Province of Lecce

Province of Lecce

Map highlighting the location of the province of Lecce in Italy
Country  Italy
Region Apulia
Capital(s) Lecce
Comuni 97
  President Antonio Maria Gabellone
  Total 2,759 km2 (1,065 sq mi)
Population (2012)
  Total 814,495
  Density 300/km2 (760/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 73001-73100
Telephone prefix 0832, 0833, 0836
Vehicle registration LE
Torre Sant'Andrea

The Province of Lecce (Italian: Provincia di Lecce) is a province in the Apulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Lecce which is known as the Florence of the South. The province itself is called the "Heel of Italy".[1] Totally included in the Salento peninsula, it is the second most populous province in Apulia and the twenty-first most populous in Italy.[2]

It has an area of 2,759 square kilometres (1,065 sq mi) and a total population of 814,495 (2012). There are 97 comunes (Italian: comuni) in the province. It is surrounded by the provinces of Taranto and Brindsi in the northwest, Ionian Sea in the west, Adriatic Sea in the east.[3] This location has established it as a popular tourist destination. It has been ruled by the Romans, Byzantine Greeks, Carolingians, Lombards, Arabs and Normans.[4] The important towns are Lecce, Gallipoli, Nardò, Maglie and Otranto.[5] The important agricultural products are wheat and corn.[6]


The province of Lecce has its origins in the ancient Giustizierato, then the Province of Terra d'Otranto. Since the eleventh century the Terra d'Otranto included the territories of the provinces of Lecce, Taranto and Brindisi (with the exception of Fasano and Cisternino). During this time the current region of Lecce was severely affected by poverty despite the production of olive oil.[7] People from Lecce migrated to the Province of Bari where they worked in the wine industry in order to earn their living.[8] Up to 1663 the Province of Terra d'Otranto also included the territory of Matera (Basilicata). Its capital was at first Otranto, but in the Norman period (twelfth century), Lecce was made the capital. After the unification of Italy, the name of Terra d'Otranto was changed to Province of Lecce and its territory was divided into the four districts of Lecce, Gallipoli, Brindisi and Taranto. Its break-up began in 1923, when the district of Taranto was transformed into the new province of the Ionian.[9] After the first world war the economic condition worsened and unemployment reached its height. These factors coupled with the negligence of the weak government prompted the farm workers to revolt against their farm owners. After being captured the farm owners were paraded in public places.[10] During the medieval era, Muslim slaves were transported from the ports located in the province and the practice of keeping slaves was common.[11] Lecce stone extracted from the province has been used in decorating several historical monuments and is widely used in interior decoration.[12]

Natural Reserve of San Cataldo is located in the province.[13] Lakes Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo are also located in the province.[1] Italian and Griko language are spoken by the inhabitants.[13] A few major attractions of the province are Piazza Duomo, Piazza Sant'Oronzo, Palazzo del Seggio, Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Castle of Charles V, Basilica di Santa Croce, Porto Cesareo, Gallipoli and Torre San Giovanni. The Natural Park of Porto Selvaggio is known for its caves.[13]


Lecce has several ethnic and linguistic minority groups. A Griko community of around 40,000 lives in the Grecia Salentina region in the central area of the province, with an Arbëreshe community in Soleto.

Commune Population
Lecce 94,949
Nardò 31,195
Galatina 27,317
Copertino 24,452
Gallipoli 21,038
Casarano 20,593
Tricase 17,832
Galatone 15,850
Maglie 14,982
Trepuzzi 14,702
Squinzano 14,636
Surbo 14,494
Veglie 14,337
Leverano 14,177
Monteroni di Lecce 13,895
Taviano 12,698
Taurisano 12,682
Carmiano 12,307
Ugento 12,076
Cavallino 11,995
Matino 11,814
Lizzanello 11,376
Campi Salentina 10,925
Racale 10,806


  1. 1 2 "Province of Lecce". Understanding Italy. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT" (in Italian). 2009-12-30.
  3. Domenico 2002, p. 26.
  4. Domenico 2002, p. 27.
  5. Domenico 2002, p. 28.
  6. Macgregor 1843, p. 1171.
  7. Gentilcore 1992, p. 28.
  8. Cinel 2002, p. 181.
  9. "R.D. 2 settembre 1923, n. 1911 - Istituzione della provincia di Taranto" [R.D. September 2, 1923, n. 1911 - Establishment of the Province of Taranto] (in Italian). G.U. di pubblicazione. 21 November 1923. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  10. Snowden 2004, p. 163.
  11. Mikropoulos, p. 138.
  12. Cassar & Winter 2014, p. 140.
  13. 1 2 3 "Lecce, Apulia". ITALIA. Retrieved 24 September 2014.


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Coordinates: 40°21′7.24″N 18°10′8.9″E / 40.3520111°N 18.169139°E / 40.3520111; 18.169139

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