Local traditions and global openness meet in the old town, which deserves to be slowly discovered in every corner.
Lecce is a small town you can visit even in only one day, but is rich in attractions: so, it is important to plan everything before departure. The best way to discover the Florence of the South is by bike, to move in complete freedom among the alleyways of the old town, and also in the surroundings!
Renting a bike in Lecce with Slow Active Tours, you can take advantage of a free car parking and of all the assistance you could need. We will recommend you customized itineraries according to your specific needs, that you can check on a practical app also available offline. Read this smart guide of Lecce city, to better organize your journey.
Lecce: what to see
Salento chief town is famous all over the world for the artistic richness that characterizes it. Lecce Baroque finds expression in many monuments, palaces and churches. The old town is a triumph of art and history: a bike tour among its alleyways will allow you to discover wonderful views with balconies made by “pietra leccese” (a typical local stone) and the traditional courtyards of Salento. So, let’s discover what to see during a bike tour in Lecce!
Rent a bike with Slow Active Tours and go through the three gates that still preserve their beauty, to enter to the old town. The gates are Porta Rudiae, Porta Napoli and Porta San Biagio. Originally, there was a fourth gate, Porta San Martino, but, sadly, it was completely destroyed in the 19th century.
The Basilica of Santa Croce, whose façade has been recently restored, is the symbol par excellence of Lecce Baroque, but it actually presents a mix of various styles. The stunning rose window, for example, is inspired by the Romanic style and can amaze everyone! The Basilica is next to Palazzo dei Celestini, a former convent and today seat of the Province and of the Prefecture of Lecce.
Another Baroque pearl is Piazza Duomo, an enchanting square closed on three sides. The intimate atmosphere emphasizes the artistic richness of the monuments it houses. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta immediately presents to the visitors its side façade, often confused for the frontal façade also for its decorative richness. A curiosity: from the top of the belfry, you can admire the Adriatic Sea and, in the clear days, also the Albanian mountains!
The main square is, instead, Piazza Sant’Oronzo, named after the Patron Saint of the city. Here you can admire the Seat, the Column of Sant’Oronzo and the mosaic of a she-wolf (but be careful: it is bad luck to trample on it!). Tourists are especially attracted by the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, dating back to 1st-2nd centuries a.D. This ancient monument is only partly visible and emerged on the occasion of the excavations for the construction of the Bank of Italy, in the early 20th century.
The Roman Amphitheatre in Piazza Sant’Oronzo is not the only one that Lecce can boast: Salento chief town is the only Italian city, in addition to Rome, that has three amphitheatres! One of these is erroneously called Greek Theatre. It is an arena inspired by the amphitheatre situated in Piazza Sant’Oronzo, but smaller in size. It dates back to the Augustan Age, but it was found only in 1929 in occasion of the archaeological excavations. Lastly, the third one is in the archaeological site in the ancient Rudiae, in Lecce outskirt, and it is easily reachable with a good pedaling. The presence of three amphitheatres at a few kilometres of distance among them witnesses how important was this city, anciently known as Lupiae, in the Roman Age.
The most beautiful museums in Lecce
You cannot miss a tour among the most interesting museums in Lecce, to immerse yourself into the discovery of the history and the traditions of the Heel of Italy.
Museo Faggiano is in the city centre and is hosted into an historic building which has become, after the excavations, an archaeological site. The institution of this museum is due to a casualty. Faggiano’s family, owner of the palace, committed the works for the renewing of the sewage system in the early 21th century and, on this occasion, important archaeological findings emerged. For this reason, the site was completely restored and today it offers the possibility to rediscover the traces of over 2 millennials of history.
Museo Provinciale Sigismondo Castromediano, recently restored, is, instead, the most ancient in Puglia: it, indeed, dates back to 1868. Here you will have the opportunity to go on a tour among numerous archaeological findings and a rich collection of paintings, exhibited in the Pinacotheca. This museum is the reference point for those who would like to go back in time to rediscover the witnesses of the Messapian, Roman and other civilizations.
Rent a bike and discover all the secrets of Lecce
Lecce is a city which deserves to be explored in any of its narrow streets, because it has really much to offer. History, art and culture mingle in a perfect mix that offers unique emotions to any tourist.
Park your car and rent a bike with Slow Active Tours to discover all the secrets of the Florence of the South, dipping into the ancient traditions and tasting the culinary specialities of the territory.
Are you ready? Continue your journey in Lecce with us and do not miss all the sensorial suggestions that this city can offer. We will recommend you an itinerary tailored for you according to your needs and your preferences. Moreover, we offer to you only safe and comfortable bikes to travel alone, with your friends or the whole family. If you don’t feel completely fit, but do not want to lose the thrill of a ride in the South of Italy, our advice is to rent our e-bikes!
Find out what else to visit during a bike tour in Lecce, reading Smart guide of Lecce: art and flavours by bike.