Travel and Culture in Apulia
The legend tells that Lecce was founded during Troy wartime.
Since ancient times, its strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean had favoured the meeting between different cultures and had also made it become a conquered land by different peoples.
The ancient Messapic town (a civilization of Hellenic origin, that dates back to the 7th century B.C.) was conquered by the Romans. The signs of the Roman heritage in Lecce are a II century A.D. amphitheatre, a theatre of the same period and St Cataldo’s harbour, situated 10 Km far from the town.
After the separation from the Roman Empire, the town remained under the dominion of the Eastern Empire until the 11th century, when it was conquered by the Normans.
After a dark period in the Middle Ages, the town flourished again as a cultural and humanistic centre during the 15th century, under the Aragonese monarchy.
Then, during the 16th and 17th century Spanish dominion, the town got enriched from the architectural and urban point of view.
The highest expression of this period is the Lecce Baroque.
The town passed under the Austrian dominion for a short time in 1700 and then to the Borbonis.