Lecce, sometimes called the Florence of the south, is a Baroque wonderland and the gateway to the Salento Peninsula. Because of the soft limestone that’s easy to work, Lecce became the center for the ornate style of architecture called barocco leccese and the historic center is filled with Baroque monuments as well as a few remnants of its Roman days.
Transportation Notes: If you arrive by car, you’ll need to park outside the historic center as traffic is restricted. From the train station it’s a short walk into the center.
For a good overview of the city’s sights, take a Baroque Lecce walking tour.
A good place to start your visit is in Piazza del Duomo. Here you’ll see the cathedral and other Baroque monuments. From the square continue along Via Vittorio Emanuele, a main walking street that’s lined with shops and cafes. Stop at Piazza Sant’Oronzo where you can see part of the ancient Roman Amphitheater (not open to the public) and go to Bar Cin Cin for a typical pastry.
By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite so head to Trattoria Nonna Tetti, on Piazzetta Regina Maria, for a good meal of traditional local foods.
If you want to stay in the historic center consider Palazzo Persone’ Dimora or the upscale Risorgimento Resort.
Recommended book: Places in Puglia: Lecce the Baroque Town