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11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

March 14, 2020
If there's one thing Italy is full of, it's baroque churches. Standing proudly for centuries, these intricate shrines don't only tell of the Italians' devotion to Catholicism, but of their native craft as well. Each one tells stories with every brick, every arch, and every gilded altar. And they make for great photography shots as well. Here are some in Lecce, Italy that you must see when you go there!

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

 

Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria

Don't let this church's relatively plain exterior fool you. Inside the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria is an astounding shrine covered in beautiful frescos. From the walls to the arches, the pillars, and the ceilings, the entire interior shows scenes from the Bible and lives of various saints. Its decidedly dark color scheme makes it a unique art piece in of itself. Usually, frescos of this kind make use of light and pastel tones, mostly to evoke the heavenly spirits of its subjects. But here, the color scheme took on a much darker aesthetic. It's almost eerie in a way, but still so beautiful. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria

 

Basilica di Santa Croce

In these houses of God, gilding is a common theme. This was what made the Basilica di Santa Croce stand out against all the other churches in Lecce. At first glance, its ornate exterior will already catch one's eye. But once inside, one won't be able to ignore the gilded details that accent the rustic pillars and wooden furniture. The slightly unusual thing about it is that the gold doesn't overwhelm you. They truly just act as artistic accents to help brighten up the beautiful shrine. And in historic Italian art, such balance is quite rare. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Basilica di Santa Croce

 

Cattedrale di Sant'Agata

Housing the relics of San Fausto, one can already feel the solemnity in the Cattedrale di Sant'Agata. An elaborate facade decorated with statues greets the visitors. The appearance alone merits an Instagram post or two. But come inside and this is where it gets interesting. Full of beautiful paintings, the church is somewhat like a gallery of sorts. One in particular—"The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha"—rivals even those in Rome or Florence. The Lecce province in the Puglia region of Italy isn't as well known for its art. But the gems here can take anyone's breath away! 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Cattedrale di Sant'Agata

 

Chiesa di San Matteo 

There's something heavenly about the Chiesa di San Matteo. Perhaps it's its curvaceous structure. The overall architecture, seen from any angle, makes it look like the church is pointing up towards heaven. As if entering the sacred sanctuary is one's first step to the divine paradise. In fact, stepping into the church itself may already give one a glimpse of that, or remind one of what he/she saw in a movie once! With its milky color scheme of cream and off-white, the heavenly vibe of this photogenic church shows even more. There's just something so soothing about how the church is rendered overall. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: San Matteo Lecce

 

Chiesa di Santa Chiara

The Chiesa di Santa Chiara probably has the most ornate altar on this list. Peppered with all sorts of handicrafts, gilding, and statues, you'll find so many to snap when you're inside. The main altar alone is quite the masterpiece. Surrounding the statue of the Virgin Mary are figurines and sculptures of all sorts of angels and saints. It's as if they're protecting her from the outside world. There's even a bit of aggression with how meticulously ornate the altar is. Almost like you might hurt yourself if you come too close. Quite aesthetically perfect for a Fellini film, don’t you think?

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Chiesa di Santa Maria di Costantinopoli

There's beauty in the incomplete. This is what you'll likely think of when you see the unfinished interior of the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Constantinopoli. Most of the churches in Lecce, possibly even the whole Puglia region, boast of complete churches with the most ostentatious of appearances. But not the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Constantinopoli. Here, not only is the exterior incomplete (and there seem to be no plans of completing it), but even the interior is relatively bare. Its simplicity reminds you of the Alberobello Huts. Save for a crystal chandelier that just sparkles when the Mediterranean sun hits it. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Chiesa San Domenico

It's always so interesting when a baroque church's exterior doesn't exactly match its interior. One can feel this sense with Chiesa San Domenico. Upon seeing the outdoor facade, with its extravagant details and intricate craftsmanship that the interior is bound to look as ornate. There's so much to dissect in the exterior alone that you might take up all of your film. But once you step foot inside, it's as if you entered an entirely different church. With its white and mint colorway and slightly simplistic design, the inside is so relaxing. Far from the busy facade. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Porta

Out of all the churches on this list, the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Porta is perhaps the most unique. Firstly, it's decidedly simple, both on the exterior and interior. The finish of the front facade is so smooth and clean, you'd think you were in a different town. Upon entering, you'll also see that the inside is just as bare. with only a crucifix on the center altar, it's a far cry from the other cathedrals. However, this church is still worth photographing for its distinct round shapes. The architecture alone is quite magnificent. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Duomo Cathedral

Talk about baroque! The Duomo Cathedral exudes it from every corner. Its palatial facade makes it seem so royal. As if it used to house the great kings and emperors of Italy. Or a secret hideaway for the Vatican or the sort! The exterior is outrageously ornate, perhaps one of the more ostentatious on this list. But then, the interior is just as overwhelming. One of the altars, the one that bears the Virgin Mary, is so gilded that capturing it on your phone or camera might not do it justice. It's one of those places where one has to really see it to believe it. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Duomo di Otranto; Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata

From the impossibly ornate to the beautifully simple. In the municipality of Otranto stands a unique cathedral: the Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata. It's unique because, while its simplicity is starkly different from other basilicas in the Lecce province of the Puglia region, it's the church's ceiling that steals the show. Resplendently shining when the sun is at its peak, the ceiling of the cathedral harkens back to the Byzantine era and its mosaic influences. It's very much a mix of the baroque and the Byzantine art, and the result is nothing short of breathtaking. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso della Pietà

The Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso della Pietà is one of the finest examples of baroque architecture. It's ornate, yes, but it's also organized, symmetrical, and there's harmony to the whole facade. It doesn't rely too much on too many details as many baroque pieces do. The symmetry of it all deserves to be snapped from all angles. And once inside, the interior is just as beautiful. Though slightly dark, it reeks of both Rococo and baroque influences. It's a beautiful example of how two disciplines of art can blend together so well. 

11 of the Most Beautiful Churches to Photograph in Lecce, Italy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

The Lecce province in Puglia, Italy may not be on top of your travel list, but if you're one to visit beautiful places, their churches deserve your attention. Whether you're a professional photographer or not, you won't help but snap away at all the historic beauty you'll witness here. 




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