Roman Amphitheatre in Piazza Sant'Oronzo, Lecce Italy
Italy destinations,  Puglia

15 Best Things to Do in Lecce, Italy

While Italy has some of the most famous cities in the world, like Rome and Venice, lesser-known destinations like Lecce may offer travellers incredible experiences, too.

If you want to see something different and experience a less-known part of Italy, Lecce and the Puglia region are fantastic places to visit.

Lecce is a city in southern Italy, located in a relatively central position on the Salento peninsula, a few kilometres from both the Ionian and Adriatic Seas.

Lecce is Italy’s easternmost provincial capital and the largest cultural centre on the Salento peninsula.

It’s rich in historical buildings and is often referred to as the Florence of the South or the Lady of the Baroque.

The city of Lecce has very ancient origins, with the first settlements dating back to the Messapic period, though the most significant traces have been discovered during the Roman period.

At that time, Lecce was known as Lupiae, and many monuments were built during the Roman age, including the Roman amphitheatre, the Roman theatre, the Column of Sant’Oronzo, the Charles V Castle, and the Church of S. Niccolò and Cataldo.

The city’s mediaeval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods were also significant, and it’s to the latter that the most important works visible today belong.

These are grouped under the name “Barocco Leccese” and were built with the crumbly Leccese stone, which has the unique property of reflecting the sun’s rays during the day and acquiring rosy hues with the setting sun.

This stone has been used to build the majority of the city’s monuments, including the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Convent of the Celestines, the Church of Sant’Irene, the Church of San Matteo, and other significant religious sites.

It’s one of the city’s main exports and has now become very popular with visitors to Lecce interested in seeing where it was originally mined.

Furthermore, Lecce is in a good location and is close to some fascinating and interesting coastal destinations, such as Gallipoli.

15 Best Things To Do in Lecce, Italy

This guide to the 15 best things to do in Lecce, Italy includes tips on when to visit, where to stay, what to see and do, and how to get around this unique city.

You’ll also find recommendations for restaurants and bars, so you can explore the local food scene as well as learn about the historical significance of some of the main attractions in town.

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Focus on the Lecce Centro Storico (Historic centre)

Things to do in Lecce Italy - Wander around the historic centre

Start your exploration of Lecce in the Centro Storico, the city’s old town. This is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s historic attractions. 

Highlights include the Roman Amphitheatre, the Duomo di Lecce (Lecce Cathedral), and the Basilica di Santa Croce. 

If you’re a fan of architecture, you’ll also want to admire the many ornate Baroque buildings in this part of town. You’ll adore the narrow streets lined with buildings made from the region’s honey-colored limestone.

A noteworthy palace is the Palazzo Marrese, perhaps the most beautiful on Via Palmieri, in the area north of Piazza del Duomo. It’s an 18th-century palace made of Lecce stone, located in Piazzetta Ignazio Falconieri, right next to another magnificent example of Baroque architecture, Palazzo Palmieri.

Pro Tip: Lecce’s baroque architecture is absolutely stunning. Let a guide lead you through the city to learn more about the history of the buildings on a Lecce Private Tour.

Start in Piazza Sant’Oronzo

Piazza Sant’Oronzo is the heart of Lecce’s old town and a great place to start exploring. It’s an elegant, heterogeneous architectural ensemble in which styles from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century coexist harmoniously.

The square is overlooked by some of the city’s most important structures, including the – – Palazzo del Seggio, the former seat of the town hall, which now hosts art exhibitions and displays; 

the adjacent Renaissance church of San Marco, a clear trace of Venice’s presence in the area; 

and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which dates from 1590.

Part of the square is even occupied by the remains of a famous Roman amphitheatre, discovered in the early twentieth century.

Finally, in the centre, stands a 29-metre-high votive column dedicated to Saint Oronzo.

Palazzo Carafa, the current seat of the municipality, is located at the far end of Piazza Sant’Oronzo.

Visit the Roman Amphitheatre

Lecce travel guide - Roman Amphitheatre in Piazza Sant'Oronzo, Lecce Italy
Roman Amphitheatre in Piazza Sant’Oronzo

The best starting point to explore Lecce is its Ancient Roman Amphitheatre, in Piazza Sant’Oronzo.

The 2nd-century AD structure wasn’t discovered until 1901, when workers began digging to build a bank. However, what you see today is only half of it; the other half hasn’t been uncovered because important buildings stand on it.

The large Roman amphitheatre once seated 25,000 spectators on its tiers and, although only the lower tier remains, concerts are still held here on occasion.

The Lecce amphitheatre is elliptical in shape, and the parapet was rich in marble reliefs depicting scenes of combat between men and animals (now preserved in the Lecce Museum). This may give you an idea of the types of shows that were held inside.

Marvel at all the churches

Lecce is also home to countless beautiful churches:

The Basilica di Santa Croce, for example, is a must-see. It’s the largest church in Lecce and is the best example of Lecce Baroque architecture. The construction of this church began in 1549, but it was not completed until the early 1600s.

The large rose window, the balustrade decorated with putti, and the richly decorated tympanum are all typical Baroque architectural elements on the exterior façade. 

The church is divided into three naves and features tall columns with decorations and ceilings with gold inlays, as well as 16 Baroque altars, one for each side chapel.

Not far from the Basilica of Santa Croce is the small Church of San Niccolò dei Greci. This small church, built in 1765 in the neoclassical style, was dedicated to the city’s Greek and Albanian merchants. 

The Church of St Niccolò dei Greci is notable for its architectural style, which incorporates the remains of a Romanesque church built according to the canons and requirements of Byzantine architecture and has a late Baroque connotation; it still hosts Greek Orthodox religious celebrations.

Lecce Travel guide - Church of Santa Chiara
Church of Santa Chiara

Another popular church is the beautiful Church of Santa Chiara, located in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. 

Because of the presence of the church, this square is known by locals as Piazzetta Santa Chiara and is the heart of Lecce’s movida.

The church was commissioned by the city’s bishop, Tommaso Ammirato, in 1429.

The façade features Corinthian columns and a beautiful portal with the Seraphic Order’s coat of arms at the top.

The interior has a single nave with chapels on both sides, with arches surmounted by grilles, where the nuns attended mass.

The church houses an 18th-century organ, 17th-century altars, and several works of art, including a painting of St. Agnes by Francesco Solimena, an Italian painter and architect.

Lecce church path, the Church of San MAtteo
Church of San Matteo

Not far from the Church of Santa Chiarayou’ll find the Church of San Matteo, which is a true Lecce jewel.

It’s a typical example of Roman Baroque architecture, built on the ruins of a chapel from the second half of the 15th century. It was designed in 1667 by Achille Larducci and features an animated façade with a convex lower section and a concave upper section with empty niches.

The interior has a single nave and a richly decorated high altar in the Baroque style. A series of chapels on the sides feature Baroque-style altars carved in Lecce stone and statues of the 12 apostles.

At the top of the chapels are ten mullioned windows. The beauty of the Church of San Matteo is enhanced by valuable paintings, statues, and an 18th-century gilded wooden organ on the entrance portal.

Lecce travel guide - The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Piazza Del Duomo
The Cathedral false façade

The most beautiful and iconic religious sights in all of Lecce is without a doubt the Duomo (the cathedral), dedicated to Maria SS Assunta and located in Piazza del Duomo, right in the heart of the city. 

The cathedral, which was originally built in the Romanesque style in 1144, underwent renovations and additions in 1230, but was not fully embellished in the Baroque style seen today until the mid-1600s.

From the outside, the Lecce Cathedral has two richly decorated facades. Columns, sculptures, and floral carvings adorn the main entrance, which faces the square and is the grander of the two. 

The second facade, which faces west, is dedicated to St. Oronzo, Lecce’s patron saint. Both have the classic Leccese architectural style.

Inside, however, there are three naves in the shape of a Latin cross, separated by pillars with semi-columns.

Not to be missed are the ancient pipe organ and the wooden ceiling, which house several paintings by Giuseppe da Brindisi.

The bell tower, which was built between 1661 and 1682 to replace the Norman one that collapsed at the beginning of the century, is separate from the cathedral’s body.

If you’re visiting Lecce, this is a must-see! 

To get there, simply head to the Piazza del Duomo.

Follow the Lecce Church Path

Things to do in Lecce - Follow the church path
Church path information

If you enjoy religious architecture and want to follow the Lecce Church Path, opt to get a full ticket at the local tourism office in Piazza del Duomo, in Piazza Sant’Oronzo or at any of the churches included. 

You can purchase a bundle ticket that includes information on which churches to prioritise, as well as a map that outlines a possible path through town to see the best of Lecce’s baroque architecture.

Even if you only plan to visit the Duomo and Santa Croce, purchasing individual tickets will cost you more than purchasing the full ticket, so it’s a no-brainer for a day of Lecce sightseeing.

It costs €9 and includes admission to the Cathedral, and the Seminary Museum in the Piazza del Duomo, to the Basilica di Santa Croce, the Chiesa di Santa Chiara, and the Chiesa di San Matteo.

Explore Lecce’s architecture in the Piazza del Duomo

Lecce travel guide - Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo, also known as Cortile del Vescovato, is the religious heart of the city and a typical example of a Baroque square, as well as one of the few examples of a closed square.

This square is unique in having only one entrance, at the intersection of Via Giuseppe Libertini and Via Vittorio Emanuele II.

While strolling through the narrow streets of the historic centre, you’ll find yourself in a large courtyard surrounded by Lecce’s Baroque architecture.

The Duomo di Lecce is to the left of the square, and you’ll feel as if you are standing in front of the cathedral’s main façade. Only after entering the church will you realise that the façade facing Piazza del Duomo is actually one of the two side aisles.

This is due to a well-planned illusion known as a “false façade,” which was designed to welcome visitors to the square.

Aside from the cathedral and its bell tower, two other buildings overlook the square: the Bishop’s Palace (Episcopio) and the Seminary.

The Episcopio, which houses the Archbishop of Lecce, was built between the 16th and 17th centuries at the request of Bishop Scipione Spina on a pre-existing 15th-century structure, with Emanuele Manieri’s valuable Baroque contribution of 1758.

The Palazzo del Seminario, on the other hand, is a historical Baroque palace built at the end of the 17th century that houses the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, a beautiful cloister, and a courtyard with the famous oval well, which is adorned with lavish sculptural decorations. 

Walk by Lecce’s many gates

As you walk around Lecce, you’ll notice a number of grand gates. These gates used to be the only way into the city as it was walled off. 

Today, they’re just a beautiful part of the architecture. Only three of them still stand, and they all lead to the historic centre:

Porta Napoli is the main entrance to the city of Lecce; it is also known as the “Arco di Trionfo” (Triumphal Arch) due to its structure, and it gets its name from facing the ancient road that took people back and forth to Naples.

It was built in 1548 to honour Charles V’s victories. It has an austere architectural structure with two Corinthian columns on each side supporting a triangular pediment decorated with Charles V’s coat of arms.

The gate was built on the site of the ancient Porta San Giusto, which is said to have protected the saint’s remains.

Porta Rudiae is the oldest of the three gates and another eye-catching entrance to Lecce’s historic centre.

The original gate had collapsed, and the one you see today was built on top of the ruins in 1703.

It’s in neoclassical style and has Baroque reminiscences, decorated with statues of saints, the central one being Saint Oronzo, the protector of the city, accompanied by the statues of St Dominic and St Irene (patron saint of Lecce before Saint Oronzo).

On the side columns are busts of Lecce’s founders, including Idomeneo, the mythical king of Crete. According to legend, after the Trojan War, he sought refuge in southern Apulia and founded Lecce. 

Lecce travel guide - Porta San Biagio one of the three ancient entries to the old town
Porta San Biagio

Porta San Biagio is an ancient Baroque gate that was built in 1774 and is dedicated to St. Biagio, a 4th century bishop who lived in Lecce.

It’s located at the southernmost end of the historic centre and welcomes you into Lecce with a statue of St. Biagio on top of the gate. The coat of arms of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon is in the centre, with the crest of Lecce displayed on both sides.

In the evening, Porta San Biagio provides access to Lecce’s nightlife, as it serves as a jumping off point for the pubs and clubs that line Via dei Perroni and Via Federico d’Aragona. These streets lead to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, a great place to spend an evening chatting and drinking.

Hear an Incredible Story of Discovery at the Museo Faggiano

The Faggiano Museum is one of the most fascinating archaeological museums in town. It was discovered almost by chance in early 2001, when the owner of a typical private house needed to break into the floor to address a sewerage issue. Layers of archaeological remains dating back 2500 years were discovered below, including cisterns, tombs, secret passageways, a Knights Templar fresco, and much more.

The excavation of the site took seven years, and the museum opened to the public in 2008. The structure itself dates from pre-Roman times. It was a Knights Templar house between 1000 and 1200, then a Franciscan convent until 1600.

This museum has since become a landmark for the entire city of Lecce, revealing the presence and alternation of various populations and cultures throughout the centuries. Inside the museum, visitors can learn about more than 2000 years of history through various testimonies.

It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The admission fee is €5.

You can tour the house on your own and see what they discovered.

Learn about history at the Jewish Museum of Lecce (Palazzo Taurino)

The Palazzo Taurino Jewish Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the Jewish community in Lecce.

It’s a small underground museum near the Basilica di Santa Croce that shows the Jewish community’s history during Medieval times until they were forced from the region in the 16th century.

The majority of the Jewish buildings were destroyed, and baroque churches, including Santa Croce, were built on top.

The museum is located in a former synagogue, and the €9 admission fee includes a guided tour that lasts approximately 30 minutes.

The Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (mornings only on Sundays and holidays).

Peak at the Roman Theater

Things to do in Lecce - The Roman Theatre
The Roman Theatre

Hidden among the narrow streets of the baroque city is a 2nd-century Roman theatre that once seated 5000 people and was only rediscovered among the gardens and palaces in 1929. This ancient theatre appears to have been built during the reign of Emperor Augustus, which began around 43 B.C.

There is a 6 metre wide and more than 30 metre long stage on which performances were held, still clearly visible inside.

It’s located in the historic centre and can be difficult to find, but if you’re at Santa Chiara church, look for Via Arte della Cartapesta, a small street to the left of the church.

Follow this street as it winds its way through a quiet section of Lecce before turning onto Via del Teatro Romano.

The entrance is on Via degli Ammirati; the entry fee is €3 and includes admission to the adjacent Museum of the Roman Theater.

Visit the Castello di Lecce

The Castle of Lecce, located less than 400 metres from the Basilica of Santa Croce, is another well-known structure in the city.

Emperor Charles V commissioned the structure as a defensive fortress for his dominions’ border areas.

In reality, the original structure appears to be much older than Charles V’s reign, with some scholars speaking of a pre-existing fortification dating back as far as the 13th–14th centuries.

The Castle consists of two concentric structures separated by an intermediate courtyard, four angular bastions, massive walls, a moat, and two entrance gates, both bearing the Habsburg coat of arms.

Not to be missed are the interior portal from the 16th century and the upper floor, which features large stained-glass windows, rich ornamentation, and an admirable, recently restored hall.

One of the two halls was used to host theatre performances in the 18th century. The military district occupied it from 1870 to 1979, and today, as the seat of the Department of Culture, it houses the Museo della Cartapesta (the papier-mâché museum) as well as events, exhibitions, and shows.

Enjoy the Best Beaches in Puglia

Lecce travel guide - Lido Conchiglie a beach in the Salento area
Lido Conchiglie near Gallipoli

Puglia is a region in southern Italy that’s known for its beautiful coastline. The best beaches in Puglia are located along the Ionian and Adriatic coasts. 

From Lecce, you’re never more than an hour from some of Puglia’s best beaches. 

Going in the Adriatic direction, you’ll find the first sandy beaches in the area, such as Torre Rinalda, so named because of the presence of a watchtower built at Charles V’s behest; 

Torre Chianca, appreciated for its golden sand and dreamlike sea; 

Frigole, which has a shallow seabed suitable for small children and beautiful Mediterranean scrub behind it; 

and then San Cataldo and Marina di Melendugno, San Foca, Roca Vecchia, Sant’Andrea, and Torre dell’Orso.

On the Ionian side, on the other hand, you’ll find low and sandy shores ideal for welcoming families, such as those of Torre Lapillo and Porto Cesareo. However, a little further away, but still in the province of Lecce, are the beautiful beaches of Pescoluse and Torre Pali, also known as the Maldives of Salento, as well as those near the municipality of Ugento, such as Torre San Giovanni, Torre Mozza, and Fontanelle, up to the more famous Gallipoli.

Join the Evening Stroll and Go Shopping in Lecce

Lecce is a city that comes alive at night. The afternoon siesta is still a time-honored tradition in Lecce and mainly in all Southern cities.

Shops close between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., and restaurants close between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., leaving the city centre eerily quiet. 

In the early evening, however, everything reopens and the streets come alive for the evening stroll, or “la passeggiata,” as it’s known in Italy.

The action is centred on Via Vittorio Emanuele II, which runs between Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Piazza del Duomo, where the locals come out to do some shopping and catch up with friends. 

This is the perfect time to explore the city and take in the sights and sounds of this historic place.

Pro tip: While strolling through the historic centre, one thing you should do is visit one of the papier-mâché workshops and admire the masterpieces made according to a tradition that has been passed down for nearly half a century.

Indulge in the Regional Lecce Cuisine 

Lecce travel guide - Traditional food in Puglia, Italy, orecchiette, pizza, puccia e seafood  risotto

Lecce is famous for its cuisine. The cuisine reflects the city’s long history, which includes connections to ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. While in Lecce, you can sample a variety of regional dishes.

Local cuisine in Apulia is characterised by an innovative farm-to-table concept. However, it’s a necessity, not a trend. 

The cuisine varies from city to city; by the sea, it’s predominantly fish-based, whereas further inland, it’s based more on local agricultural produce. 

As a result, delicious cuisine is created by combining simple, high-quality ingredients to create tasty and appetising dishes.

Each city then has its own local delicacies, and here are the must-try when you’re in Lecce:

Ciceri e tria (that’s the local dialect for chickpeas and pasta) is a traditional dish from Lecce and Salento. Tria is a fresh long pasta made from durum wheat flour and water. It’s rolled out and then cut into wide strips. Then it’s cooked, drained, and mixed with chickpeas and frizzuli, which are fried fresh pasta pieces that add a crunchy note to the dish.

Puccia, which is typical of the entire Salento region and, in its Leccese variant, is stuffed with seasonal ingredients typical of the local culinary tradition (aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, rocket, wild chicory and cheese),

Pizzo leccese, which is a type of bread flavoured with fresh tomatoes, capers, black olives, and onions, it’s not sold in bars (though it’s frequently served as an aperitif), but in bakeries, the best of which are baked in wood-fired ovens.

Consider taking a street food tour to taste puccia and pizzo leccese, as well as other local specialties. You can book it here!

Rustico, an eye-catching circular puff pastry filled with bechamel sauce, tomato, and mozzarella;

Lecce travel guide - Pasticciotto a local dessert

Pasticciotto, a delectable pastry made by filling a shortcrust pastry with the most delectable custard. The best is at the historic Caffè Alvino; after all, there must be a reason why this café is a gathering place for the Leccesi, right? 

You’ll find it in Piazza Sant ‘Oronzo!

And last but not least, caffè al ghiaccio (coffee on ice), possibly with almond milk. This is a very strong coffee with ice cubes. It’s part of the Salento tradition, and sugar is replaced by almond milk in the Lecce variant.

Enjoy gelato every day

Things to do in Lecce - Enjoy gelato, ice cream

When in Italy do as the Italians do, and enjoy gelato every day. In Lecce, there are plenty of gelaterias to choose from. 

My personal favourite is Settimo Cielo, which is located near the Lecce’s Castle in via XXV luglio. Here you will find vegan pistachio and hazelnut flavoured ice cream, the best ice cream I have ever had.

If you’re looking for something a little more unique, check out the historical Pasticceria Natale, which is one of the best-known places to taste the authentic flavours of local sweets. 

If you enjoy Italian cuisine, you should definitely try Lecce cuisine, or sign up for a cooking class. You’ll thank me later!

Drink Local in Lecce

You can’t visit Lecce without trying the local wine. The city is in the middle of a wine-growing region, so local wine is available just about everywhere. And what better way to experience the city’s rich history than by sipping on a glass of wine that has been produced on the same land for centuries?

As one of the only three countries in Europe that produce their own wine (the other two being France and Spain), this area produces wines with varieties such as Primitivo di Manduria, Primitivo di Salice Salentino, Negro Amaro, and Malvasie nere di Brindisi e di Lecce.

It’s not uncommon to see vineyards throughout the surrounding landscapes; some are even still owned by families who have been cultivating grapes for generations.

For a more informative wine experience, try “Wine & More” in via XXV luglio, a Lecce wine bar near Santa Croce Basilica with extensive lists from regional wineries.

Day trips from Lecce

Lecce is an ideal base to explore the southern end of Italy’s Salento area, as well as the Valle d’Itria, which is home to some of Puglia’s most charming small towns, including Ostuni, Alberobello, and Polignano a mare.

Day trip from Lecce - Ostuni a city in the Valle D'Itria, Puglia, Italy

If you’re planning on staying in the Salento area for a few days, consider renting a car. Having a car is by far the easiest and quickest way to take day trips from Lecce.

Getting around in this area by public transport services is possible, but you must optimise your timing well, planning ahead of time.

In contrast to large cities where buses run frequently, here a bus runs every hour in the best-case scenario.

Furthermore, there is no public transport late in the evening; usually the last rides are scheduled for 9 p.m., after which they stop and restart the next morning.

If you don’t plan your time properly, you’ll waste a lot of your vacation time waiting for the bus, or finding yourself completely immersed in Italian culture, profaning the name of the Virgin Mary over potential delays.

Then renting a car is your best bet. And, if you’re not comfortable driving in Italy, I recommend checking out this tour.

You will enjoy a three-stop tour in Puglia that includes transportation from Lecce but also allows you to explore the towns of Ostuni, Alberobello, and Polignano on your own.

Here are some of my favourite places to visit, with driving times from Lecce:

Day trip to Otranto

Lecce travel guide - Day trip to Otranto, the castle and the bridge

Just a 40-minute drive from Lecce is the town of Otranto, which is home to the stunning Aragonese Castle and a stunning 12th-century Cathedral with a well-preserved mosaic depicting the martyrdom of the city’s first bishop. It’s a lovely seaside town with a view of the turquoise sea. 

The coast north of Otranto (nearly 40 minutes): You’ll find some great beaches along the scenic coastal route north of Otranto, including San Foca, Torre dell’Orso, and the unique “Grotta della Poesia” (Cave of Poetry) swimming hole. 

Day trip to Gallipoli

The Castle of Gallipoli on a day trip from Lecce

Gallipoli (35 minutes): Another popular day-trip destination is the city of Gallipoli. Gallipoli is a charming fishing village with a long history dating back to the Ottoman Empire. The main attraction in Gallipoli is the mediaeval castle, originally built by the Byzantines and then re-built in later centuries. There is a lovely beach to visit, as well as an old olive press. There are also numerous excellent seafood restaurants in the old port area.

Day trip to Galatina

Galatina (25 minutes) is a charming small baroque town that’s often overlooked.

It’s the birthplace of pasticciotto, the typical Salento dessert made of short pastry, filled with custard and baked in the oven, but it is also rich in architecture, art, and history. A must-see is the Basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, declared a national monument in 1870 and whose frescoes are compared to those inside the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi.

Practical Tips for Planning Your Trip to Lecce, Italy

The Best Time to Visit Lecce

Lecce has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. If you just want to go sightseeing, late spring (April and May) is a good time to go. 

If you want to spend a day or two at the beach, go in June or September when the weather is nice and warm but there aren’t many people.

Like the rest of Italy, it’s best to avoid visiting in July and August unless you’re prepared to deal with the heat and crowds. In the height of summer, the temperature in Lecce can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38°C). 

July is the hottest and driest month, with January being the coolest and November being the wettest.

Winter is a good time to visit if you don’t mind more unpredictable weather; the added benefit of visiting Lecce in the winter is that it will be much cheaper!

How to get to Lecce

Lecce is well connected to all the major Italian cities.

The quickest way to get to Lecce is by plane and then take the train or rent a car to the city centre.

The closest airport to Lecce is in Brindisi, about a half-hour drive or an hour by train (49 km/30 miles).

Bari also has an airport from which to fly to Puglia. It’s about a 2-hour drive or train ride from Bari to Lecce (167 km/104 miles).

There’s also a shuttle service just outside both of the arrival terminals (cost €7.50 per trip).

If you plan to get to Lecce by train, Trenitalia and other railway companies provide direct connections from the major Italian cities. 

Lecce’s train station is south of the city centre, about a 15-minute walk from the Porta Rudiae Gate.

However, the best way to get around Puglia is by car. It may be the only way to see smaller towns while maximising your time in the region.

If Lecce is your base, you could fly into Brindisi or Bari, and then take the train to Lecce. You won’t need a car to move around Lecce, but you could rent one to explore the surrounding area.

If you plan to drive to Lecce, either choose a hotel with on-site parking or ask your lodging for the best parking spots in the area.

Where to stay in Lecce

Lecce has a variety of places to stay, ranging from bed and breakfasts to historical residences, and from luxury hotels to ancient masserie. There is plenty of lodging available!

My recommendation is to stay in Lecce’s historic centre; it’s a pleasant place to explore on foot.

However, if you’re driving to Lecce, you may also consider staying in a masseria, as they’re usually located in the countryside (not in the city).

There are no large hotel chains in town, but there are several nice, smaller hotels, bed and breakfasts, and guest houses.

Here are some good options:

La Fiermontina Luxury Residence: A refined hotel housed in a 17th-century mansion, complete with a luxury restaurant and an outdoor pool.

Dimora Storica Muratore is a beautiful villa in the heart of Lecce, just a few steps from the Duomo. It’s located on the city’s original 16th-century walls and was recently renovated.

Pollicastro Boutique Hotel is a historic residence located in a 16th-century palace, also known as the de’ Perroni Palace, in the heart of Lecce’s historic centre.

I recommend the following B&Bs:

Chez Moi Charme B&B & Apartments, which has elegant rooms with balconies in an elegant building with frescoes and a sumptuous dining room.

Dimi House is a 10-minute walk from Lecce Cathedral and offers clean, cosy rooms as well as a daily breakfast buffet with sweet products.

Apollo Suites is a B&B in the heart of Lecce, inside Piazza Libertini, between the modern Piazza Mazzini and the historical Piazza Sant’Oronzo.

If you prefer the relaxing experience of sleeping in a masseria, the Masseria & Spa Luciagiovanni is one of the closest to Lecce.

It is a 5-minute drive from Lecce’s historic centre and is housed in a 17th-century manor house. It has a distinct Moorish style, as well as a free luxury wellness centre and a swimming pool.

Walking is the best way to see the sights in Lecce. Unlike many other Italian cities, this one has a small, easily navigable centre that makes it easy to walk from one place to another.

Masseria La Lizza is another option, it’s about 10 minutes drive from the centre of Lecce so it’s the perfect for visiting the city of Lecce and nearby villages, while staying in nature.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination with lots to do and plenty to see, then you should definitely consider scheduling a visit to Lecce on your next trip to Italy. After reading this guide, I’m sure you’ll want to start mapping out your itinerary immediately.

Ciao and safe travel!

I'm a freelance travel designer and writer, and I absolutely love what I do. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and traveling is the ultimate source of inspiration for me. In fact, I became particularly drawn to planning travel experiences in Italy back in 2015, and I've been hooked ever since! I'm what you might call a "slow traveler" - someone who likes to take their time exploring new places and soaking up different cultures. And when I started writing about my travels a few years ago, I was blown away by the incredible opportunity it gave me to share my experiences with others and learn from them in turn. It's truly an amazing thing!

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