In the square, after the Patron Saints’ celebrations
For those, who visit Lecce, in Apulia region, in the South of Italy, it is natural to turn eyes to the sky and to look at the magnificent, precious casket of Baroque art within the city center. The sightseers become spectators of the rich Baroque lines that, under the various dominations, intertwined, over the centuries, combining and shaping the sacred element and the function of the urban architecture together.
The Mosaic of the Coat of Arms in the Ancient Square of the City
Story and legend are also in the coat of arms of the city and it is possible to admire this latter while walking in the ancient cobbled Piazza Sant’Oronzo, one of the main squares of Lecce. Here it is the patient and magistral work of composition in a splendid mosaic set in the heart of an oval. It was made in August 1953 by the skilled master and artist Giuseppe Nicolardi. He chose with care the stones to make the mosaic tiles from the cliffs of Santa Cesarea Terme and Leuca. The final work was introduced to the citizens of Lecce right at the eve of the Patron Saints’ (Sant’Oronzo, Giusto and Fortunato) celebrations.
The Coat of Arms: a Call to Legends and to the Historical Origins
The coat of arms of Lecce is a call to legends and to the historical origins of the city, which are bound to the ancient Roman Empire. Indeed, the coat of arms is represented by two main elements: a black she-wolf (it reminds of the Capitoline she-wolf) that solemnly goes, from the right to the left side of the viewer under a green holm oak tree and its golden fruits. Both of the two symbols are in a silver field and appear set in a Samnite shield and a crown with five towers is on top.
Back to the history of the city coat of arms, it has its roots in 1869, by the time Gaetano Longo, a typographer from Treviso, had in mind a project to collect the coats of arms belonging to all municipalities in Italy. On that occasion, Mayor Michele Lupinacci entrusted the task to Duke Sigismondo Castromediano (representative of the Conservative Commission of the Historical Monuments of Fine Arts in Terra d’Otranto) to create a design of the coat of arms and its heraldic description. Years later, once the commission approved both the design and symbols, Mayor Giovanni Pellegrino gave the new assignment to the expert in heraldry to Filippo Bacile Di Castiglione, Baron of Spongano. Changes took place with the advent of fascism, but, since the end of the Second World War and the fall of the regime, the coat of arms of the city is presented with the symbols in the original design.