17 Best Places and Things To Do in Lecce, Italy

Lecce, often referred to as the “Florence of the South,” is a beautiful city located in the southern region of Italy known as Puglia. Renowned for its stunning Baroque architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene, Lecce offers visitors a delightful blend of ancient charm and modern sophistication. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Lecce:

1. Piazza del Duomo

Image Source: https://www.leccenelsalento.it/piazza-duomo/

Start your exploration of Lecce at the Piazza del Duomo, the heart of the city. This grand square is dominated by the magnificent Lecce Cathedral, also known as the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta. Admire the intricate facade of the cathedral, adorned with ornate carvings and sculptures. Address: Located in the heart of Lecce’s historic center. Address: Piazza Duomo, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

2. Basilica di Santa Croce

Image Source: https://www.lacasarana.it/il-trionfo-del-barocco-leccese-la-maestosa-basilica-di-santa-croce/

A true masterpiece of Baroque architecture, the Basilica di Santa Croce is a must-visit attraction in Lecce. Every inch of its facade is meticulously carved, depicting various religious and mythological scenes. Take your time to admire the intricate details and marvel at the skill of the craftsmen who created this stunning church. Address: Piazza Basilica di Santa Croce, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

3. Roman Amphitheatre

Image Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/roman-amphitheatre-of-lecce

Discover Lecce’s ancient past at the Roman Amphitheatre, located near the city center. This well-preserved amphitheater dates back to the 2nd century and once accommodated up to 25,000 spectators. Explore the ruins and imagine the gladiatorial contests and other spectacles that took place here centuries ago. Address: Via Cappuccini, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

4. Santa Maria della Grazia

Image Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g194791-d5602283-Reviews-Chiesa_Santa_Maria_della_Grazia-Lecce_Province_of_Lecce_Puglia.html

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Lecce, the Church of Santa Maria della Grazia is a hidden gem worth visiting. This small church boasts a remarkable ceiling adorned with intricate frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible. The artistry and vibrant colors make it a truly enchanting sight. Address: Via Giuseppe Libertini, 21, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

5. Lecce’s Historic Center

Image Source: https://www.expedia.ca/Lecce-Lecce-Historic-Center.dx553248623652423023

Take a leisurely stroll through the winding streets of Lecce’s historic center, known as the “Centro Storico.” Marvel at the ornate balconies, elaborate doorways, and delicate ironwork that adorn the buildings. The atmospheric streets are lined with charming cafes, boutique shops, and restaurants where you can savor the local cuisine. Address: The historic center encompasses various streets and squares in the city center.

6. Piazza Sant’Oronzo

Image Source: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/it/lifestyle/viaggi/a29001397/piazza-sant-oronzo-lecce/

Visit the bustling Piazza Sant’Oronzo, named after the city’s patron saint. This vibrant square is home to the iconic Roman column, topped with a bronze statue of Saint Oronzo. Enjoy a coffee at one of the cafes surrounding the square and soak in the lively atmosphere. Address: Piazza Sant’Oronzo, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

7. Museo Faggiano

Image Source: https://www.culturalheritageonline.com/location-4463_Museo-Faggiano—Virtual-Tour-360%C2%B0.php

Immerse yourself in Lecce’s rich history and culture by visiting its museums. The Museo Faggiano offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past with its underground archaeological site. The Museo Storico Citta di Lecce showcases a diverse collection of art and artifacts, including ancient pottery and religious icons. Address: Via Ascanio Grandi, 56, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

8. Local Cuisine

Image Source: https://anamericaninrome.com/2021/09/what-to-eat-in-lecce-puglia/

Indulge in the flavors of Puglia by sampling the local cuisine in Lecce. Try traditional dishes such as orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce, pasticciotto (a delicious pastry filled with custard), and frisella (a type of dry bread topped with tomatoes and olive oil). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine.

9. Porto Cesareo

Image Source: https://www.expedia.com/Porto-Cesareo.dx6047158

Porto Cesareo is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a favorite destination for sunseekers and water sports enthusiasts. The town offers a charming harbor, delicious seafood restaurants, and a laid-back atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, and boat excursions to explore the nearby marine reserve and small islands off the coast. Address: Porto Cesareo, 73010 Porto Cesareo LE, Italy.

Porto Cesareo can be easily reached from Lecce by car or public transportation.

10. Torre dell’Orso

Image Source: https://turismo.puglia.it/lecce/torre-dell-orso/

Known for its stunning sandy beach and clear turquoise waters, Torre dell’Orso is a popular destination for beach lovers and families. The town takes its name from the iconic “Two Sisters” limestone cliffs that rise from the sea near the shore. Visitors can relax on the beach, take a refreshing swim, or explore the area’s natural beauty.

In addition to its beautiful beach, Torre dell’Orso also boasts a charming town center with shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a great place to enjoy local cuisine, try delicious gelato, or simply take a leisurely stroll along the promenade.

To reach Torre dell’Orso from Lecce, you can take a bus or drive along the coastal road. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes by car.

11. Punta Prosciutto

Image Source: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g3600946-Punta_Prosciutto_Porto_Cesareo_Province_of_Lecce_Puglia-Vacations.html

Punta Prosciutto is known for its breathtakingly beautiful sandy beach and crystal-clear turquoise waters. It is often referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. The long stretch of coastline offers soft white sand, dunes, and shallow waters, making it an ideal destination for families and sunbathers.

The beach is surrounded by a natural reserve, creating a peaceful and unspoiled atmosphere. Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the calm waters, or simply take in the stunning coastal views. It’s worth noting that Punta Prosciutto can get quite busy during the peak summer season, so arriving early in the day is recommended.

To reach Punta Prosciutto from Lecce, you can drive or take a bus. The journey by car takes approximately 1 hour, while the bus ride may take a bit longer due to stops along the way.

12. Lecce’s Craftsmanship

Image Source: https://www.beautifulpuglia.com/cartapesta-lecce-artistic-legacy/

Lecce is renowned for its craftsmanship, particularly in the art of papier-mâché. Visit local workshops and boutiques to witness skilled artisans creating intricate sculptures, masks, and decorative objects using this traditional technique. You can even try your hand at papier-mâché under the guidance of a master craftsman. Address: Craftsmanship workshops and boutiques are scattered throughout the city. You can explore different areas to find these establishments.

13. Palazzo dei Celestini

Image Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g194791-d10486898-Reviews-Palazzo_dei_Celestini-Lecce_Province_of_Lecce_Puglia.html

Step inside the elegant Palazzo dei Celestini, a former monastery that now serves as a cultural center. Admire the beautiful courtyard and explore the exhibition halls, which often host contemporary art exhibitions, photography displays, and cultural events. The rooftop terrace offers panoramic views of the city. Address: Piazzetta G. Paladini, 1, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy.

14. Visit Gallipoli

Image Source: https://www.expedia.com/Gallipoli.dx603111

Take a day trip to the coastal town of Gallipoli, located just a short drive from Lecce. Stroll through the charming historic center, characterized by narrow alleys, picturesque squares, and a beautiful seaside promenade. Visit the Angevin Castle, enjoy panoramic views from the city walls, and relax on the sandy beaches. Address: Approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Lecce. Gallipoli, 73014 Gallipoli LE, Italy.

15. Otranto

Image Source: https://www.viator.com/tours/Lecce/Otranto-and-CastroFull-Day-Tour/d22769-33499P7

Explore the coastal town of Otranto, located on the easternmost tip of Italy. Wander through the charming streets of the historic center, visit the impressive Otranto Cathedral with its mosaic floor, and enjoy the panoramic views from the imposing Aragonese Castle. Don’t miss the chance to relax on the beautiful beaches and swim in the turquoise waters. Approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) east of Lecce. Address: Otranto, 73028 Otranto LE, Italy.

16. Lecce by Night

Image Source: https://www.zonzofox.com/lecce/what-to-see/get-inspired/featured-guide/lecce-by-night-walk

Lecce takes on a magical atmosphere at night. As the sun sets, the city’s architectural wonders are beautifully illuminated, creating a romantic ambiance. Take an evening stroll through the historic center, enjoy a candlelit dinner at a traditional trattoria, or sip a cocktail at a trendy rooftop bar, soaking in the vibrant nightlife of Lecce. Address: Various establishments throughout Lecce’s historic center offer evening dining and entertainment options.

17. Salento Coastline Boat Tour

Image Source: https://www.salentoexperience.it/en/tours/boat-tours/11-boat-trip-in-salento

Discover the stunning coastline of Salento on a boat tour. Sail along the azure waters, passing by dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and charming seaside villages. Stop for a swim in secluded bays, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of this picturesque region. Address: Boat tours depart from different ports along the Salento coastline. Specific addresses and departure points will depend on the chosen tour operator.