Casa Li Santi

Lecce and the Palace

Spending a few words on Lecce would be as hard as describing the tones of a big operatic voice, such as Tito Schipa. This ancient city among two seas is made of tones: those of the sky, of the stone its palaces are made of, those of its citizens’ hospitability.

Lecce is said to be there since the Trojan war, but the first historical evidences went to the time of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. He turned Lecce into one of the most important business areas with the East. The Roman amphitheatre and San Cataldo port are of that period.

After the fall of the Roman empire, Lecce was conquered and brought to decline by several barbarian tribes- like the Saracens and the Lombards. In the early 1000, Lecce was under Norman rule; thanks to prince Tancredi, it turned into a cultural-economical centre until 1400, when it joined the Naple Reign. Under the Bourbons, Lecce became an important cultural centre, implementing its businesses with merchants from Florence, Venice, Greece, Genoa and Albany.

In 1500 the city was a building yard under the open sky: many rich citizens and ecclesiastic authorities charged brilliant architects to build unique churches and palaces, made of tufa stone. One of the brightest architects was Manieri, who was commissioned by the Sambiasi family to plan the palace our house is in. It was set in Li Santi street and it is still one of the best examples of the late-Renaissance architecture.

In the late XVIII century, the owners decided to modernize the palace, especially on the inside. That provided the building with a more neoclassical style.