Known as the Florence of the South or as the Lady of the Baroque, Lecce is a little gem of our boot, one of those who know how to make you fall in love. Located in a fairly central position of the Salento peninsula, a few kilometers from both the Ionian and the Adriatic, Lecce is nothing less than the easternmost capital of Italy, as well as the main nerve center of Salento.
Thanks to targeted interventions in the tourism sector implemented in recent years (to which we must obviously add the beauty inherent in the place), Lecce has become one of the favorite destinations for Italians and foreigners passing through Puglia, extending its fame to international level. Here, we tell you what to see in the city on a weekend, focusing above all on the main attractions but also on the best restaurants and night clubs.
- 10 (+2) things to see in Lecce in a weekend
- What to see in Lecce in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Lecce: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Lecce
- Plan your stay in Lecce: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 (+2) things to see in Lecce in a weekend
1 - Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta
The most important religious building in Lecce it is certainly the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta, located in the historic center, more precisely in Piazza del Duomo. It is a simple but impressive church, the result of several changes and readjustments of the original structure dating back to the mid-1600s.
From the outside, the cathedral has a facade divided into two orders, with statues, columns and niches. Inside, on the other hand, there are three Latin cross naves, divided between them by semi-columns.
Do not miss the ancient pipe organ, but also the wooden ceiling inside which some canvases by the artist Giuseppe da Brindisi are set.
- it is quite simple, given its central location. You are only a 2-minute walk from the town hall (following via Vittorio Emanuele II and then Piazza del Duomo); from the station instead about 12 minutes, following Viale Quarta - Get directions
- every day, from 7:30 to 12:00 and from 15:30 to 18:00
- it is free, while if you want to visit the Crypt the cost is € 1,00 per person
- free walking tour among the beauties of the city
2 - Piazza del Duomo
Another very famous square in Lecce is Piazza del Duomo, which we have already mentioned above. It is a typical example of a Baroque square, as well as one of the rare examples of a closed square: once upon a time, in fact, the doors of the square were closed as soon as the sun went down. Today the square looks like a large open-air courtyard, characterized by a well-designed illusion, known as a false facade: as soon as you enter the square, it seems to be in front of the main facade of the Duomo, yet crossing the threshold of the church you realize that in reality the facade stretches out into Piazza del Duomo is that of one of the two side naves (made similar in decoration to that of the main one). In this way, the square is made more scenic and the visitor has the feeling of greater solemnity.
- The indications for the Duomo and for the Piazza are obviously the same. You are only a 2-minute walk from the town hall (following via Vittorio Emanuele II and then Piazza del Duomo); from the station instead it takes about 12 minutes, following Viale Quarta - Get directions
- always accessible
3 - Basilica of Santa Croce
The best representative of the Lecce Baroque, however, it is the Basilica of Santa Croce, always built in the historic center. Its construction began in 1549, although the dome was only completed in the early 1600s. Already by observing it from the outside, you can see the typical architectural elements of the Baroque: the large rose window, the balustrade decorated with cherubs, not to mention the richly decorated tympanum. The same elements are also found when crossing the entrance: the church, divided into five naves, is characterized by tall columns with decorations and ceilings with gold inserts, as well as by 16 baroque altars, one for each side chapel.
- it is located in the historic center, in via Umberto I. To get there on foot from the Municipality, you must follow via Antoglietta which leads to your destination in just over 5 minutes. From the station instead we talk about a quarter of an hour, following via Quarta - Get directions
- every day, from 9:00 to 20:00
4 - Castle of Lecce
Another rather well-known building in the city is the Castle of Lecce, wanted by the sovereign Charles V as a defensive fortress. The Castle has a square plan and two access doors (the first door facing the city, and the second facing where the countryside once was) on which the coat of arms of the Habsburgs still appears, as well as the remains of the ancient moat.
In reality, however, the original structure seems to be much older than the period of Charles V, so much so that some scholars even speak of remains from the th century.
Today, the Castle has obviously lost its key role in controlling and defending the city and its internal rooms host exhibitions and cultural events.
- it is located near the Duomo and Piazza del Duomo. From the Municipality it can be easily reached in less than 4 minutes on foot, from the Station instead in less than 20 minutes - Get directions
- every day, from 9:30 to 20:30
- full € 3,00 per person, reduced € 2,00
5 - Porta Napoli
Also known as the Arc de Triomphe, Porta Napoli is the main gateway to the city of Lecce.
Erected in 1548, it was dedicated in honor of the emperor Charles V for the many interventions implemented in favor of the city defense. The structure has a single archway, next to which Corinthian columns develop (two on the right and two on the left) that support a triangular pediment, decorated in turn with imperial insignia.
The Gate was built on the same spot where the ancient Porta San Giusto previously stood, which according to popular belief protected the remains of the saint.
- from the station in less than 20 minutes, walking along via Giuseppe Palmieri. From the Municipality, as from the Duomo, you will get there in about 7 minutes - Get directions
- always accessible
6 - Piazza Sant'Oronzo and the Roman Amphitheater
More than just a square, Piazza Sant'Oronzo is a kind of sitting room in the city of Lecce, elegant and refined. In fact, some of the most significant buildings of the urban fabric overlook the square, including the Palazzetto del Sedile (i.e. the ancient municipal seat), the Church of San Marco and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Part of the square is even occupied by the remains of a famous amphitheater dating back to the Roman period and found in the early twentieth century (unfortunately the building is closed to the public for important maintenance work, however it is worth at least looking at it from the outside). Finally, in the center, stands the column given to the city by Brindisi, on the top of which the statue of Sant'Oronzo has been placed.
- along via Vittorio Emanuele II you will arrive in less than 3 minutes. Starting from the station instead and covering almost the entire Viale Quarta you will arrive in a quarter of an hour - Get directions
- always accessible
7 - Tower of the Park
Torre del Parco, in the heart of Lecce, is one of the most representative monuments about the medieval / Renaissance past of the city. Built in the early 1400s by the then Prince of Taranto, Giannantonio Orsini Del Balzo, the Tower is 23 meters high and divided into three levels; moreover the structure is surrounded by a moat (inside which, it is said, bears, symbol of the Giannantonio family, were raised).
In the surroundings of the Tower, a wonderful park hosted fairs, markets but also public events of the city, such as walks of nobles and processions. Today the green area is a bit more restricted than in the past, however, it is still possible to take refuge there to take a breath of air and relax.
- the tower is clearly visible in Viale Torre del Parco, which can be reached on foot in 18 minutes from the station and in 15 minutes from Piazza del Duomo - Get directions
- the tower is private property and can only be visited from the outside
8 - Roman theater
In addition to the famous Roman Amphitheater (in Piazza Sant'Oronzo), we recommend that you also go to the Roman Theater, also in the center. The complex is nothing less than the only example of civil architecture intended for theater in all of Puglia.
Discovered by pure chance in 1929, this ancient theater seems to date back to the age of Emperor Augustus (therefore the 6st century AD): inside it is still clearly visible the stage, 30 meters wide and more than 5.000 long, on which they were performed the representations. The 19 spectators instead took their seats on the front steps, with a diameter of about meters.
- it is practically behind Piazza del Duomo. From the Municipality you can get there in a few minutes on foot. From the station instead in about ten minutes - Get directions
- from Monday to Saturday, from 9: 30 to 13: 00
- 4,00 € per person
9 - Historical-archaeological museum (MUSA)
Born from the collaboration with the University of Lecce and that of Naples, the Historical-Archaeological Museum collects various artifacts from the past (from Prehistory to the Middle Ages) found in some areas of Salento, but also in various locations of the Mediterranean East.
In its five exhibition rooms you can retrace the history and crucial events of these locations, as well as discover through photos and videos some very interesting background of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Hierapolis, Turkey.
- the museum is almost a kilometer from the city center, which means that on foot, starting from the Municipality, you will arrive there in about ten minutes, passing through via Palmieri. From the station, however, it takes about 25 minutes - Get directions
- Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 13:10, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 to 13:30 and from 15:00 to 17:30
10 - Church of San Niccolò dei Greci
Among the main attractions of Lecce that we recommend you visit, we cannot fail to mention the small Church of San Niccolò dei Greci, not far from the Basilica of Santa Croce. Built in 1765 in a neoclassical style, this small church was dedicated to the Greek and Albanian merchants who lived in the city. Very particular for the architectural style that incorporates the remains of a church before it, the Church of San Niccolò still hosts Greek Orthodox religious celebrations today.
- it is located in a beautiful Apulian square, near via Ascanio Grandi and the Basilica of Santa Croce. From the station you can arrive in less than 20 minutes, from the Municipality instead in less than 10 - Get directions
- open Saturday and Sunday (morning and afternoon)
11 - Faggiano Museum
Finally, another very interesting archaeological museum in the city is the Faggiano Museum. It was born almost by chance in early 2001, when the owner of an ancient historic building was forced to undertake work to repair the sewer pipes, discovering, under the floors, a priceless treasure. Since then this museum has become a milestone for the whole city of Lecce, revealing the presence and alternation of different populations and cultures over the centuries. Inside the museum you can admire more than 2000 years of history told through various testimonies (from a small child's tomb to an old dryer, from very ancient and well-preserved ceramic finds to an underground passage that served as a link between the buildings of the city).
- the Museum is located near the historic center, not far from Palazzo Grassi. From the city hall it takes just over 5 minutes on foot, along via del Palazzo dei Conti. From the station it is about ten minutes - Get directions
- every day from 9: 30 to 20: 00
- full € 5,00, reduced € 3,00
12 - The beaches of Lecce
Lecce is not only and exclusively beautiful in the vicinity of the historic center, but moving a few kilometers away you can come across breathtaking beaches and marine scenarios!
Among the most beautiful places near the sea, we highly recommend you to visit Rinalda Tower (so called for the presence of a watchtower, built at the behest of Charles V) and in the surrounding area: here the coast is mostly sandy, and the color of the sea is a beautiful crystalline blue that will make you want to take a dip.
Not far, too Chianca Tower worth a visit: appreciated for its golden sand and dream sea, here you will also find a grove not far from the beach where you can relax and shelter from the sun, but also fields of sunflowers that extend as far as the eye can see.
Finally, don't miss the Frigole beach, characterized by a shallow seabed (also suitable for children) and by the beautiful Mediterranean scrub behind it.
- taking the car and following the provincial road towards the sea, it is possible to reach the coast in about twenty minutes. Below, we show you the indications for the northernmost beach, that of Torre Rinalda - Get directions
- always accessible
What to see in Lecce in one day: recommended itinerary
Lecce is truly a little gem and living it on foot is certainly a great way to discover the city and its hidden treasures. For this, we have prepared an itinerary to follow, especially suitable if you spend only one day in the city and want to visit its main monuments.
Morning: Our itinerary in Lecce starts from the area around Piazza Sant'Oronzo. In fact, nearby there is one of the best bars in the city where you can taste a delicious pasticciotto from Lecce: Caffè Alvino. After breakfast, we suggest you take a trip to the nearby Piazza di Sant'Oronzo, especially to see the beautiful Roman Amphitheater from the outside, and then walk towards the Basilica of Santa Croce, the second most important religious building in Lecce. A little further on there is also the adorable little church of San Niccolò dei Greci, open only on weekends. From here, continue on to Porta Napoli, also known as the Arc de Triomphe of Lecce. As lunchtime is approaching, we advise you to walk towards the lively Piazza del Duomo and then dedicate time to a visit inside the Cathedral of Lecce and the nearby Roman Theater.
Afternoon: lunch at La Torre di Merlino restaurant, with furnishings reminiscent of the interiors of a medieval fortress and a wide choice of local dishes.
After lunch, if time permits, retrieve your car and enjoy some relaxation by the sea on one of the beautiful beaches of the coast (Torre Rinalda, Frigole, etc.). Alternatively, immerse yourself inside the Faggiano Museum and its incredible collection of historical artifacts.
Sera: to end this day in Lecce in the best possible way, go to the Castle of Charles V for a romantic evening walk, and then stop for dinner at the 3 Rane restaurant, probably the best in the whole city. Enjoy your meal!
One day itinerary at a glance
- Breakfast at Caffè Alvino, Piazza Sant'Oronzo, 30 - Get directions
- Piazza Sant'Oronzo: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Roman Amphitheatre (can only be visited from the outside)
- Basilica of the Holy Cross: every day from 9:00 to 20:00 - ticket price: free
- Church of San Niccolò dei Greci: open only Saturday and Sunday (morning-afternoon) - ticket price: free
- Porta Napoli: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Piazza del Duomo: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Lecce Cathedral: every day from 7:30 to 12:00 and from 15:30 to 18:00 - ticket price: free (€ 1,00 for the Crypt)
- Teatro novel: from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 to 13:00 - ticket price: full € 4,00
- Lunch at La Torre di Merlino, via Giambattista del, Via Tufo, 10 - Get directions
- Faggiano Museum: every day from 9:30 to 20:00 - ticket cost: full € 5,00 reduced € 3,00
- Castle of Charles V: every day from 9:30 to 20:30 ticket cost: full € 3,00 reduced € 2,00
- Price at 3 Rane Ristoro, Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 7 - Get directions
Where to eat in Lecce: the best restaurants
- 3 Rane Refreshments: excellent raw materials (strictly from the area!) combined in an unusual way in dishes. Advance booking is required.
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 7 (Get directions) / tel: 3755040165
- Get us Taste: gastropub specializing in street food and quick dishes
Average price per person: € 10,00
Address and contacts: via Euippa, 1 / C (Get directions) / tel: 3476395913
- Negroamaro Restaurant: restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine and traditional Salento dishes
Average price per person: € 25,00 / 30,00
Address and contacts: viale del Risorgimento (Get directions) / tel: 0832 306686
- The Tower of Merlin: furnishings reminiscent of the interior of a medieval fortress and a wide choice of local dishes
Average price per person: € 35,00
Address and contacts: via Giambattista del Tufo, 10 (Get directions) / tel: 0832 242091
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Lecce
Lecce is a city rich in culture and monuments of great historical importance, yet with the setting of the sun the city reveals a completely different face, more goliardic and inclined to fun. The main areas of the Lecce nightlife are concentrated between Piazza Sant'Oronzo and the Church of Santa Chiara, but also in the vicinity of Porta San Biagio (once one of the three gateways to the city, today the heart of nightlife). However, the premises are scattered a bit throughout the urban fabric (just think that Lecce is also a university city among the most important in Puglia), so it will not be difficult to find a place to spend the evening with friends.
We have selected three places that we believe to be truly unmissable if you want to have fun in Lecce in the evening, between a cocktail and four jumps on the track.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- Colonial Cafe Drink: place specializing in cocktails, with a typically Cuban atmosphere
Address: via Paladini, 44 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Urban Cafe: place with a wide range of finger food, DJ sets and a wide selection of craft beers
Address: piazza Vittorio Emanuele II (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Area 51: cult disco of the place, meeting place for lovers of contemporary music (from techno to house, but also from commercial to Latin American)
Address: Strada Provinciale NoFlights-Veglie (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in Lecce: info and useful tips
How to reach us
- By car: Lecce is easily reachable by car from all major Italian cities. In particular, from the main Apulian centers it is 107 km from Taranto (SS7 and SS113, 1 h 23 min), 283 km from Foggia (A14, 3 hours), 151 km from Bari (SS379, 1 h 45 min). From the main hubs of the central south it is 407 km from Naples (A16, 4 h 12 min) and 578 km from Rome (A14, 6 hours).
- By train: there are direct connections from the main Italian cities, managed by Trenitalia and other railway companies. The Lecce train station is located just one kilometer from the city center.
- By plane: the closest airports to Lecce are Bari (167 km) and Brindisi (49 km), from which it is then possible to reach the city of Lecce through the shuttle services, which can be found just outside the arrival terminals (cost € 7,50 each way) - Flights to Bari from € 36,00 - Flights to Brindisi from € 33,00
How to move and where to park
- Getting around: Lecce is a city that is worth walking around, although we recommend that you move with your car or rent it at least for a few days: in fact, in the surroundings there are a multitude of natural wonders and not ... see at least some!
Public transport, however, includes 46 buses and 12 trolleybuses, which cover the entire urban area. The cost for the single journey is € 1,00 (€ 1,50 if purchased on board), the ticket for 90 minutes € 1,30, the ticket for 24 hours € 2,50.
- Where to park: it is the main concern of those traveling by car, especially when the parking lots are only far from the historic center. However, we suggest a couple of convenient car parks that are perfectly served by public transport which, in a few minutes, will take you to the city center: the first is the Carlo Lunch car park, located at the northern entrance of the city (Get directions). It is an uncovered parking with a paid stop (€ 0,50 per hour), not far from Porta Napoli, from which you can access the historic center on foot (alternatively, there is a shuttle service that makes 8 passes to the Now). The second, on the other hand, is the Torre del Parco car park, at the entrance to the Maglie freeway (Get directions). This too is served by the shuttles that run every 10 minutes, from 7:00 to 21:00.
Where to sleep and what to see nearby
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Torre dell'Orso (25 km - Get directions), Porto Cesareo (27 km - Get directions), Ostuni (69 km - Get directions), Cisternino (82 km - Get directions), Taranto (83 km - Get directions), Locorotondo (106 km - Get directions), Alberobello (114 km - Get directions), Otranto (45 km - Get directions), Gallipoli (40 km - Get directions), Brindisi (39 km - Get directions), Grotta della Poesia (35 km - Get directions)