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Lecce. A city of twisting columns, arches, squares, alleyways and glowing stonework 

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 09:24

Nicknamed the Florence of the South, Lecce is the capital of the Salento region, and just 12 kms from the Adriatic coast. With strong Messapian roots and called Lupiae under Roman rule, the city stands welcoming in baroque splendour. Palaces and churches line the streets enclosed by the three ancient gates to the city: Porta Rudiae, Porta San Biagio and Porta Napoli.

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Master stonemasons created a work of art

The reason for the unique baroque exuberance of the city is Lecce’s soft and malleable stone which allowed the master stonemasons to create incredibly detailed and refined work. This is best represented in the extraordinary facade of the Basilica of Santa Croce on the equally spectacular Piazza Duomo square. Strength and grandeur, on the other hand, characterize the city’s castle, rebuilt by order of Charles V. The Roman Amphitheatre stands adjacent to the central Piazza Sant’Oronzo and is an evocative reminder of the city’s ancient history.

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Strolling through the city’s ancient districts

A visit to this city of rose windows, twisting columns, arches, squares and alleyways can start from under the arch of Porta Napoli. Before entering the historic centre stroll along Via Palmieri with its noble palaces, into the Piazza Duomo square. Then, entering the Porta Rudiae gate you leave the paved streets for the ancient low-lying ward of Giravolte. As you stroll along these alleys and squares tinged with pink when sunset hits the glowing Lecce stone, you will capture the true essence of this splendid city.
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