Lecce, is the main city of its own province, located at the centre of a plain in the heart of Salento region at 11 km from the Adriatic coast and 23 km from the Ionian Sea.
It is a Diocese University seat and the most important cultural centre of the Salento. The local economy is based on service industry, handicrafts and agriculture. An important role is occupied by the production of olive oils and wines.
Lecce is a city or Art, known as "Florence of the South", the historians often report in their texts, architectonic examples and features of the "Baroque Leccese". Between XVII and XVIII centuries, the city was completely refurbished and most of its churches and palaces have lost the signs and features of the original constructions.
Most of the buildings in Baroque style are completed by a thick and ductile chalky stone, known as "la pietra leccese" (stone of Lecce)
It is impossibile to list all the monuments, but not to miss are the following: the Basilica of Santa Croce, real emblem of the local Baroque, the Cathedral, the Castle, built by the Emperor Carlo V, the Palace of the Celestini and the Seminary of Piazza Duomo.
The real sitting room of the city is Piazza Sant'Oronzo, entitled to the Patron Saint; here arises a roman column, that the city of Brindisi donated to Lecce, with a superb statue of the Saint on display on the top.
The square is partially occupied by a Roman amphitheatre, datable to the Emperor Augustus ages.
The city was founded by the Messapi (an ancient Italic population). They built an important centre that was conquered by the Romans. After the decline of the Roman Empire the city was dismantled and became a village, obscured by the nearby city of Otranto. Only under the Normans a new development took place, Federico II proclaimed the area, a government property to give it more impulse.
Like the rest of Southern Italy, the city submitted the dominations of the Anjou, Aragon and Spanish. Part of the Reign of Naples, Lecce flourished in its moment of major architectonic importance with the construction of important Baroque buildings.