce
St. Oronzo painting and ceiling at the Cathedral in Lecce

The statue of St. Oronzo until before the restoration works was placed on the marble column positioned next to a couple of buildings of the sixteenth century - the Sedile and the church of St. Marco - and the Roman Amphitheater. The statue is currently exposed inside the Palace Carafa, seat of the Municipality.

roman theater in Lecce
The Roman Amphitheater and St. Oronzo square in Lecce

The Roman Amphitheater is one of the monumental testimonies of the city of Lecce, this last in the past was called Lupiae.

The amphitheater was built in the first century after Christ and was able to accommodate between 12,000 and 14,000 people.

Like the Colosseum of Rome, this amphitheater was used for fights between gladiators and for the venationes - the shows that represented animal hunts - as indicated in the reliefs that decorated the wall around the arena called balteus.

This amphitheatre was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century during the construction of the Bank of Italy building. Today the amphitheater is only visible for a third of its total size.

Choosing one of our personalized tours dedicated to the roman history of the city of Lecce we suggest you to visit - with our guides - the Roman Theatre, this structure is hidden in the alleys of the historic center.

How to visit the roman theater in Lecce Apulia
The Roman Theater in Lecce

A few meters from the St. Oronzo square, in the area that in the past was the ancient Jewish quarter, we will visit the Basilica of Santa Croce, the undisputed symbol of the Lecce Baroque, shines in all its beauty, admired for the interior details and the decorative richness of its façade characterized by the great central rose window.

The interior of the church of Santa Croce in Lecce
The interior of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Lecce

Palazzo dei Celestini in Lecce
The former Convent of the Celestines in Lecce

Just a curiosity: inside the Basilica of Santa Croce there is a baroque altar dedicated to St. Oronzo. The picture placed in the center of the twisted columns, typical of seventeenth-century architecture, depicts the Saint as the author of another miracle: the salvation of Lecce from the earthquake of 1743.

In the city there is a great devotion to St. Oronzo; every year in August there is a patronal festival dedicated to him (24 to 26 August) with the solemn religious celebrations, the procession through the streets of the old town, the traditional markets and the beautiful Luminarie, the lights of Lecce.

Sant'Oronzo procession at August in Lecce
The St. Oronzo procession through the streets of the old town in Lecce

To enjoy a full immersion in the baroque atmosphere of Lecce it is necessary to reach the Duomo square. Its characteristic is to be a closed square, accessible from a single monumental entrance: the Propylaea.

In the middle of the square you are surrounded by baroque buildings: the Bell Tower, the Episcope (the Bishop Palace), the Ancient Seminary Palace and the Cathedral which curiously presents itself to the visitor with its side elevation, while the main one appears almost hidden.

How to visit the Bell tower of the Sant'Oronzo cathedral in Lecce
Bell Tower of the Cathedral in Lecce

Another curiosity:
The Duomo square has always been the setting of important events. Recently, in the summer of 2020, the square was chosen as the stage for the Dior 2020 Cruise collection fashion show

Dior Cruise 2020 fashion show at Duomo Square in Lecce
Dior Cruise 2020 fashion show at Duomo Square in Lecce - G.Colonna

Discover all our itineraries dedicated to the baroque style that includes a visit to the other churches of the city, such as the church of St. Irene, the ancient patron saint of the city, or the church of St. Chiara is unique because its ceiling is papier-mâché!

Church of Sant'Irene, ancient patron saint of the city
The church of St. Irene, ancient patron saint of the city

Do you want to discover all about the art of papier-mâché from Lecce? A personalized tour will take us to visit the artists' workshops and to know the secrets of this tradition to which a museum is dedicated.

Our guided tours give you the opportunity to live the tourist experience without hassle (we buy the churches and museum tickets for you, we walk together safely in the town, etc), to save time and optimize your travel.

Please feel free to contact us at, we will be happy to help you in case you desire to take part in our customized guided tours in the city of Lecce or are looking for inspiration to plan your next travel experiences to Italy.

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