Baroque facade of Basilica di Santa Croce.

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Basilica di Santa Croce

Top choice in Lecce

It seems that hallucinating stonemasons have been at work on the basilica. Sheep, dodos, cherubs and beasties writhe across the facade, a swirling magnificent allegorical feast. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, a team of artists under Giuseppe Zimbalo laboured to work the building up to this pitch. The interior is more conventionally baroque, and deserves a look. Spare a thought for the expelled Jewish families whose land the basilica was built on.

Zimbalo also left his mark in the former Convento dei Celestini, just north of the basilica, which is now the Palazzo del Governo, the local government headquarters. Look for his profile on the facade of the basilica.

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