Chiesa di Santa Chiara
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II 11
This is an interesting example of Lecce Baroque from the late 17th Century even though the church was rebuilt between 1687 and 1691. The unfinished façade is divided in two orders: the projecting part is created by the flight of steps which give access to the richly decorated central doorway. The sides of the first order are slightly sunken making the façade seem like it leans forward. Volutes divide the second order from the first and end in plinths. The church is elegant but minus the pomp and makes good use of chiaroscuro. There are four niches in the lower order and two in the upper. Inside the church you will find one octagonal nave. The deep presbytery is divided into two orders. One has fluted Corinthian pilaster strips, the other Tuscan pilaster strips two windows and statues of saints. There are four sumptuous, gilded altars from the 18th Century, which are the reason the church is one of the most beautiful in Lecce: they're decorated in great detail with spiral columns and human forms. There are also two altars from the 18th Century dedicated to St. Francis and the Virgin Mary designed by Cino who was given the task of rebuilding the church in 1687. The six chapels are flanked by Corinthian pilaster strips. Over the arches above them you can see the grates through which the nuns would listen to mass.