Surrounded by fecund lands and wonderful rural fields, a necessary route if you are driving through the road connecting Lecce and Gallipoli, Lequile is without any doubt one of the most interesting towns in all Salento.
Once there, you will be totally immersed in the beauty of its works of art: its houses overlooking the main square, its aristocratic buildings, its corner pillars and numerous chapels.
The town’s triangular San Vito square, in the middle of which stands a spire, built in 1694 and featuring the statue of Lequile’s Patron Saint, features the seventeenth-century Saluzzo Baronial Palace, whose design has been attributed to Mauro Manieri.
You will be stunned by the mighty elegance of the palace façade, characterized by a long row of windows on its upper level and a majestic portal decorated with bosses below it. A few steps away, you can visit the Mother Church dedicated to the Vergine Assunta, another masterful design by Mauro Manieri, here helped by his son Emanuele. Its interior features baroque altars, wooden statues and precious paintings.
Your tour through the town will get even better once you will encounter other religious buildings: the sixteenth-century Chapel of the Cappuccinelle, featuring a main portal framed by columns decorated with Corinthian capitals; the Church of the Brothers of the Congregation, not featuring any bell tower but embellished with paintings and medallions made with Lecce stone; the Church and Convent of the Franciscan order, built starting from 1613 on the old road that connected Lequile with Copertino, which you should visit for the high value frescoed cloister completed in 1692 and for the refectory frescos and wooden seats – added between 1692 and 1695.
For the whole duration of your tour, you will be constantly escorted by the colorful silhouette of the majestic dome of the Church of San Nicola, towering all over the town of Lequile. Covered with polychrome tiles, it is one of the few churches of the area to have been developed around a central plan. This town gave birth, among the others, to two renowned local Baroque architects: Niccolò da Lequile and Salvatore Miccoli, the last one being the designer of the Church of San Vito, developed around a Greek cross plan and dominated by a dome covered with maiolica. San Vito is the town’s Patron Saint, celebrated by the local community in June during the festival locally known as Santu Itu Ranne – Saint Vito the Great.
Apart from the religious buildings, Lequile is also full of beautiful civilian buildings: Caiaffa palace, looked over by a richly decorated balcony, standing on ornate corbels and enclosed with a balustrade; Andrioli palace, featuring a majestic main portal; Tondo palace, featuring a wide façade completed by its ornate cornice.
Your tour through Lequile will be even more fulfilling once you will have looked in a more detailed at all the town’s millenary arts, from the fine fabrics hand woven by the expert hands of the local seamstresses, to the magnificent vases moulded by the local potters. Finally, the beauty of the arts will leave room to the exquisiteness of the flavors, as you will try the local mozzarella made with cow’s milk, stretched and kneaded with the local “stecca e martello” technique, along with many other traditional dairy products.