Dubbed the “Florence of the South”, LECCE is a place to linger, with a wealth of fine architecture scattered about an appealing old town, as well as a few diverting Roman remains. The exuberant building styles here are the legacy of religious orders (Jesuits, the Teatini and Franciscans) who came to the region at the end of the sixteenth century, bringing an influx of wealth which paid for the opulent churches and palazzi that still pervade today’s city. The flowery style of “Leccese Baroque” owed as much to the materials to hand as to the skills of the architects: the soft local sandstone could be intricately carved and then became hard with age.

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