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Lecce (Italy)
Country Italy
region Apulia
province Lecce  (LE)
Coordinates 40 ° 21 ′  N , 18 ° 10 ′  E Coordinates: 40 ° 21 ′ 0 ″  N , 18 ° 10 ′ 0 ″  E
height 49  m slm
surface 238 km²
Residents 96,534 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 406 inhabitants / km²
Post Code 73100
prefix 0832
ISTAT number 075035
Popular name Leccesi
Patron saint Sant'Oronzo, San Giusto and San Fortunato (August 26th)
Website Lecce
Collage Lecce.jpg
Aerial view of Lecce

Lecce (from Latin Lupiae ) is a city on the Salento peninsula in Apulia in Italy . The place is the capital of the province of Lecce and has 96,534 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019).

In the area around Lecce a soft tuff stone (Pietra Leccese) is being mined, which enabled the rapid spread of the Lecce Baroque , the numerous buildings of which can be admired in the city center. Because of the city's own barocco leccese , it was also called the “ Florence of the Rococo ” or “Florence of the South”. One of the most famous examples of Lecce's Baroque style is the facade of the Santa Croce Basilica .

Lecce is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lecce .


According to legend, the city was founded in 1211 BC. And is attributed to Malemnius, the son of Dasumnus and first king of the Messapians . The legend also reports that the city was occupied by Lictius Idomeneus after the destruction of Troy , who is said to have given it its name and made it accessible to Greek culture. The real origin of the city of Lecce is shrouded in darkness. In the 1st century the legendary Saint Oronzo , who has only been venerated as the city saint since the plague epidemic in 1658, is said to have Christianized the region and became the first bishop of Lecce.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire , Lecce was sacked by the Ostrogoths under King Totila . In 549 it was recaptured from Byzantium and remained part of the Eastern Roman Empire for five centuries , interrupted by brief invasions by the Saracens , Longobards , Hungarians and Slavs . Since the conquest of southern Italy by the Normans , Lecce has been the center of the county of Lecce. The city experienced its heyday in the late Middle Ages. At that time (around 1360) the county of Lecce was united with the county of Conversano , which belonged to the Counts of Enghien , and slowly awoke to new life after the decline to which it fell after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and in the course of the following years.

The city experienced its economic and artistic heyday between 1550 and 1750. Under Charles V , Lecce was strongly fortified and designated as the administrative center of Salento . At that time, the old town of Lecce received its characteristic baroque appearance today. The numerous buildings in the typical Lecce Baroque style have given Lecce the nickname “Florence of the Baroque”. Although Lecce is by no means closed to the achievements of modern times, it has largely retained its original appearance. The Roman amphitheater was partially exposed at the time of Mussolini , and valuable older buildings were demolished. In 1955, the State University of Lecce (now Università del Salento ) was founded.


  • Charles V castle from the 16th century with trapezoidal walls and four bastions, built from 1539 to 1549 according to plans by Gian Giacomo dell'Acaja and incorporating a previous Norman building. The Museo della Cartapesta housed in the Castello shows paper mache works by local artists.
  • Basilica Santa Croce , started in 1549 based on designs by Gabriele Riccardi , completed in the mid-17th century under Francesco Antonio Zimbalo , with a precious carved and gilded coffered ceiling from the first half of the 17th century
  • Church of Saints Niccolò and Cataldo was donated by Tankred of Lecce in 1180 . The originally Romanesque facade was changed by baroque decorations and in 1716 statues by Giuseppe Cino were added.
  • Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie , built in the 2nd half of the 16th century, designed by the Theatine monk Michele Coluccio da Rossano Veneto according to the architectural principles of the Counter-Reformation
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Roman amphitheater from the 2nd century AD, built for 20,000 spectators;
  • Piazza Sant'Oronzo ; The column of Saint Oronzo in the square is of ancient origin. It is one of the two twin columns that marked the end of the Via Appia in Brindisi . It is a gift from the city of Brindisi to Lecce, because the saint, patron saint of Lecce, is said to have ended an outbreak of the plague in Brindisi. The statue that crowns the column was cast in Venice in 1739 by Emanuele Manieri (1714–1780) from Lecce .
  • Piazza Mazzini , built in the period of urban expansion in the 20th century, is the focal point of the city's modern business and commercial district.
  • Palazzo del Seggio , called Il Sedile in Piazza Sant'Oronzo: It was built towards the end of the 16th century by the representative of the Republic of Venice in Lecce. Immediately next to the palace is the Chiesetta di San Marco , the church of the then large Venetian community, with a lion of St. Mark above the portal.
  • Obelisk , erected in 1822 in honor of Ferdinand I.


Carlo Maria Salvemini (independent, center-left) was elected Mayor on June 25, 2017.

Population development

year 1861 1881 1901 1921 1936 1951 1971 1991 2001 2009
Residents 15,594 25,442 32,029 39,556 49,261 63,831 83,050 102.213 83,303 94,774

Source: ISTAT


The wine trade and tobacco processing are important branches of the economy in the city, which is still prosperous today. An intensive agritourism has developed in the area.

The military is also an important economic factor. To the south of the city is the Lecce-Galatina military airfield , to the east on the Adriatic coast between Frigole and San Cataldo, the army cavalry and armored troop school with the Torre Veneri training area . The school also has facilities in the city center.

There is a CNH Industrial factory in Lecce . The Case and New Holland brand wheel loaders are built there.


Lecce can be reached with the Italian State Railways via the Ancona – Lecce line from the north. Two branch lines operated by Ferrovie del Sud Est lead into the region:

The nearest international airport is Brindisi Airport , north of Lecce approx. 50 km away. There are several small airfields in the vicinity of the city, including the Lecce-San Cataldo airfield .

Lecce can be reached by car via the well-developed and toll-free SS 16 ( E 55 ) from Bari via Brindisi. The core city is surrounded by a ring of the state road SS 16 with a diameter of about 7 km, so that the narrow streets in the inner area are hardly burdened with through traffic.


Lecce is home to the Italian soccer club US Lecce , which plays its games in the local stadium Via del Mare .

Town twinning

Lecce cultivates partnership relationships


sons and daughters of the town


  • Ekkehart Rotter: Apulia . Trips to Byzantine grotto churches, Norman cathedrals, Hohenstaufen forts and baroque buildings in Lecce. (=  DuMont art travel guide ). 6th edition. Dumont Reise Verlag, Ostfildern 2012, ISBN 3-7701-4314-0 .

Web links

Commons : Lecce  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Lecce  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics of the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31 of 2019.
  2. Dorothee Kemper: SS. Niccolò e Cataldo in Lecce as a starting point for the development of medieval architectural sculpture in Apulia and the Basilicata (= manuscripts for art history in the Werner publishing company 41). Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1994, ISBN 978-3-88462-940-6 .
  3. "Elezioni comunali 2017" . Ministero dell'Interno.
  4. Commune Lecce - Gemellaggi ( Memento of the original dated August 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.comune.lecce.it