Roman amphitheatre in Lecce, Apulia
The legendary foundation of Lecce dates back to 1211 B. C., followed by conquests, ascents and downfalls. The amphitheatre was built in the 2nd century and had space for about 25,000 spectators. At that time, however, the rows of seats reached far beyond today's level. Earthquakes and decay levelled it so far that it was no longer visible. It was not unearthed until the Mussolinidictatura.
Lecce began to flourish in 1550 under the reign of Charles V of the Habsburg dynasty, who had the city developed into a heavily fortified administrative centre. For many buildings, the tufa of the surrounding area, which was easy to work with, was used, stimulating the sculptors to create rich and playful decorations of the building, the Baroque Leccesian style. The disadvantage of the tuff's easy machinability is its low resistance to the weathering effects of the environment.