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Frequently referred to as a 'baroque masterpiece', Lecce has been beautifully constructed from soft, pale local sandstone, and is a fancy for those with fancy tastes. The elaborate architecture peaks on the hilltop at the centre of town with the Piazza del Duomo, around the cathedral, and the decorative masterpiece the Basilica di Santa Croce, where some of the best places to stay in Lecce can be found.
As well as an architectural triumph, Lecce is fascinating historically, and the largest town on Puglia's beach-tastic Solento peninsula. So this is a wonderful base for anyone who enjoys mixing the sun and sand with a bit of cultural exploration.
Lecce is the 'Florence of the South', not actual Florence, and hotels are priced accordingly. If you're looking for the best place to stay in Lecce you'll have plenty of choice, from grand, luxurious baroque fantasies to more modest B&Bs or villa accommodation.
Lecce Architectural Treasures
The area around the cathedral is where most of Lecce's most famous sights are crowded, in amongst the spider's web of lovely streets and piazzas.
Santa Croce is probably where the baroque designs are at their most fantastical, but the Chiesa del Rosario, the Chirsa dei SS Nicolo e Cataldo and the Chiesa de Santa (all churches) are also worth seeking out.
Lecce's main gate the Porta Napoli, based on a Roman triumphal arch, is also impossible not to notice and appreciate.
As is the castle, built originally in the 12th Century, but spruced up in the 16th Century because it wasn't looking fancy enough.
Highlights of Historic Lecce
Exploring Lecce's fascinating history is easy. First stop should be the Museo Provinciale, where you have 10,000 years of history - starting with the Palaeolithic.
Then on to the Museo Faggiano, a private home with layers of history beneath its floorboards.
Then visit the Roman Amphitheatre: horseshoe seating for 15,000 from the 2nd Century, discovered underneath a piazza in 1901.
Lecce for the Food and Wine
Lecce is also a great place to visit for foodies. There are several cooking schools here, so it's a good place to learn more about the typical rustic dishes of the region's cuisine. There are also plenty of food and wine tours you can join.
The old town abounds with small restaurants, just be careful to choose those which are aimed at locals, rather than tourists, as that's where you'll find the most authentic dishes.
For central location
- If you're looking for a B&B right in the centre of town, Palazzo Gorgoni is one of the best places to stay in Lecce for you. Graceful on the outside, the rooms are light and airy - some of them with the wonderful exposed sandstone Lecce is known for. This is an elegant spot, and with rooms starting from just £59 per night, it's also one of our recommendations if you're watching your wallet.
- If you're in love with Lecce's baroque masterpieces and want to stay in one, book Palazzo Persone. Built in the 16th Century, some of the nicest original features have been retained in the refurbishment. And each of the six rooms has its own special something - 'Sinagoga' for example, has the stone columns from the synagogue which once stood on this site. The small size means this is also one of the best places to stay in Lecce if you're looking for somewhere relaxing and home-from-home-y.
For five star luxury
- If you're looking for a modern hotel the Risorgimento Resort is one of the best places to stay in Lecce. The building is elegant and simple - very simple for Lecce's standards - and inside you're greeted by five stars worth of mod. cons in elegant colours and sharp, clever design. The spa is good, the roof terrace has wonderful views and there's both a restaurant and a bistro.
- The Patria Palace is ideal if you're looking for traditional comforts. For many years this wonderful hotel with its frescoes, fancy stucco work and cherry wood furniture, was the only decent place to stay in Lecce. There are now other options, but this is still one of the best places to stay in Lecce if you're looking for five star hospitality and comfort. The spa is small but good, the restaurant is small but lovely, the views from the roof terrace are unbeatable and the location, right opposite the wonderful basilica, can't be beaten.
- With its beautiful courtyard garden filled with orange trees and large, welcoming rooms, L'Orangerie d'Epoque is one of the best places to stay in Lecce for families or groups. There are only three rooms and a suite - two which have their own kitchenettes and one which has a huge working fireplace. All have access to the garden. And all are decorated with antiques and family heirlooms - the palazzo was built by the present owner's grew grandfather in 1878.
Still not sure which hotel to book? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Lecce, or call, or email, one of our gurus for advice. Alternatively see our full list of recommendations for Puglia.
Best Hotels in Lecce
Palazzo Rollo 6 rooms from $69Lecce
Characterful B&B. Unique rooms have tiled floors, traditional fabrics and antique furniture. There is a charming breakfast room, lounge room and rooftop garden terrace. Ivy clad facade, a very welcoming stay at excellent value.Groups - For a small group, hotel's self catering apartments are ideal to prepare Italian picnics before a day of history or bike rideCooking classes - Awaiting Table Italian Cooking SchoolSights nearby - Piazza del DuomoFull of character
Palazzo Personè 6 rooms from $72Lecce
Located in an old 16th-century Synagogue, this charming B&B has bedrooms with original stone walls, high ceilings and calming natural colours. Palazzo Personè also boasts an extraordinary Baroque facade, cafe and cellar restaurant with wine bar. A great spot for exploring this ancient city.Value chic - Stylish accommodation at an equally attractive priceGreat walks - Via Libertini and Piazza del DuomoSwimming Pool - Pool and wellness lounge.Sights nearby - Amphitheatre Romano
Palazzo Gorgoni 4 rooms from $80Lecce, Puglia
Graceful B&B near Sant'Oronzo Square in the centre of Lecce. Huge, light-filled bedrooms with sandstone walls, parquet floors, and elegant furniture. A great value spot, and family friendly too.Value chicSights nearby - Located bang in the centre of LecceLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Casa Pasca 2 rooms from $91Minervino di Lecce
Casa Pasca B&B offers two spacious and elegant rooms in the town of Cocumola, a few miles from the Adriatic coast. Begin the day with a delicious breakfast before sunbathing on the rooftop terrace with some wine from their extremely well-stocked cellar. An unfussy but charming stay!Total relaxation - With a quiet atmosphere and a hot tub to unwind in, Casa Pasca will help you feel a million miles away from all your worriesValue chic - A charming and affordable property, offering shaded courtyards, comfotable rooms and a beach just a few miles awayGreat walks - Wander along the beach at sunset and bask in the gorgeous viewsSailing - Go on a boat tour of the area and discover its coastal beautyRecommended by - Sawdays
Corte dei Francesi 10 rooms from $91Lecce
Contemporary hotel in former tannery. Large rooms have exposed bricks walls, furnishings in cream and white, modern bathrooms and artworks. Sunny outdoor terrace to enjoy breakfast. Short walk from city's sights. Chic, elegant and grown-up.Romantic Break - Elegant rooms with four posters draped in white, charming outdoor terrace, plenty of historical walks and Italian dining clse bySights nearby - Maglie Duomo, Palazzo Baronale Capece, and Madonna Addolorata Church.Great walks - Corte dei Francesi is just a short walk from city centre
L'Orangerie d'Epoque 3 rooms from $103Lecce
Three pretty bedrooms and a gorgeous garden in a family palazzo. Antique furniture, stone fireplaces and period vaulted ceilings - two bedrooms have kitchenettes and access to the garden. Plus there is a larger suite ideal for families. A great value choice.Families - The suite sleeps four plus there are self-catering facilitiesValue chic - Stylish, relaxed accommodation at a great priceLocal markets - Visit charming local craft marketsGreat walks - Guided tours available
Patria Palace 63 rooms from $115Lecce
Traditional comforts and great hospitality in the heart of town. Behind the lovely Lecce stone facade the bedrooms contain frescoes, stucco work, cherry wood furniture and rich fabrics. A lovely little restaurant, small spa and gorgeous roof top terrace with views of Lecce.City Style - Fantastic service, elegant rooms and historic charm in the heart of LecceSights nearby - Santa Croce BasilicaGreat walks - Sant’Oronzo square
Santa Chiara 21 rooms from $131Lecce
Elegant hotel in city centre. Rooms feature wooden floors, creamy fabrics and big marble bathrooms. Roof terrace, gym and bar. Minutes from historical city sights; ideal for exploring as a city break.Local exploring - Situated opposite Must gallery and close to the Cathedral, hotel has a romantic roof terrace bar to enjoy an apertif and viewsSights nearby - Roman Amphitheatre; Cathedral of LecceCooking classes - In town- hotel can adviseOpulent
Mantatelure 6 rooms from $178Lecce (Le Palmeraie S.r.l.)
Refined sixteenth century mansion in a quiet corner of stunning Baroque Lecce with six modern, elegant rooms. Guests can enjoy a freshly baked Italian breakfast or sip glasses of prosecco in the exclusive garden terrace beneath the citrus trees, or relax in the hot tub. The perfect romantic getaway.Local markets - Explore local coffee shops and street markets.Sights nearby - Basilica di Santa Croce on Via UmbertoRecommended by - I Escape
Risorgimento Resort 47 rooms from $160Lecce
High-tech luxury and stylish contemporary design in a lovely old building. The five-star hotel combines earthy hues and local materials with sleek modernism. Elegant roof top restaurant serves local dishes, and has great city views. Spa and meeting facilities. City style for the mainstream.City Style - A chic hotel with panoramic rooftop views of Lecce’s Baroque historic centre.Great walks - The Botanical Garden on Via Provinciale LecceLocal markets - Visit local craftsmen on Via PalmieriSights nearby - Piazza Sant'OronzoRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
La Fiermontina 16 rooms from $226Lecce
A small corner of tranquility in central Lecce. Bearing distinctive local architecture, the hotel's minimalist aesthetic is complimented by pinnacled ceilings and tasteful modern art. Relax by the swimming pool, surrounded by olive groves, and enjoy some delicious Pugliese cuisine.Total relaxation - A modern retreat in the heart of town - an urban idyllRomantic Break - A great escape to take a loved oneSights nearby - Within five minutes walk of Basilica of Santa Croce, Roman Amphitheatre and Duomo Square.Local markets - Browse the local markets of Lecce.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith