The Sedile, the heart of Lecce’s Gothic Renaissance
Lecce’s “Sedile” is a magnificent palace from the Gothic-Renaissance age, built in the late 1500s in Piazza Sant’Oronzo.
At the time, Lecce was home to a substantial and very active group of Venetian immigrants, including the city’s mayor, Pietro Mocenigo, who in 1592 decided to have Palazzo del Seggio – as it is officially known – built, where a previous structure had been demolished a few years earlier.
As the place where governors held public hearings, the Sedile was the heart of the Salento city for centuries. Indeed, for a very long time Piazza dei Mercanti – the name of the square before it was dedicated to Lecce’s patron saint – was the main stage of local trade, riots, military battles, and religious processions.
The beautiful palace is a cuboid with lower ogival arches and upper round arches, decorated with coats of arms and panoplies, and featuring four corner pillars that reveal the columns they enclose from oval openings. Right next to the small San Marco church, it faces a Roman amphitheater from the 2nd century AD.
And of course, from one of its 30-meter-tall columns, the saint who protects the city watches over the whole square.