Visit Lecce: discover the baroque style and more

How to get to the top of bell tower in Lecce

Bell tower Lecce ticket office elevator
The Bell Tower at the Duomo square in Lecce

Can you climb the bell tower in Lecce? 

The answer is: finally yes!

Soon, already in summer, but only if you do not suffer from vertigo!

In fact, the restoration and consolidation of the bell tower and the installation of an elevator inside the monument, in steel and glass, have just started (February 2021) to allow access to the highest point of the city and a splendid view from four different points.

The bell tower of the cathedral of Lecce has in fact a considerable height that places it among the highest in Italy. From the top of the bell tower, a 70 meters height, the view of Lecce and the territory extends to 360°(more about Lecce at this link).

Its size and grandeur make it visible from any point or perspective, clearly distinguishing itself in the skyline of the city.

How to get to the top of bell tower in Lecce?
The Cathedral Bell Tower seen from Castle Charles V in Lecce

The Bell Tower is located on the left side of the splendid Duomo Square that suddenly appears walking through the alleys of the ancient city, similar to a theatrical scenography.

Its appearance dates back to the seventeenth century.

The square is a 'closed' space defined by baroque buildings that transform it into a 'courtyard', in the middle of the dense medieval urban fabric composed of irregular streets and blocks, clearly visible from the top of the Bell Tower.

The roof of the Cathedral view from the Bell Tower in Lecce
The roof of the Cathedral view from the Bell Tower

The historical centre of Lecce, view from the Bell Tower
The historical centre of Lecce, view from the Bell Tower, in the centre of the photo the Roman Theatre

A curiosity: in case of danger the citizens could take refuge in the Duomo Square, a real citadel, with the bell tower that served as a watchtower; from there the sentries could see the Adriatic Sea (10 km away) and control the arrival of enemies.

The historic centre of Lecce, its churches and the sea
The historic centre of Lecce, its churches and the sea

bell tower Lecce tickets
The name of a soldier engraved on the balustrade

The events related to the construction of the Bell Tower are almost the same as the nearby Cathedral.

In 1661, the reconstruction of the Cathedral - in 1659 - had just begun, replacing the medieval church, when Bishop Luigi Pappacoda commissioned the same architect Giuseppe Zimbalo to proceed with the reconstruction of the bell tower.

The work lasted 21 years as attested by the inscriptions on the facade.
Since 1682 the monument dominates uncontested in the panorama of the city.

The building has a square plan and develops in five floors that are gradually narrowing upwards, the last of which octagonal surmounted by a majolica dome that houses the statue of St. Oronzo, became patron of the city after saving the city from the plague epidemic in 1656.

A curiosity: the iron effigy of St. Oronzo that blesses the city on the dome is two meters high and moves when the wind changes.

bell tower Lecce ticket office
The dome of the Bell Tower and the statue of Saint Oronzo

Each floor of the structure is characterized by a balustrade decorated and single-light enriched with Latin epigraphs on the side overlooking the square.

Above the entrance door the inscription addressed to the guest who comes to the city reminds that "the tower that rises towards the sky in honor of the Mother of God, rises for the religious spirit, the money and the care of Bishop Luigi Pappacoda, the clergy and the inhabitants of Lecce in 1661".

An internal staircase allows you to reach the upper levels.

On the second floor another inscription recalls the patrons of the city: Saints Oronzo, Giusto and Fortunato, while on the third floor the epigraph recalls St. Irene, the ancient patron saint of the city who "watching from this tower breaks the lightning, so that no one is affected".

The penultimate floor reads the date "1682" which refers to the year in which the construction works ended.

The top floor with the dome is richly decorated with four flowering vases.

On the third floor of the bell tower there are the five bells called: Crucifix, Annunciation, Capitolo's Bell, Holy Family and Assunta Oronza.

The major one has an unmistakable sound for the people of Lecce and a particular story.

It was fused several times to make weapons (as during the conquest of nearby Otranto by the Turks (more about Otranto at this link) and several times redone because cracked.

The present one, Assunta Oronza, was built in Venice in 1830.

bell tower lecce ticket office
The Bells of the Bell Tower in Lecce

A curiosity: the ringing of the major bell in the past was heard only on certain occasions, such as the feast of St. Oronzo (24-26 August), or during the two World Wars when it was used as an alarm siren.

Climbing the bell tower of the Cathedral of Lecce in the past was granted only to illustrious personalities and celebrities. 

Even the popstar Madonna, in one of her trips to Apulia, wanted to see the city of Lecce from the unique perspective of the bell tower.

madonna itinerary travel to italy in Lecce Apulia
The popstar Madonna enjoy the view from the Bell Tower in Lecce

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