One hundred thousands of inhabitants, twenty six thousands of students, laid in Salento, land between seas Ionio and Adriatico, characterized by a growth between tradition and modernity, Lecce boasts a foundation more ancient than Rome.
Place rich in monumental works of a wonderful barocco style "well-fed" by the local leccese stone (which is famous all over the world), the city was founded, according to the legend, by
Malennio, king of Salentini and founder of Lupiae and Rudiae, and by Idomeneo, king of Cretesi, forced - while coming back to Troia - to land to the shores of Salento because of a tempest. Just from the Idomeneo's origin land, Lycia, the city of Lecce seems to take its name.
Although it has been due to the Romans the foundation of a real municipality on the land of
Lupiae, it will suffer the preeminence of Rudiae, to which the Romans themselves addressed more interest. In the course of the centuries of the Dark Ages, the decline is so advanced that the tracks of local events were lost: Lupiae was ignored to Otranto's advantage, place aided by its particular geographical, and so strategic, position. The barbaric invasions, with their devastations, made the rest.
The arrival of the
Normanni inverted this trend, so the city knew a general material and moral well-being, becoming seat of County. Among the meaningful historical figures, we have to remember Tancredi, lover of arts and letters, count of Lecce and king of Sicily between 1169 and 1194, a period when the city reachs a real supremacy over the whole region, before returning in a condition of decline with the Swabian dinasty. With the Brienne, and above all thanks to Gualtieri VI, there was a new period of well-being.
When, in 1356, the County passes to the
Enghien dinasty, it begins a period of profitable trades with Venice, from which cloths, glasses and artistic woodworks were imported in exchange for wheat, oil and wine: it was the prelude of subsequential settlements of genoese, florentine, greeks and albanians merchants. The economical growth, in short, was really considerable.
Concluded the experience with the Enghien, the Naples' king
Ferrante d'Aragona collects the heritage of wide possesions and wealths, sanctioning the end of the County: Lecce became Crown's property and state city. Passed the political and military events between 1400 e il 1500, the destiny of Terra d'Otranto was leaded by the emperor Carlo V, who considered Lecce as the most advanced rampart against the East and so became promoter of a defensive system for the city and the coastline, characterized by towers and fortified farms.
In the seventheenth century interventions of urbanistic increase, but above all of architectural and esthetic exaltation, both laical and religious, were made. The author was
Luigi Pappacoda, bishop from 1639 to 1670: by the glamour of the baroque art, he succeed in relaunch the hegemony of Lecce above the whole Salento, also thanks to the architect Giuseppe Zimbalo. The main character of the second half of 1700 was another prelate, Alfonso Sozi-Carafa, bishop from 1751 to 1783, who, in the footsteps of Pappacoda, strongly affected over the ecclesiastic and building life of the city thanks to the work of his confidential architect, Emanuele Manieri.
In 1806, while Giuseppe Bonaparte subdued the Due Sicilie's kingdom, Lecce were enriched with a new residential building industry, which beautified the new made avenues. The carrying out of the University and of the new city, rose around the square dedicated to Giuseppe Mazzini, is recent history (1956).

S. Croce's church

Duomo' square

You can find our workroom in the heart of the old city, near S. Oronzo' square, in F. A. D'Amelio street, the second crossroad to the right of Rubichi street, going down from Castromediano' square to Porta Napoli.

Click on the map to enlarge.

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Mario Di Donfrancesco - F. D'Amelio st, n.1 - 73100 Lecce - Mob.+39.368.3086300