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Baroque in Apulia: two centuries of history

by Oct 6, 2016Lecce0 comments

Baroque in Apulia is the artistic expression of about 2 centuries, from’ 600 to’ 800, where many artists have competed to make it more beautiful than ever with the construction of religious buildings, palaces and constructions of a wealth and elegance that in southern Italy has no equal.

Baroque in Apulia: artistic expression of two centuries of history

Baroque in Apulia came thanks to the Spaniards and it is no coincidence that Salento and Lecce are the undisputed symbol of it, precisely because they are the places where there is a greater concentration of these wonderful works of art.
Defining Baroque in Apulia is not simple, because its expression is dominated by excesses and allegories that in any case exalt the artistic talent of authors such as Francesco Antonio Zimabalo, Cesare Penna, Emanuele Manieri and many others.
It is no coincidence that, when one speaks of baroque in Apulia, one refers to genuine stone chisels, very similar to embroideries that can be admired in the decorations of churches and public buildings or in private ones.
Baroque was not only a cultural movement, but also a response to the heresy of the Protestants and the Counter-Reformation, to emphasize the power and willingness of Catholics to pursue their faith.
This is where all this magnificence comes from, which has brought Baroque in Apulia to the highest peaks of artistic beauty.
In Apulia, the city of Lecce is the symbol of the festivity and prominence of Baroque and coincidence was happy, when many bankers from Tuscany and Liguria found themselves in Salento, to realize important projects. This is how the artistic palaces were commissioned with balconies kept by lion’s heads, the “embroidered” rosettes of churches, the monumental portals and the rich decorations inside and outside basilicas, which become real treasures that never tire those who admire them.

Lecce, living room of Apulia

The city symbol of baroque in Apulia and Salento has been defined in the most diverse ways:”the Florence of the South”,”the city with filigree architecture” as Michele Paone himself said, one of the greatest scholars of this artistic current in Apulia, or “city-church”.
All to say that Lecce is of an overwhelming beauty in its straw yellow light reflected by the palaces built with the famous Lecce stone.
This stone, its malleability and “softness”, is the reason for the decorations of so many precious details and at the same time the robustness and imperiousness that the palaces and churches can transmit to the visitor.
Lecce with its baroque never tires, invites you to be continuously discovered in its majesty, starting from the square which is also a living room of extreme elegance.
Piazza Duomo, where you can see the side of the religious building, is already shown in all its typical Baroque style. The church, however, considered perhaps the most beautiful and rich artistic of all the Baroque in Apulia, is that of Santa Croce: rose windows, cherubs, columns, pilasters, flowers and fruit, loggias, figures of elegant animals, confuse the gaze among a thousand details. The nearby former Celestini convent, where the Province is now located, is built in the same style.

the colourful play of Lecce stone

The stone from Lecce, which during the daytime shows a straw yellow color, can transform itself with the passage of hours and when it is illuminated by artificial lights.
If you are in Lecce, look at the golden colors that it assumes at sunset and what can become romantic and intimate in the evening, when buying orange tones, soft and delicate, similar to no other stone.




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