Province of Lecce

Apulia, Italy

Province of Lecce
802 018

About Province of Lecce

The Province of Lecce (Italian: Province of Lecce; Salentino: province of Lècce) is a province of the Puglia region in Italy whose capital is the city of Lecce. The province is called the "heel of Italy". Located on the Salento peninsula, it is the second most populous province in Puglia and the 21st most populous province in Italy.

The province occupies an area of 2,799.07 square kilometers (1,080.73 square miles) and has a total population of 802,807 (2016). There are 97 municipalities (Italian: comune) in the province. It is surrounded by the provinces of Taranto and Brindisi in the north-west, the Ionian Sea in the west and the Adriatic Sea in the east. This position has established it as a popular tourist destination. It was ruled by Romans, Byzantine Greeks, Carolingians, Lombards, Arabs and Normans. The important cities are Lecce, Gallipoli, Nardò, Maglie and Otranto. Its important agricultural products are wheat and corn.


The province of Lecce has its origins in the ancient Giustizierato, then known as the Province of Terra d'Otranto. From the 11th 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 period Lecce was seriously affected by poverty despite the production of olive oil. The population of Lecce emigrated to the province of Bari, where he worked in the wine industry. Until 1663, the Province of Terra d'Otranto also included the territory of Matera (Basilicata). Its first capital was Otranto but in the Norman period (XII century), the city of Lecce became the capital. After the unification of Italy, the name Terra d'Otranto was changed to the Province of Lecce and its territory was divided into four districts; Lecce, Gallipoli, Brindisi and Taranto. Its rupture began in 1923 when the district of Taranto was transformed into the new Ionian province.

After the First World War, economic conditions worsened and unemployment peaked. These factors, combined with the negligence of the weak government, have pushed agricultural workers to rebel against their employers. The owners of the farms were captured and paraded in public places. During the Middle Ages, Muslim slaves were transported from the ports of the province and the practice of keeping slaves was common. The Lecce stone extracted from the province has been used to decorate various historical monuments and is widely used for interior decoration.


The San Cataldo Nature Reserve is located in the province. This is a protected area of 28 hectares (69 acres) which was established in 1977 along the Adriatic coast near Leccce. The Reserve is home to a large number of animals such as foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, weasels, reptiles and birds. A variety of Mediterranean plant species is also found here. The lakes Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo are also located in the province. Alimini Grande lake is surrounded by a rocky area covered by pine forests and Mediterranean vegetation; moreover, its depth does not exceed four meters and the water is rich in molluscs. The Alimini Piccolo lake is located inland and consists of fresh water; this water comes from the Rio Grande underground water channel. The depth of Alimini Piccolo does not exceed half a meter.


Lecce has several ethnic and linguistic minority groups. A Griko community of about 40,000 inhabitants lives in the region of Greece Salentina in the central area of the province, and there is an Arbëreshe community in Soleto.

Source: Wikipedia
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