Visits to the Castle, Amphitheatre and Roman Theatre
Two millennia of history in a single tour. From the largest fortress in Apulia, the Charles V Castle, to the small jewel of the Roman Theatre, via the Amphitheatre adjacent to Piazza Duomo. A journey through time, civilisation and the ancient culture of the city to discover its hidden soul and character.
The tour can begin at the Charles V Castle, taking in the route from the dungeons to the patrol walkways, from the chapel of Santa Barbara and the parade ground to the Torre Mozza, and on to the noble halls and underground galleries. The stories and legends that the great manor house has held for centuries unfold. The building, which housed Maria d'Enghien and Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo, was surrounded on all four sides by a deep moat. Its current appearance is due to the interventions ordered by Charles V in the first half of the 16th century and carried out by the architect Gian Giacomo d'Acaya. A walk through history, therefore, which among other things reveals the functions that Charles V had over time: from a military fortress to a refuge for the community, passing through a period when it was a prison, as told by the signs and fascinating engravings on the walls.
The second stop is the great Amphitheatre (for the moment only the outside part due to ongoing work). Just a few steps from the central Piazza Sant'Oronzo, the ancient cavea built to host gladiator fights and 'hunts', discovered in the early 19th century, whose unveiling and return to the city radically changed its 'urban face'. A veritable treasure chest of stories and suggestions. According to the most accredited hypotheses, the original layout dates back to the Augustan age, while the portico 'in summa cavea' was erected in the Hadrianic period.
The visit continues a few streets further on, where, in the heart of the old town, nestled between the narrow streets and alleys, the Roman Theatre seems to blossom suddenly, intact and almost complete. Built in the 2nd century A.D., it suffered the oblivion of forgetfulness for some time and remained buried among gardens and palaces, literally swallowed up by the 18th-century city until it was rediscovered in 1929, and entirely brought back to light. This is therefore an opportunity to discover or learn more about the ancient cavea in which as many as four thousand spectators could be seated and where, among other things, a head of Asclepius and the statues of Athena, Artemis, Ares and Heracles were found.
Guided tours: 10am-12pm; 4pm-7pm.
Info and tickets: www.castellodilecce.it