Holy Cross Cathedral

Holiday Travel Guide
Holy Cross Cathedral which includes heritage architecture

Gaze in appreciation at the Baroque façade and Renaissance interior of this church, which is a labor of love that took over 300 years to complete.

The Holy Cross Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Croce) is a symbol of artistic beauty. Its detailed stonemasonry and orthodox internal decorations bear testament to the talents of Lecce’s most revered artists. Gualtieri VI of Brienne laid the first stone of the Holy Cross Cathedral in the 1350s but the project was interrupted upon his passing. Work on the church resumed in 1549 and another 150 years passed before completion.

The church’s façade is an exquisite exhibition of bas-reliefs, columns, capitals and grotesques. It is the work of celebrated Baroque artists, including Francesco Antonio Zimbalo, Cesare Penna and Giuseppe Zimbalo. The main entrance is flanked by Corinthian columns with capitals adorned with gods and goddesses. Note the respective coats of arms of King Philip III of Spain, Mary of Enghien, Countess of Lecce and Walter VI of Brienne.

Look above the portal to see a balustrade festooned with animal and human caryatids. Above here, 13 cherubs decorate a railing. Pay attention to the large rose window, encircled by carvings of fruit and floral friezes. Spot statues of St. Benedict and St. Celestine stood in niches at either side of the window.

Venture inside to discover a Latin cross church layout with aisles divided by rows of columns. Four sets of double columns, beautified by the faces of the four evangelists, support the arches beneath the central dome.

Walk between the altars and chapels to admire displays of religious paintings. Most notable is the altar dedicated to St. Francis of Paola by Francesco Antonio Zimbalo. Decorating the altar are portrayals of scenes from the saint’s life.

Situated in Lecce’s historic old town, the church is easy to reach on foot from other city attractions. Piazza Sant’Oronzo, home to the Roman Amphitheater, is less than a 5-minute walk away. Directly behind the church is the city’s attractive municipal garden, Giardini Pubblici.

The Holy Cross Cathedral opens in the morning until midday and then reopens in the late afternoon. Admission is free.

Top Trending Hotels Near Holy Cross Cathedral

Hilton Garden Inn Lecce
Hilton Garden Inn Lecce
4 out of 5
Via Cosimo De Giorgi 62, Lecce
The price is £75 per night from 24 Oct to 24 Oct
Located in the heart of Lecce, this spa hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Franciscan Art Gallery, Chinese Missionary Museum and LecceFiere. Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (255 reviews)
"Fine hotel, nice roof terrrace, worn down with stained carpets in the corridors. Breakfast confusing re new covid rules and very limited"

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2020

Hilton Garden Inn Lecce
Patria Palace Hotel Lecce
Patria Palace Hotel Lecce
5 out of 5
Piazzetta Riccardi, Lecce, LE
The price is £171 per night from 3 Oct to 3 Oct
Located in Lecce Historic Center, this luxury hotel is steps away from Holy Cross Cathedral, Piazzetta Sigismondo Castromediano and Piazza Sant'Oronzo. Roman ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (250 reviews)
"Excellent overall! Courteous staff Beautiful facility"

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2019

Patria Palace Hotel Lecce
8piuhotel
8piuhotel
4 out of 5
Viale Del Risorgimento, Lecce, LE
The price is £87 per night from 22 Oct to 22 Oct
Situated in Lecce, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lecce Obelisk, Porta Napoli and Holy Cross Cathedral. Piazza Sant'Oronzo and Roman Amphitheater are also ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (480 reviews)
"8Piu Hotel has a great location. Its outside the city centre but very close to it via scooter or car. Its just on an exit of the highway so if you have a rented car is very nice. The room was okay but the air conditioner wasnt good enough for us, when we complained, twice along our stay they told ..."

Reviewed on 6 Sep 2021

8piuhotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Holy Cross Cathedral

Holy Cross Cathedral

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Palazzo G.Belli B&B
Palazzo G.Belli B&B
Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 33, Lecce, LE
The price is £61 per night from 26 Sep to 26 Sep
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Patria Palace Hotel Lecce
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8piuhotel
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The price is £87 per night from 22 Oct to 22 Oct
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The price is £75 per night from 24 Oct to 24 Oct
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B&B Palazzo Gorgoni
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The price is £73 per night from 27 Sep to 27 Sep
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Torre del Parco - 1419 Dimora Storica
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Viale Torre del Parco, 1, Lecce, LE
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Torre del Parco - 1419 Dimora Storica
Palazzo Sambiasi
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Via Marco Basseo 31, Lecce, Provincia di Lecce
The price is £71 per night from 8 Oct to 8 Oct
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Risorgimento Resort
Risorgimento Resort
5 out of 5
Via Augusto Imperatore, 19, (GPS: Via Vito Fazzi), Lecce, LE
The price is £145 per night from 27 Sep to 27 Sep
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Pollicastro Boutique Hotel
Pollicastro Boutique Hotel
4 out of 5
Via dei Perroni, 14, Lecce
The price is £177 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
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Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.