Basilica of Santa Croce
The first glimpse of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce takes your breath away. The church is a gleaming riot of sculptural decoration that resembles a wedding cake. Lecce is called the "Florence of the south," and this church is the symbol of Lecce's Baroque splendor that earned it that name.
Started in 1549, it was completed about a hundred years later, and used the best master craftsmen in Puglia to achieve its beauty. Incredibly delicate and detailed carvings adorn nearly every inch of the facade, and the interior is rich and airy. It is built on a Latin cross design. While it's hard to peel your eyes away from the exterior details, don't miss the beautiful paintings inside. There are lovely depictions of the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Annunciation, the Visit of Mary to St. Elizabeth, and the Flight to Egypt.
While there are 16 altars in the church and side chapels, the one in the left transept is considered the highest masterpiece of Baroque in the south.
You can't help but smile and feel amazed at the detailed craftsmanship that created this church!
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Address in Lecce:
Via Umberto I, 3.