Province of Lecce

Coordinates: 40°21′7.24″N 18°10′8.9″E / 40.3520111°N 18.169139°E / 40.3520111; 18.169139
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Province of Lecce
The Cathedral of Gallipoli
The Cathedral of Gallipoli
Flag of Province of Lecce
Coat of arms of Province of Lecce
Map highlighting the location of the Province of Lecce in Italy
Map highlighting the location of the Province of Lecce in Italy
Country Italy
 • PresidentStefano Minerva
 • Total2,799.07 km2 (1,080.73 sq mi)
 (30 June 2016)
 • Total802,807
 • Density290/km2 (740/sq mi)
 • Total€12.715 billion (2015)
 • Per capita€15,789 (2015)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Telephone prefix0832, 0833, 0836
Vehicle registrationLE
Torre Sant'Andrea
Torre dell'Orso beach
Salandra square in Nardò

The province of Lecce (Italian: provincia di Lecce; Salentino: provincia te Lècce) is a province in the Apulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Lecce. The province is called the "Heel of Italy".[2] Located on the Salento peninsula, it is the second most-populous province in Apulia and the 21st most-populous province in Italy.[3]

The province occupies an area of 2,799.07 square kilometres (1,080.73 sq mi) and has a total population of 802,807 (2016). There are 97 comuni (sg.: comune) in the province. It is surrounded by the provinces Taranto and Brindisi in the northwest, the Ionian Sea in the west, and the Adriatic Sea in the east.[4] This location has established it as a popular tourist destination. It has been ruled by the Romans, Byzantine Greeks, Carolingians, Lombards, and Normans.[5] The important towns are Lecce, Gallipoli, Nardò, Maglie, and Otranto.[6] Its important agricultural products are wheat and corn.[7]


The province of Lecce has its origins in the medieval Giustizierato, known then as 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 Lecce was severely affected by poverty despite the production of olive oil.[8] People from Lecce migrated to the Province of Bari, where they worked in the wine industry.[9] Up to 1663, the province of Terra d'Otranto also included the territory of Matera (Basilicata). Its first capital was Otranto but in the Norman period (twelfth century), Lecce city was made the capital. After the unification of Italy, the name Terra d'Otranto was changed to province of Lecce and its territory was divided into the four districts; 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.[10]

After the first world war economic conditions worsened and unemployment peaked. These factors, coupled with the negligence of the weak government, prompted farm workers to revolt against their employers. Farm owners were captured and paraded in public places.[11] During the medieval era, Muslim slaves were transported from the province's ports and the practice of keeping slaves was common.[12] Lecce stone extracted from the province has been used to decorate several historical monuments and is widely used for interior decoration.[13]


The San Cataldo Nature Reserve [it] is located in the province.[14] It is a 28 hectares (69 acres) protected area that was set up in 1977 along the Adriatic coast near Leccce.[15] The Reserve is home to a large number of animals such as foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, weasels, reptiles and birds. A variety of Mediterranean plants species is also found here.[15] Lakes Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo are also located in the province.[2] Lake Alimini Grande is surrounded by a rocky area covered with pine woods and Mediterranean vegetation; also, its depth does not exceed four meters, and the water is rich with shellfish. [16] Lake Alimini Piccolo is found further inland and consists of freshwater; this water comes from the groundwater channel of the Rio Grande. Alimini Piccolo's depth does not exceed half a meter. [17]

Another tourist destination is the Ciolo, which is a canyon and includes also many caves. It is a natural habitat for many species of vagile meiofauna and ferns.


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, and there is an Arbëreshe community in Soleto.

Commune Population
Lecce 95,411
Nardò 31,442
Galatina 26,887
Copertino 24,113
Gallipoli 20,264
Casarano 20,169
Tricase 17,621
Galatone 15,528
Surbo 15,190
Trepuzzi 14,757
Leverano 14,283
Maglie 14,196
Squinzano 14,100
Veglie 13,947
Monteroni di Lecce 13,925
Cavallino 12,787
Taviano 12,698
Taurisano 12,668
Ugento 12,327
Carmiano 12,307
Lizzanello 11,926
Matino 11,444
Racale 11,011
Campi Salentina 10,351
Martano 9,151


  1. ^ Regions and Cities > Regional Statistics > Regional Economy > Regional Gross Domestic Product (Small regions TL3), OECD.Stats. Accessed on 16 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Province of Lecce". Understanding Italy. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT" (in Italian). 2009-12-30.
  4. ^ Domenico 2002, p. 26.
  5. ^ Domenico 2002, p. 27.
  6. ^ Domenico 2002, p. 28.
  7. ^ Macgregor 1843, p. 1171.
  8. ^ Gentilcore 1992, p. 28.
  9. ^ Cinel 2002, p. 181.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ Snowden 2004, p. 163.
  12. ^ Mikropoulos, p. 138.
  13. ^ Cassar & Winter 2014, p. 140.
  14. ^ "Lecce, Apulia". ITALIA. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Nature Reserve of San Cataldo". pugliaandculture. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Lake Alimini". pugliaandculture. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Lake Piccolo". pugliaandculture. Retrieved 17 October 2018.


External links[edit]

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