Top 10 Things to Do in Lecce, Italy by

Top 10 Things To Do in Lecce, Italy

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Lecce, Italy is quintessentially Italian. The historically preserved, walled city is situated in the Puglia region…also known as the Heel of Italy’s Boot. Buried in the twisting cobblestone lanes of the Lecce old city center are hidden gems – like Baroque churches, half-revealed Roman ruins, family-run restaurants and artist studios. 

Lecce still abides by long standing local customs; all the shops close mid-afternoon and re-open for the time-old tradition of the evening stroll. During our month-long stay, we navigated the maze of cobblestone lanes and discovered the best things to do in Lecce, Italy.


10 Best Things To Do in Lecce, Italy

Ornate Baroque facade of Lecce Duomo Cathedral in Lecce, Italy

Our list of what to do in Lecce is a guideline of how to spend your time in the city. Lecce, Italy, however, is not a checklist destination, but one to be experienced. While there are some must-see attractions, Lecce sightseeing should be highlighted by aimless rambles, delicious food and good wine. 

In our list of Lecce things to do, we include a brief summary as well as links to more information. At the end of the post, we include helpful Lecce travel tips – including how to get there and where to stay in Lecce. 

Save, Pin or Bookmark our Lecce Travel Guide so that you can plan your trip to Italy!



#1 Stand in Piazza del Duomo, Lecce, Italy

Late afternoon sun shines on bell tower and church in Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy

Discovering the sights of Piazza del Duomo tops our list of things to do in Lecce. The opulent square is the epitome of the luxurious Baroque architectural style found throughout Lecce. 

Caritas Diocesana in Lecce, Italy

From the main street, Via G. Libertini, visitors could almost pass by Lecce’s most impressive piazza without even realizing it. The atypical, narrow entrance leads into the Piazza del Duomo, a massive square and the religious center of Lecce.

Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy

The buildings – the Duomo di Lecce Cathedral, Bishop’s Palace, Seminary and soaring bell tower – dazzle with their ornate Baroque décor, both inside and out.

Top Tip: The Baroque architecture in Lecce is absolutely stunning. Let a guide lead you through Lecce to learn more about the history of the buildings on a Lecce Baroque Walking Tour

Use our Detailed Guide to the Sights of Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy.



#2 Admire the Many Lecce Baroque Churches

Church of Saints Nicolo and Cataldo in Lecce, Italy

The Lecce Cathedral is not the only Baroque style church in town. In fact, Lecce is chockablock full of churches. From ornate Baroque designs to simple structures, there are 22 churches within the Lecce old town vicinity.

Facade of Basilica di San Giovanni Battista in Lecce, Italy

It would be nearly impossible to walk the streets of Lecce and NOT see a church. Most are open to the public and are well-worth a look around inside for the impeccable detail and centuries-old art.

Church of Saint Irene in Lecce, Italy

A few of the best churches to seek out are the 15th century Chiesa di Santa Chiara and the 17th century Chiesa di San Matteo. That said, even the quaint churches – like Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace – are worth a look. 

Church of Saint Clair in Lecce, Italy

Top Tip: Because churches are one of the top things to see in Lecce, we created a Lecce Churches Guide (including an easy-to-follow Lecce walking tour). 

Read more about the Best Churches in Lecce, Italy.



#3 Discover Ancient Roman Ruins in Lecce, Italy 

Ancient Roman Theater in Lecce, Italy

Beneath the surface lies an ancient past dating to Roman times. Preserved archaeological discoveries dot the Lecce city center.


Historic Column on Saint Oronzo Square

Patron Saint Oronzo statue on ancient column in Lecce, Italy

The largest square within the city walls, Piazza Sant’Oronzo, is a hub of activity in the center of Lecce, Italy – and the site of the Roman Amphitheater ruins.

The focal point of Sant’Oronzo Square is a rising column. Built in the year 110, the column once marked the end of the Via Appia – the road that connected Rome to Brindisi. The column was gifted to the city of Lecce in 1659. It is now topped by Oronzo – the Patron Saint of Lecce, who is credited for sparing the town from the plague in 1656. 

The Lecce main square is surrounded by a mishmash of architecturally styled buildings that are mostly occupied by cafes, tourist offices, a few shops and churches. Lecce’s coat of arms is proudly displayed in a large mosaic in the center of the pedestrian-only zone. Directly south of the mosaic is the partially excavated Lecce Roman Amphitheatre.


Lecce Amphitheatre

Unearthed Roman Amphitheater in Lecce, Italy

The entire southern half of Sant’Oronzo Square is comprised of the unearthed 2nd century AD Roman Amphitheater that sits below ground level. Discovered in 1901 by construction workers and excavated in the 1930s, only half of the ancient Lecce amphitheater has been uncovered.

Findings have revealed that when the amphitheater was built, it was located outside the Lecce city walls. It is believed to have seated about 25,000 people and was used for a wide range of entertainment. There is recorded evidence that the amphitheater was still of great importance into the 12th century. Today, the ruins offer a glimpse into Lecce’s lengthy history.


Roman Theatre Lecce

Ancient Roman Theater in Lecce, Italy

In addition to the discovery of the Roman Amphitheater in Sant-Oronzo Square, a Roman Theater has also been recovered. It is thought to have been constructed during the Augustus period (between 27 B.C. and 14 A.D.).

The theater (which is missing the top two tiers) was excavated in the 1930s and can be viewed from the street that passes behind it. A visit into the Lecce Roman Teatro Museum (more on that in a minute) grants visitors an all-access pass into the remaining seating area and stage.


Piazza Castromediano Sigismondo

On Piazza Castromediano Sigismondo, visitors can peer through the glass cases to view other unearthed treasures that were discovered in the Centro Storico in the early 2000s.



#4 Learn about the Past in Lecce Museums

MUST: Museo Storico Citta di Lecce in Italy

Lecce has a number of museums that offer a better understanding of the city’s past. From the Lecce Castle to art museums to a treasure trove inside a home, we highly recommend visiting at least one of the intriguing Lecce museums. 

Paper Mache Museum inside Carlo V Castle in Lecce, Italy

The most enthralling museum is the Faggiano House (Museo Faggiano). Previously a residence, the owner discovered hidden relics beneath the floorboards when he tried to fix a plumbing problem. More digging revealed a buried past too impressive not to share, so they transformed their home into a Lecce museum! 

Room in Faggiano Museum featuring Granery, Cisterns and frescos

Other interesting museums in Lecce include the Roman Theater Museum, Carlo V Castle, (which also houses the Lecce Paper Mache Museum), Provincial Museum and MUST: Museo Storico Citta di Lecce.

Artwork at Museo Provincial Sigismondo Castromediano in Lecce, Italy

Top Tip: The Paper Mache artform is a Lecce specialty. Join an artist and create your own Paper Mache art in a Lecce Paper Mache Workshop. 

Read our guide to the best Museums in Lecce, Italy.



#5 Walk Through The Lecce City Gates

View the Lecce City Gates, Italy

Three city gates remain standing as entry points to Lecce’s old town: Porta Rudiae, Porta San Biagio and Porta Napoli. The doorways into Lecce serve as a reminder of the one-time necessary fortifications. Walk through them and imagine the millions of footsteps that have passed beneath the same arches over the centuries.

It’s easy to see all three Lecce, Italy city gates on a simple stroll through town. It’s also worth it to pass through the gates to the ‘outside’ of Lecce to get the view looking back in.


Porta Rudiae

Porta Rudiae Gate in Lecce, Italy

Sometimes called Porta Sant’Oronzo for his statue that graces the top, Porta Rudiae is the oldest city gate, but was rebuilt in 1703. It features a single arch with Sant’Dominic and Sant’Irene on either side of Sant’Oronzo. Below the saints, near the top of the pillars, are the sculptures of Lecce’s founders.


Porta San Biagio

View of Porta San Biagio, Lecce, Italy

The southern gate, Porta San Biagio, was built in 1774 and is dedicated to St. Blaise, who lived in Lecce and was a 4th century bishop. A statue of St. Blaise tops the archway. Ferdinand IV of Bourbon’s coat of arms is in the center with Lecce’s crest displayed on both sides.


Porta Napoli

Porta Napoli gate and main entrance into Lecce Old Town in Puglia, Italy

Built in 1548, and named so because it leads to the road that goes to Naples, Porta Napoli was erected to honor the victories of Charles V. Decorated with sculptures of military trophies and symbols of power, it remains, still today, a main gate of entry into the historic center (even though it is no longer a completely walled city).


Obelisco Lecce

Built of Lecce stone in 1822, the Obelisk stands just outside the Porta Napoli gate. Decorated in bas reliefs, the column is lit in an artistic light show at night. 

Use this link to Google Maps for walking directions to the City Gates of Lecce, Italy.



#6 Take a Walk in a Lecce Park

Walking path and gazebo in Giuseppe Garibaldi Garden Park in Lecce, Italy

Being a historic walled city, the Lecce Old Town is densely built with stone dwellings and cobblestone lanes. Just outside of the city center, however, are two parks (and a cemetery) where visitors can enjoy manicured gardens and green space. 


Giuseppe Garibaldi Public Garden (Villa Comunale Park)

Fountain at Giuseppe Garibalidi Villa Comunale Park in Lecce, Italy

The planned garden sits just to the east of the city walls. Designed in the 1800s, the fenced Italian garden features trees, flower beds, fountains, statues and a center Gazebo.


Parco Belloluogo

Located to the west of the historic center of Lecce, Belloluogo Park features spacious lawns that are perfect for a picnic lunch, an afternoon rest or throwing a frisbee. 


Wander Through the Lecce City Cemetery

Gates to city cemetery in Lecce, Italy

On the north side of Belloluogo is Chiesa dei Santi Niccolo e Cataldo, a medieval church founded in 1180. Next to the church is a beautiful cemetery that resembles a park as much as a burial ground.



#7 Join the Evening Stroll and Go Shopping in Lecce

The evening stroll - Passeggiata - in Lecce, Italy

Lecce still abides by the time-old tradition of the afternoon siesta. Shops and restaurants close between the hours of 2:00pm and 5:00pm, leaving the city center eerily quiet. However, in the early evening, everything re-opens and locals emerge back onto the streets. 


Evening Passeggiata

Two nuns cross plaza in Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy

The evening stroll – or La Passeggiata, as they call it in Italy – commences around 6:00pm. Groups of friends and multi-generational families venture together into the winding lanes of Old Town Lecce for a leisurely walk before dinner. A stroll along Via Vittorio Emanuele II from Piazza Sant’Oronzo to Piazza Duomo is a favorite route. 


Shopping Lecce

Paper Mache artist gallery in Lecce, Italy

Lecce shopping takes place in the evening, too. Businesses re-open their doors for the evening crowds. Boutique shops, art galleries and the corner market all have evening hours for shopping in Lecce, Italy. 


Browse Through a Lecce Bookstore

A used bookstore in Lecce, Italy

One of our favorite evening rituals was stopping at the bookstores. Lecce, Italy has an astounding number of shops selling books and music. From modern and bright with cafes to cozy and comfortable with records playing, there is a bookstore in Lecce for any mood.



#8 Go on a Lecce Day Trip to Nearby Beach Towns

Train to take for a Day Trip To Gallipoli, Italy

As a landlocked city in the middle of the Puglia region, there are no beaches in Lecce, Italy. However, the coastline is easily accessible – and Lecce day trips are a perfect city escape! 


Day Trips From Lecce: What To Do

Seaside in Gallipoli Italy

Nearby coastal cities include Gallipoli, Otranto and Porto Cesareo. Lecce is well-connected to the coastline cities; each one can be reached in about an hour via train. 

We took a day trip from Lecce to Gallipoli on a sunny day (during the winter) and spent the day taking in the historic sights and basking in the sunshine.

Read more about Things To Do in Gallipoli, Italy!



#9 Try in the Regional Puglia Cuisine in Lecce

Classic Restaurant, Lecce, Puglia, Italy

There is so much more to the food in Lecce than the iconic Italian fare! Yes, they have pizza and pasta (which we highly recommend), but they excel in the traditional Lecce Puglia cuisine, La Cucina Povera.


Traditional Lecce Cuisine

Eating traditional local cuisine is one of the best things to do in Lecce, Italy

In Puglia, the local cuisine features an original farm-to-table concept (out of necessity, not trendiness). The result is delectable fare that uses simple, high-quality ingredients that are combined to create mouthwatering, savory dishes. The feast is usually served in four courses. 



Aperitivo in Lecce, Italy

Not in the mood for a four-course meal? Order the signature Italian Aperitivo. The small plate appetizers are usually served alongside evening drinks as a pre-dinner nibble, but can be combined into a filling meal. 


Michelin Star Restaurants

Lecce has a handful of Michelin Star restaurants – like Bros, which serves a creative 13-course menu.

Top Tip: Want a unique cooking experience in Lecce? Learn the art of Pugliese cooking from locals in a Traditional Home Cooking Experince

For more Lecce Food recommendations, read our guide to the Best Restaurants in Lecce!



#10 Drink Local in Lecce, Italy

Wine tasting, Lecce, Puglia, Italy

There’s no shortage of places to imbibe in Lecce, Italy. Being in the middle of a wine-growing region, local wine is available just about everywhere. For a more informative wine experience, try the Lecce wine bars near Santa Croce Basilica that boast lengthy lists from regional wineries.

Italian restaurant, Lecce, Puglia, Italy

But, it isn’t just about wine in Lecce; microbrews and craft cocktails have worked their way into the bar scene with dedicated and trendy bars for both. Bar hopping is one of the fun things to do in Lecce at night!

Read our tips for the Top 10 Bars To Visit in Lecce, Italy.


Top Sightseeing Lecce Tours

Picturesque street in Lecce, Italy

We have highlighted the best Lecce things to see, but travelers can often gain a better understanding on a guided tour. We are sharing a few of the best tours in Lecce.


Guided Lecce Walking Tour

Get a grand introduction to the beautiful baroque architecture that decorates Lecce, Italy. On the small-group, guided walk, learn about the history of Lecce and the dazzling ancient architecture. Book it here!


Lecce Bike Tour

Learn about Lecce from a local on a guided bike tour of the city. Pedal through the Lecce streets on a 2-hour tour to see the top sights. Find out more!


Lecce Rickshaw Tour

Sit back, relax and let a local guide show you the best of the beautiful city of Lecce, Italy! On a 3-hour private tour, participants will view the best architecture, taste the local fare and discover Lecce hidden gems. Get the details!

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Tips for Your Trip to Lecce, Italy

Opulent architecture on quiet lane in Lecce, Italy

Now that you know what to see in Lecce, Italy, start planning your trip with our tips and packing hacks!


Lecce, Italy Map

Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Lecce Sights Map. Find detailed Lecce maps for churches, restaurants and bars in our individual articles. Visitors can also purchase a Lecce tourist map (like this one) or pick one up at the Lecce tourist information office. 

Lecce, Italy Map of Sights by


Lecce, Italy Weather

The weather in Lecce, Italy is a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The Lecce temperature can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the height of summer. July is the hottest and driest month, while January is the coolest and November is the rainiest. 

We visited Lecce in January and experienced cool days that were mostly sunny – but did endure a week of rain and stormy weather. 


Lecce at Night

Campanile Bell Tower at night in Lecce, Italy

While there is some Lecce nightlife, the real reason to stay out late is to see the city itself after dark. Most notable is the Piazza del Duomo – that is especially beautiful bathed in spotlights. 

Cute Street at night, Lecce, Puglia, Italy

We highly recommend carving out time in your Lecce itinerary to go out on a late evening walkabout.


Where To Stay in Lecce

Monument to Sigismondo Castromediano in Lecce, Italy

The best area to stay in Lecce is in the historic center. Visitors will find ample accommodations – from holiday apartments to modern hotels. 


Holiday Homes in Lecce

During our visit to Lecce, we stayed in an Airbnb Apartment. In general, we have found that staying in apartments is less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. 

That said, travelers visiting Lecce, Italy on a short trip might find that the fees for holiday rentals surpass the price of a hotel stay (and, with all the good food, they may not want to eat at home anyway!). 


Hotels in Lecce, Italy

There are many Lecce, Italy hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. We are highlighting a few of the top-rated Lecce hotels (based on guest reviews) for your upcoming trip to Lecce.


Dimora Storica Torre del Parco 1419

Situated inside the castle in the city center, Dimora Storica Torre del Parco 1419 is an excellent place to stay in Lecce. Furnished with antiques and charming touches, the hotel also gets rave reviews for their breakfast. Check rates for your stay!


Patria Palace Hotel Lecce

Patria Palace Hotel is a luxury palace hotel in the heart of Lecce. Although it is housed in a historic mansion, it has been renovated with all the modern conveniences. Check rates!


Hilton Garden Inn

Located outside the city center, the modern Hilton Garden Inn offers guests comfortable rooms – plus an outdoor pool, a relaxing spa and on-site restaurant. Check rates and availability for your stay!


Lecce Resort Hotels

There are also resorts in Lecce that offer additional amenities. Check the offerings at La Fiermontina Urban Resort and Risorgimento Resort.


Lecce Hostels

Budget travelers should check for availability at Urban Oasis Hostel


Start your search for the best hotels in Lecce on – but first, read our tips for Finding the Best Hotels at the Best Price!


How To Get to Lecce, Italy

Fontana dellArmonia statue in Lecce, Italy

Lecce can be reached by train, bus or car. The closest airport near Lecce, Italy is Brindisi Airport, which is about 30 miles from Lecce. 


Flights to Lecce

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and we flew to Brindisi from Madrid, Spain (via Rome). When we do need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.


Lecce Railway Station

On our trip, after landing in Brindisi, we then took the convenient train to Lecce. The train station in Lecce is located south of the city center, about a 10-minute walk from the Porta Rudiae Gate.


Before You Go to Lecce, Italy: What to Pack

We have a few final tips about what you will need to pack for your Lecce trip. Find our complete Packing List and other advice on our dedicated Travel Packing page. 


Walking Shoes

Lecce is a walkable city…but only if you have the right travel shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip – like my favorite versatile shoes.


Travel Camera

We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your vacation to Italy – especially in Lecce, as the architecture is so incredibly stunning. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We always travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos and is a great budget camera for beginners) – and use an everyday 18-135mm lens.


Day Pack

Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you’ll also want a great Day Bag to carry with you while sightseeing in Lecce, Italy. Not only is it a good place to stow your camera and keys, but also ideal for keeping all your daily travel essentials in!


Italy Trip Insurance

If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Italy, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.


Start planning your trip to Italy! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

Spending time in Rome or Tuscany? Super! Use our Rome Itinerary and Itinerary for Tuscany to plan your trip!


We want to know: What are your favorite things to do in Lecce, Italy? What would you add to our list of what to do in Lecce? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments!


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12 thoughts on “Top 10 Things To Do in Lecce, Italy

  1. lorenzo

    I’ve been in Lecce last summer, It isn’t very famous but I think is the one of the best beautiful city in Italy, discover its beaches and its clear sea, I suggest using to find some activities and tour at best price around the city and in the Salento peninsula!

  2. I’m planning to spend a month in Lecce in January-February 2017. Coming from Chicago I am hopeful I will enjoy the European winter there. I enjoyed your photos and commentary.

    • Thank you, Carol! We hope you enjoy Lecce. It can be a bit rainy that time of year, but was mostly sunny and cool (not cold) when we were visiting in January. We would love to hear from you after your visit to hear what you thought of the city and what you get up to while you are there! Cheers!

  3. Beate Hirschfeld-Warneken

    Visit MUST and learn about Lecce’s history in a 3D movie (Via degli Ammirati 11). Honestly, we have not been there yet, but will do in September. In any case, it sounds exciting, therefore we recommend this event.

  4. Agni

    While in Lecce you must try -coffee leccese- an espresso with a cube of ice and… almond juice (sometimes a cup of espresso and the juice are served separately as “do it yourself” set)

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