Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross), Lecce (must see)
The basilica project was plodded on for more than a hundred years. Architects Gabriele Riccardi, Francesco Antonio Zimbalo, and Cesare Penna, with the help of master stone masons from Lecce, completed the work in 1699. The church facade is lavishly decorated in a high Baroque style. Not for nothing Lecce is called "the Florence of the South."
The upper facade decorations were completed by Giuseppe Zimbalo, the nephew of Francesco Antonio. The base facade is supported by six smooth columns, three on each side of the main portal, which is flanked by four shorter columns, two on each side. The entablature is covered with bizarre, grotesque animals and strange flora.
The coats of arms include those of Philip III of Spain, Mary of Enghien, and Walter VI of Brienne. The side portals carry the arms of the Celestines. Telemons represent Turks taken prisoner at the Battle of Lepanto. Animals under the balustrade represent the Christian powers at Lepanto.
The interior is a Latin cross. Two of the five aisles are now side chapels. The high altar of the present day was removed from the church of Saints Niccolo and Cataldo in 1956. Paintings are Adoration of the Shepherds, Annunciation, Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and The Flight to Egypt.
The wooden ceiling was rebuilt in 1800. The dome of 1590 is intact. There is a total of sixteen baroque altars. The most ornate is the altar dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola. It was created by Francesco Antonio Zimbalo in 1615. It can be found in the left transept. It is regarded as the most exalted sample of Baroque sculpture in Lecce.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Lecce. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) on Map
Walking Tours in Lecce, Italy
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles