Castello Carlo V (the Castle of Charles V) is a majestic fortification in the heart of Lecce. Just a few steps from Piazza Sant'Oronzo, it marks the point where the old town and the modern downtown area meet.
Although it has undergone several rebuilds over the centuries, the structure preserves its original trapezoidal base with four massive arrowhead bastions on each corner. An internal courtyard separates two concentric buildings. Dating back to different eras, these testify to the various stages of the Castle's history.
The Castle's central structure dates to the 12th century, while the so-called Torre Quadrata (Square Tower), a quadrangular fortified tower that was incorporated into the 16th century complex, is thought to be Angevin (14th century).
The Castle hosts art exhibitions and cultural events, thus offering visitors the chance to admire its rigorous external architecture, so typical of 16th-century defensive structures, and its rich interior decoration.
Designed by the architect Gian Giacomo dell’Acaya, the Castle was built over the remains of a Norman castle that probably dates back to the time of King Tancredi. To make way for the new structure, the Celestine Monastery of Santa Croce (Holy Cross) and the Cappella della Santissima Trinità (Chapel of the Holy Trinity) were both torn down. Their memory, however, has been preserved - two of the Castle's four angular bastions are named after them.
The severe external architecture, typical of 16th-century defensive structures, gives way to precious decoration inside the walls. Examples include the cornice that runs around the central courtyard and the groin vaulted ceilings of the inner rooms. Of great interest are also the bastions, especially the Baluardo di San Giacomo (Bastion of Saint James), and the 16th century doorway that opens onto a spacious hall decorated with finely sculpted capitals.
Characteristic of local artisanal artistic traditions, papier-mâché is the star of the Museum housed in the Castle of Carlo V. As you wander through the Castle's regal rooms, you can admire a collection of more than 80 works created by the city's top papier-mâché artists over a period running from the 18th century to the present day. Videos, images and reconstructions of real “workshops” render a visit even more fascinating.
Viale XXV Luglio 73100 Lecce +390832246517
Bar - Refreshment Stand, Convention Hall, Groups Reception, Guided Tours, Merchandising , Press Office, Recreational Offers, Ticket Office, Toilet Facilities and Showers
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