City of architects, stonemasons and artists, Lecce is above all the city of baroque and stone embroidery.
Capital of the province of the same name and cultural center of Salento, Lecce is one of the most fascinating cities in Southern Italy.
Nicknamed “the Florence of the south”, Lecce surprises with its artistic and architectural beauties.
The ancient Messapian origin and the Roman ruins, combined with the richness of the Baroque, make Lecce a unique city.
The streets of the center are an open-air museum, where works of art from the Roman, medieval and Renaissance periods can be found. But the city is characterized by Baroque, an architectural style that spread to Lecce in the seventeenth century, during the Spanish rule, and was interpreted in such an original way that it gave rise to the definition of “Lecce Baroque”.
A new style and to use it Lecce stone, a kind of calcareous material, with warm colors and easily moldable.
An example of this is the magnificent Piazza del Duomo, home to the Cathedral of SS. Assunta, with a bell tower and two facades, one sober and the other highly decorated, Palazzo Vescovile, from the Renaissance period, with its magnificent loggia, and Palazzo del Seminario, especially for its facade with decoration and the inner monastery.
Lecce’s greatest expression of Baroque, however, is the Basilica of Santa Croce, along with the adjacent Celestine Monastery.
So, as you continue walking through the center, you will notice the exuberance and splendor of the Baroque in many other churches and palaces.
While the most important testimonies of the Roman era in Lecce are preserved the elliptical amphitheater and the Roman column with the bronze statue of the patron next to it. The castle, however, from the 13th century, rebuilt by order of Charles V in the 16th century, today hosts numerous art exhibitions and cultural initiatives.
Lecce is a very lively city, therefore an excellent destination to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Puglia, among the baroque art, culture and tradition of Salento.
New Year’s Eve in Lecce with parties in the square and dinners
As every year in a square in the historic center of Lecce we celebrate with concerts and DJ sets until midnight fireworks.
In any case, the whole center of Lecce celebrates the last night of the year, waiting to welcome the new with all the joy of life in Salento.
Those who prefer a gourmet dinner in an elegant setting can choose one of the many evenings organized in the wonderful farms, villas and estates of Lecce and the surrounding area, such as Masseria Appidé in Corigliano d’Otranto, Tenuta Santicuti in Acaya, the Villa Zaira in Maglie, Sangiorgio Resort in Cutrofiano or Villa Elda in Ugento which has planned a Belle Époque themed evening.
Plus, the historic house is worth it Park Towera medieval fortress dating back to the 15th century located in the heart of Lecce, which awaits the arrival of the new year with flame, live music, DJ sets and delicacies.
Wandering in Salento
Always considered the Gateway to the East, Salento is a magical land of sea, sun and wind.
Between the high and rocky coast of the East and the low and sandy coast of the West, a sea of olive trees, dry rocks, farms, baroque towns and thousands of years old villages.
A land dominated by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Suevi, Angevins and Aragonese, Salento is a treasure chest of history, art, culture, wildlife and good food.
So after seeing Lecce, the city of baroque and stone embroidery, capital of the province of the same name and cultural center of Salento, explore Salentowhich has its charm even in winter. Visit Otranto: “The easternmost point of Italy has been a port city for millennia,” said Yugoslav writer Predrag Matvejevic.
Its ancient archaeological finds speak of trade with Greece, Crete and all the civilizations of the Mediterranean.
Included in the list of the “most beautiful villages in Italy”, as well as a UNESCO heritage site, Otranto blinds you with its Mediterranean light when you walk through the historic center, among cobbled streets, alleys that lead to the sea, at the crossroads with the granite of the Saracen bombardments and ramparts.
The southernmost inhabited center of Puglia is Santa Maria di Leuca, the last bastion of Salento, where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea, so in ancient times it was known as the finis terrae.
On the shores of the Ionian, however, lies Gallipoli, a magical city about 40 km from Lecce. Gallipoli is divided into two areas: the historic center, which is located on a limestone island, and the new village, which is connected to the island by a brick bridge dating from the 17th century.
But in the interior of Salento, villages stand out such as Presicce, the city of oil and underground, Specchia, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Acaya, one of the least known in Salento, but also Galatina, Nardò and Calimera .
Relax in the spa
Those not in the mood for partying and socializing could enjoy a well-deserved wellness break at a Lecce hotel and resort with a private spa, where they might toast midnight in a warm pool and wake up to the first day of the year with a romantic massage.
In Lecce you will have a wide choice: the ReLuxe Private Wellness with a private pool under the stone domes of a nineteenth-century palace, the refined Palazzo Lecce – Epoca Collection, the Palazzo Maresgallo Suites & Spa with an elegant wellness center between the sixteenth -Century dome in Lecce stone.
In the surrounding area of Lecce, in Ugendo, is the Masseria Fontanelle, a typical 1600 building with whitewashed walls and a romantic wellness area.
In Otranto, however, the Hotel Basiliani of the CDSHotels collection has the largest wellness center in Salento, “Il Melograno”: 2000 square meters that include a wet area with three indoor pools heated to different temperatures, one of which is 220 square meters meters. equipped with hydromassage beds, Finnish sauna, hammam, aroma shower, hammam room and relaxation area with herbal tea room.
A play of paths and paths in typical Apulian stone leads to this modern spa where you can find well-being and rediscover the harmony between mind and body.
Those who want to indulge in pampering can choose between thermal mud treatments, acqualuce facials, anti-stress, Californian, relaxing massages or wellness rituals. The center also has a spa suite dedicated to couples with exclusive services.