Lecce's magnificent Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta never fails to take visitors by surprise. The sheer theatricality of its position, dominating a vast open square concealed in a maze of pedestrianized alleyways, embodies the very spirit of Baroque architecture. The aim was to stun the faithful with a vision of opulence and power; even today it leaves viewers openmouthed, especially at night when the entire piazza is illuminated like a stage set. The 17th-century church,
constructed in rose-tinged local stone, is flanked by the ornate Bishops' Palace, the seminary, and the 236-foot-high bell tower, which dominates the Old City skyline.
Piazza Duomo, off Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Lecce, 73100, Italy