Clarion Collection Arthotel & Park Lecce
Via Giorgio de Chirico 1
Phone: (39) 0832 214214
Fax: (39) 0832 347735
This was discovered at the start of the 18th Century, beside the Park Tower. It is a windowless room similar to a grotto; it was known as Paradise because it was decorated with shells. One wall had a Latin inscription describing what would happen to those who went there to keep cool (as the women of old used to do). The nymphaeum was a place to rest and be in contact with nature. It was a feature of Humanism to attempt to connect with classical antiquity which was why grottoes and their particular decoration was fashionable at that time. The nymphaeum is usually closed to the public but is opened on certain days in the year.
The tower was built toward the middle of the 15th Century by the prince of Taranto. The Torre del Parco and other structures were places of amusement and relaxation for the prince, who also installed a mint there. In the 1700s, the road that lead from the tower to Porta San Biagio became the first passeggiata (walkway) outside the Lecce walls, and two fountains were placed along it. Above the arches, along the walkway, are the coats of arms of the Habsburgs and the Romano counts.
The facade has two orders that were rebuilt in the 18th Century when work was carried out to enlarge and decorate the church with stucco when it became a parish. Inside you can see a fresco of St. Lazarus from the 15th Century. On the main altar there is a wooden cross that come from the Franciscan Church of Santa Maria del tempio which has been demolished, and the papier-mâché statue of St. Eligio made by Maccagnani. Every year in front of the church there is a fair in honor of the saint.
This church was built by the Alcanterini between 1677 and 1679. It has a simple façade and the floor inside is tiled with majolica from the 19th Century. There are Baroque paintings featuring St. James the Apostle, St. Peter of Alcantara and St. Joseph with Baby Jesus, thought to be by Luca Giordano and another featuring St. Pasquale of Baylon which could be by Giuseppe Simonelli. During the feast of St. James a traditional fair was held in font of the church. To mark the start of the festivities, eight companies of the civilian army would march accompanied by a noble who would place the royal banner from the castle on the bastions of the tower in the park. Aristocrats from Lecce would compete in equestrian events at the tournament which marked the closing the fair.
Built in the 18th Century, this is the most recent of Lecce's city gates as the fourth was destroyed during the 19th Century. Representing San Martino, it stood at the end of what today is Via Matteotti and led to San Cataldo and on to the many farms to the north of the city. The statue of the saint stands on hi
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