Lecce - attractions, sightseeing, map, restaurants, hotels, accommodation, parking lots. Guide.

Richly decorated buildings typical of Lecce

A surprisingly beautiful city

Most of the photos and information on the internet definitely do not reflect Lecce's charm. I am not under the illusion that my photos and descriptions will change anything in this matter, although I will try to make it happen at least a little. However, I have a feeling that despite my efforts to present Lecce in the best light (which it fully deserves) I will not fully reflect its charm.
Lecce has long been a far underestimated city and (as I guess) it is an exceptionally pleasant surprise for many visitors. It is not easily accessible, because it is 150 km from the most popular airport in this part of Italy in Bari. To get here, you just have to plan it carefully. Rent a car for EUR 20 / day or take an average length rail travel for EUR 20 per person.
If it was right by the sea, a lot of people would probably come here, right? Although it is only a 15-minute drive to the sea, sun lovers are still not on the way here.
We decided to make Lecce our base for the whole southern part The Salentian Peninsula (i.e. the popular heel in an Italian shoe). We spent three 3 nights here. The decision, although not entirely conscious, turned out to be a bull's eye. We couldn't have dreamed of a better place to spend a quiet evening after whole days of active exploring the peninsula. We enjoyed this city every evening. We soaked up its unique atmosphere with great satisfaction, and when the moment of departure came, we went for even a short walk, so as not to leave without saying goodbye, because we felt sorry for it.
Lecce was one of our highlights Apulia sightseeing plan - [click]

You will find a lot of such sites in Lecce

Lecce - Advantages of the (less) popularity

Being less popular has many advantages, especially from the tourist's point of view.

First: cheap accommodation

In Lecce, we managed to find an exceptionally comfortable accommodation, in a large (55m2) apartment, with breakfast brought to the room in the morning for EUR 24 per person. Hotel guests have free parking. As if that were not enough, the accommodation was located in a quiet alley, in the historic part of the city, just a few dozen steps from one of the main attractions: the beautiful square by the cathedral (Piazza del Duomo).
You will find more about our accommodation along with the exact details of it in the further part of the text, and below I am attaching a video from a short walk, showing how beautiful the fragment between the hotel alley and the cathedral square looks like.

Secondly: excellent and affordable food

As in any major Italian city, the choice of restaurants in Lecce is huge. You just need (as in Italy) to get to 21.00, when the restaurants open and start receiving guests. If you make it to 21.00, for a reasonable amount of money you will eat really exceptionally well.
The owner of the apartment in which we stayed, recommended a few noteworthy places to us. We were too short to test all of them, but where we were, the food was excellent.
Below are business cards of places to look for when you are in Lecce.

The restaurant is waiting, Lecce, Italy
Osteria Il Poeta Contadino

Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean
see Trip Advisor reviews - [click]

Osteria Il Poeta Contadino, GPS coordinates:
40°21’14.8″N 18°10’20.2″E
40.354117, 18.172284 - click and route

Vico dei Sotterranei

Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean
see Trip Advisor reviews - [click]

Vico dei Sotterranei, GPS coordinates:
40°21’05.0″N 18°10’07.8″E
40.351377, 18.168844 - click and route

Il Gambero Rosso - Ristorante

Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean
see Trip Advisor reviews - [click]

Il Gambero Rosso - Ristorante, GPS coordinates:
40°21’00.9″N 18°10’23.6″E
40.350243, 18.173225 - click and route

Trattoria Mamma Lupa

Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Grill
see Trip Advisor reviews - [click]

Trattoria Mamma Lupa, GPS coordinates:
40°21’06.9″N 18°10’22.4″E
40.351917, 18.172889 - click and route

MAD lounge bar & restaurant
Octopus w MAD lounge bar & restaurant it tasted great

cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
This is a restaurant outside the group recommended by locals. We just walked in at random. We left very pleased. The octopus with beetroot sauce was really special.
see Trip Advisor reviews - [click]

MAD lounge bar & restaurant, GPS coordinates:
40°21’05.9″N 18°10’20.2″E
40.351639, 18.172266 - click and route

Thirdly: swoboda

Yes, freedom! Lecce is nothing like the crowded, popular Italian cities bursting with people. Here, there is moderate traffic in the streets, which only adds life to the city, without creating the unpleasant effect of excessive crowding. Walking around the old part of the city is fun, you don't waste time standing in the railroads and there is no fight for a restaurant table. In the evening you will find many such alleys where there will be no one except you and you will get a few moments to take your dream photo. Walking through the streets of the city allows you to breathe, is pleasant and relaxing, and the narrow streets draw you to go on and on ... and you can walk for hours.

Such a crowd was in the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce
Lecce, Italy
Lecce, Italy

Lecce - monuments and sightseeing

The historic center of Lecce is extensive. It is a wide-spread maze of streets leading among richly ornamented lines of tenement houses, palaces, monastic buildings and churches made of yellow sandstone, separated from time to time by lavish squares and squares. Characteristic of the baroque architecture in Lecce is that the facades of the buildings are richly decorated. They have an amazing amount of ornaments, additional decorative elements and architectural details. Roman tenement houses built more or less at the same time, compared to the tenement houses in Lecce, can be considered ascetically simple in appearance. The buildings in Lecce are exceptionally beautiful.
Buildings along the walking routes in Lecce are equipped with special illumination, emphasizing the exceptional beauty of the buildings after dark. So let's go for a separate walk during the day and after dark. In both cases the city looks different and in both cases it is amazing.
I have marked the location of the most interesting places in the city along with the walking route on the map below. Below the map you will find a slightly more detailed description of the route.

Lecce: map of attractions, walking route and location of parking lots

It is worth starting sightseeing from the square Piazza Sant'Oronzo (1). It is the tourist center of the city (there is a tourist information with maps). The square is located in the XNUMXst century BC Roman amphitheater (2). It is uncovered and only partially exposed, as the rest is located under the neighboring buildings. From the square, they walk in many directions along cobbled streets, each of which can be the beginning of a new, long walk. First, however, it is worth directing your steps down the street Via Vittorio Emanuele II in the direction Piazza del Duomo (3). It is the main cathedral square surrounded entirely by buildings (including the cathedral, bishop's palace, seminary, tourist information). It is worth going down the street for a further walk Via Giuseppe Palmieritowards the palaces: Palazzo Palmieri (4) and on to Palazzo Guarini (5), next to which there is a gate in the large square Porta Napoli (6). Right behind Palazzo Guarini turn right into the street Via Principi di Savoianext to a charmingly named restaurant La Scarpetta after a few hundred meters it will lead you to the next right turn, into an alley Via Umberto. At Via Umberto You will come across several palaces (in different technical condition). Pay special attention to the palace Palazzo Loffredo Adorno (7). Walking further down the street Via Umberto I you will come to the Basilica of St. Cross (Basilica of the Holy Cross) (8) with an insanely intricate facade, to finally reach the point from which we started our walk, i.e. the square Piazza Sant'Oronzo (1).
This short walk will introduce you to the topography and landmarks of the city so that now, without a map, you will be able to venture into any area of ​​the old city and no matter which way you go, you will always end up in a familiar place.
I can only wish you a pleasant stroll!

1. Piazza Sant'Oronzo

The main square of the tourist part of the city. You will find tourist information, plenty of restaurants, bars, the Roman amphitheater, and the Palazzo di Seggio palace. A column with a statue of St. Oronzo, who is the patron saint of the city.
A few streets start from the square, perfect for a nice walk.

Piazza Sant'Oronzo, GPS coordinates:
40°21’11.4″N 18°10’20.8″E
40.353178, 18.172443 - click and route

Buildings and Roman amphitheater in Piazza Sant'Oronzo square
2. Roman amphitheater

The amphitheater comes from the 25st century AD. Construction works carried out in this part of the city at the beginning of the XNUMXth century led to its discovery. Unfortunately, due to the proximity of the neighboring buildings, it was not decided to discover the entire amphitheater and we can only see part of it. The exposed walls of the amphitheater have been exposed in such a way that they form an interesting whole with the surrounding buildings. No wonder it is one of the favorite meeting places. The rest of the amphitheater is still hidden under the neighboring buildings. Some historians estimate that the amphitheater could hold up to XNUMX people.

Roman amphitheater in Lecce, GPS coordinates:
40°21’09.2″N 18°10’21.1″E
40.352554, 18.172540 - click and route

Part of the Roman amphitheater in Lecce
3. Piazza del Duomo

This is the second square in Lecce that must be visited. Is beautiful! Tightly surrounded by beautiful buildings (cathedral, belfry, bishop's palace, seminary). This is one of the rare examples of a square that is tightly closed, surrounded on three sides by buildings, and on the fourth side closed with a wall with only one entrance. When entering the square, note that the facade of the cathedral (which is also not common) is not in front of the entrance to the square. The architects wanted to avoid the "flat wall" effect. This solution exposes the decorative facades of the buildings surrounding the square and the space created by Piazza de Duomo.
You will also find tourist information. In the evening, a special illumination turns on here, in which the square takes on a new dimension. You must absolutely see this!
An interesting fact is that the area of ​​the square is not an urban area and belongs to the Curia (it could as well function on principles similar to the Vatican in Rome).

Piazza del Duomo, GPS coordinates:
40°21’07.6″N 18°10’08.0″E
40.352104, 18.168876 - click and route

Piazza del Duomo in Lecce
4. Palazzo Palmieri

Consisting of some fifty perfectly restored rooms, the palace did not belong to the Palmieri family from the beginning. He came into their possession a little later. Its present name is taken from the name of Giuseppe Palmieri, director general of the Higher Finance Council of the Kingdom of Naples.
In 1840, Alexandre Dumas lived in the palace for a short time, but the fact that Giovanni Boccaccio wrote "The Decameron" is much more visible in its walls. Visitors to the palace say that the interiors still radiate the atmosphere of a great master and come here to draw some of this energy.
In 1807, the king of Naples, Joseph Bonaparte (the elderly lack of Emperor Napoleon I) stayed in the palace, and his room was completely preserved. His successor Joachim Murat (also the king of Naples and Napoleon's brother-in-law) left a peculiar memento in the palace: he engraved his name with a diamond ring on the mirror in the living room 🙂

Palazzo Palmieri, GPS coordinates:
40°21’13.9″N 18°10’06.3″E
40.353850, 18.168416 - click and route

Palazzo Palmieri, Lecce
5. Palazzo Guarini

A palace with a beautiful XNUMXth-century rococo façade with many decorations, balconies and cornices. Above the entrance to the palace there is the coat of arms of the Guarini family.

Palazzo Guarini, GPS coordinates:
40°21’21.9″N 18°10’07.5″E
40.356087, 18.168754 - click and route

6. Porta Napoli

The arch was once the city gate and the beginning of the road to Naples (hence its name). During the renovation works that took place in the XNUMXth century, the gate on both sides was stripped of parts of the city walls. In this way, from the gate in honor of Emperor Charles V (the builder of the city walls), after the demolition of fragments of these walls, a triumphal arch was created in his honor (a bit funny).
There is an inscription on the gate (my translation may be a bit clumsy):
"To the Emperor Caesar Charles V, distinguished triumphant in India, Gaul and Africa; a tamer of rebellious Christians, a terrorist and a slayer of the Turks; a world propagator of the Christian religion in deeds and words; the governor of the province of Ferrante Loffredo, who knew how to keep Turks and the enemies of the empire away from the beaches of Salento and Japan;
The University and the grateful people of Lecce dedicated this arch to His greatness and majesty in 1548 "

Porta Napoli, GPS coordinates:
40°21’23.3″N 18°10’06.9″E
40.356463, 18.168577 - click and route

Porta Napoli from the back is a bit less stylish, but from this side you can clearly see that it used to be a part of the city wall
7. Palazzo Loffredo Adorno

Currently the seat of the Presidium of the Province of Lecce. This is one of the most interesting examples of Lecce's XNUMXth-century architecture. It is worth paying special attention to the decoration of the entrance portal, with the applied symmetrical alternation of decorating elements, creating a fantastic mosaic of shapes that perfectly cooperate with the light falling on them. Master's work and the use of optical phenomena.

Palazzo Loffredo Adorno, GPS coordinates:
40°21’19.4″N 18°10’21.3″E
40.355401, 18.172580 - click and route

8. Basilica di Santa Croce

The construction of the basilica was completed in 1695 after almost 150 years of work. Its façade is awe-inspiring and is now considered the pinnacle of Lecce baroque, but this was not always the case. Even in the nineteenth century, both the layout and decorations of the basilica met almost exclusively negative opinions of critics. It was widely accepted that the basilica was a good example of bad taste and ridiculousness in architecture. The XNUMXth century brought a change. Much research and analysis was carried out and published on the complex symbolism of the church's façade, which ultimately led to it being considered an architectural masterpiece of the city.

Basilica of the Holy Cross, GPS coordinates:
40°21’17.0″N 18°10’22.4″E
40.354707, 18.172876 - click and route

Lecce - parking lots

Below you will find the GPS coordinates of the car parks, the locations of which are marked on the sightseeing map. The numbering of the car parks corresponds to the numbering in the descriptions below.

Public car park P1, GPS coordinates:
40°21’18.7″N 18°10’00.7″E
40.355199, 18.166863 - click and route

Public car park P2, GPS coordinates:
40°21’08.7″N 18°09’54.0″E
40.352412, 18.165010 - click and route

Public car park P3, GPS coordinates:
40°21’25.3″N 18°10’07.5″E
40.357038, 18.168753 - click and route

"Golden Hour" in one of the streets of Lecce

Lecce - accommodations and hotels

Lecce is a good starting point for exploring the farthest corners The Salentian Peninsula. It offers a wide range of accommodation and gastronomy, and at the same time it is a fantastic city in which to spend time with pleasure. If you add moderate prices and no tiring crowds, it will be really difficult to find a better place.
Below you will find some interesting places to stay and a slightly more detailed description of the place where we slept.

WARNING!
If you are going to book a hotel then I have a request. Do it from my link to booking.com - [click]. You will pay exactly the samebut by the way, I will get a commission. Of course, you can do it without clicking on my link and then you will pay the same price (not a penny cheaper) and the entire commission will go to one of these portals, but I believe that my work is worth one click, which costs you nothing. Many readers write to me that my texts were very useful. Making such a reservation will be the best thank you.
So if this is not a problem for you, when booking a hotel, go to my website, click the link above, and then simply book any accommodation. Thanks in advance!

Corte dei Romiti - [click]

For the price of EUR 24 per person per night, we were given a very clean and comfortable 55 square meter apartment consisting of a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. After days filled with sightseeing, we rested there with great pleasure. The apartment was situated in a quiet alley overlooking the main Via Giuseppe Palmieri walking trail. From the most beautiful square in Lecce Piazza del Duomo maybe 100 m between us, but the location of the accommodation in the bend of the street was such that we could not hear any unwanted sounds.
The hotel offers free parking. There is enough space in front of the hotel to park 4 cars, but that is not a problem as the hotel only has XNUMX apartments, so there was enough space for everyone.

This is the neighborhood right next to the Corte dei Romiti hotel

When traveling to the hotel, you must use the navigation system which has the latest maps. The city has undergone a thorough reorganization of traffic and the directions of most one-way streets have changed. Navigation with slightly crossed maps will be completely lost. We experienced it ourselves. Only the use of Google navigation on the phone helped, and then it turned out that getting to the hotel was very easy, because it really is.
Breakfast is served directly to your room. At the appointed time, the lady knocks on the door and brings a fresh breakfast. Usually, he adds a jar of exceptional-tasting homemade preserves to his breakfast every day. Lick your fingers!
If it turns out that you sit down too long in the evening and you are not ready to take over breakfast at a certain time in the morning, this is not a problem. The bedroom is separated from the living room by a door that can be closed for the night. The lady will quietly enter the living room, leave the breakfast waiting for you.
We remember this stay very well.

View from the living room to the bedroom and kitchen of the Corte dei Romiti hotel
Bedroom, Corte dei Romiti
… And a bathroom, Corte dei Romiti
Suite Paisiello - [click]

Perfectly located on Via Giuseppe Palmieri, 60 m2 holiday home in a historic tenement house. This place is an attraction in itself. It guarantees exceptional comfort, perfect conditions for relaxation and exploring the city at any time of the day or night.

Dimora Serafini - [click]

A holiday home with an area of ​​80m2, fully equipped with everything you may need. Located in the immediate vicinity of the old town, right next to Porta Napoli. We rate very highly by the guests.

Apartment Don Giuliano Centro - [click]

A medium-sized (35 m2), comfortable, clean and cheap apartment. A great proposition if you want to live comfortably and at an attractive price. Conveniently located.

Dimora storica Le Perle - [click]

Located in the old part of the city, the apartment provides everything you need to comfortably visit and relax. It is hard to find a better price for such a comfortable accommodation in this location.
If you're looking to stay overnight in the historic part of Lecce for little money, this could be a good idea.


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2 thoughts on "Lecce - attractions, sightseeing, map, restaurants, hotels, accommodation, parking lots. Guide."

  • 21 July 2020 about 11: 45
    Permalink

    When you look at such beautiful photos, you immediately want to pack your luggage and set off on a journey iamy Regards!

    Reply
  • 6 July 2021 about 11: 45
    Permalink

    A very helpful article for anyone going to Lecce. The map is great. Everything at a glance.

    Reply

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