The Castle


The Castle in the modern age

Between the end of ‘500 and early’ 600, as most of the fortifications of the area, the castle of Lecce headed for a slow decline. Since 1690 the castle was the seat of the court of the Royal Audience, and in the eighteenth century there are records of its use as a venue for civil rooms while the salon was proposed to use it for theater. Since 1870, for over a century, the castle saw the presence of the military who had in its structure the headquarters of the 5th Military District. During this period the castle underwent major transformations. In 1872 it was finally bridged the gap and the area once occupied by this complex of buildings was built a theater: the Teatro San Carlino, the Politeama Greek and Apollo Theatre. The southern side, however, was occupied in 1898 by the Market Hall with the roof removed liberty in the eighties and in 1928 by a monumental fountain that recalled the arrival in town of the water of the Sele.

Charles V Castle

When Charles V became Emperor, he promoted the renovation of the manor in 1539. In 1553 when the Viceroy Pietro from Toledo died(whose coat of arms is still visible on the ceiling of the Maria d’Henghien first-floor room) all the restoration activity was completed. Both the castle and the town’s defensive system were reinforced in order to satisfy the new military necessities. The castle in particular became the symbol of Charles V’s power and one of the strongest fortresses of the Kingdom.
The renovation project was committed to Gian Giacomo dell’Acaya, “the Official Military

The medieval castle

It was built during the Norman period as the residence of the Counts of Lecce and is located on the eastern part of the city close to the ancient city walls.
As revealed from the archaeological digs, the medieval castle was only the quadrangular central part of today’s fortress between the two still existing towers “Magistra and Mozza”. Other documents say that there might be another circular tower and a ravelin close to the main entrance of the fortress.
There were 3 presumed entrances but only one is now clearly visible thanks to the discovery of a draw bridge under the St. Barbara chapel.
The castle was surrounded by a deep moat linked on its eastern side to a larger one that surrounded the whole town.

Architecture Castle

Archaeological excavations