Duomo - Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta
The current building of the late seventeenth century was built on the site of an earlier structure dating back to 1388, when the Dominican Fathers arrived in Lecce. The date of the foundation of the new building is March 6, 1691 and the construction work has been entrusted to the company septuagenarian Giuseppe Zimbalo, who also personally contributed to the financing. In 1710 Zimbalo died and the site was completed in 1728 by other artists, among whom were distinguished Giulio Cesare Penna and young Leonardo Protopapa. In 1948, Pope Pius XII, the church was declared a minor basilica. The exuberant front is divided into two orders by a balustrade decorated with trophies of flowers and statues on pedestals spherical depicting the visions of the prophet Ezekiel. The lower order is characterized at the center of two massive fluted columns that frame a large portal, surmounted by the symbol of the Dominicans and the statue of St. Dominic of Guzman. On the sides of the portal are two niches that the stone statues of St. John the Baptist and of Blessed Francis of the Order of Preachers. At the center of the balustrade, the divider between the two orders, the large central window is the statue of the Virgin; other statues are placed in large niches, in line with the lower order. The front-end with another balustrade and a broken pediment. At the bottom, the sides around the table there are two high plinths, one of which is a statue of St. Thomas Aquinas.