Esteemed as the “Florence of the South” for its intricate Baroque motif, today millions of tourists visit Lecce to discover the remains of a frozen, ever-present past.
The palaces and alleys of the historic center behold fascinating treasures and legends.
However, the citizens of Lecce, proud of their individuality, often deny any comparison with the Tuscan capital because most of the masterpieces and monuments were made “a curtieddu” (in local taste) with traditional Lecce stone, a material that can be carved with ease, even with a simple knife.
This stone, however, is not the only element that distinguishes the artisan tradition of Lecce: papier-mâché, thanks to its malleability, has granted the creation of splendid works that can still be admired in historic workshops. This craft stems from an ancient tradition, handed down from generation to generation. But the beating heart of the city undoubtedly remains Piazza Sant’Oronzo, with a column glorifying the patron saint, and the Roman amphitheater, which was buried for many centuries and discovered only in the early 1900s during a restoration.