The Roman Amphitheater

4 Mar

The Piazza Sant’Oronzo is the center of Lecce. The Roman Amphitheater is the heart of the Piazza. Built by Caesar Augustus in the first century BC before he was Emperor of the Roman Empire. The Amphitheater demonstrates the importance of Lecce in the Empire.

The Amphitheater was abandoned and covered for centuries by subsequent building in the center of Lecce. It was rediscovered in the early 20th century when excavating the foundation for a new Bank of Italy on the Piazza. In the Fascist era of Italy, a National Insurance building was constructed rimming the amphitheater and mimicking its curve albeit with a Brutilist architectural style.

The Amphitheater was estimated to be 53 by 34 meters when it was built. Today the ruins to be seen are a small part of that original structure. It is estimated that up to 25,000 spectators could attend the events available to Lecce’s populace.

Entertainment in the arena followed a repeated daily schedule. Mornings were devoted to fights between gladiators and animals. Lunch was reserved for public executions. And afternoon was devoted to gladiator against gladiator. It was a full day of “bread and circus” the citizens of Lecce.

4 Responses to “The Roman Amphitheater”

  1. Terrence Murphy March 4, 2022 at 6:38 pm #

    Impressive. Did Dana take these pictures? There seem to be no other people about. And, which of the three daily “events” would you have enjoyed? 25,000 attendees! That’s a lot of people. The building material seems to be that same Lecce stone. Oh, I also didn’t see any souvenir stands. Terry

    • Jill and Dana March 4, 2022 at 7:19 pm #

      There really are few shops with tourist focused merchandise. Lecce really isn’t touristy. We rarely see anyone who isn’t Italian. In fact people know immediately we are “English.” When we tell them we are from the USA, they are surprised. But very little English is spoken. Many, many buildings are of Lecce stone. I have heard it referred to as a “gentle stone.”

      • Jill and Dana March 4, 2022 at 7:26 pm #

        Dana did take the photos and there are very few people about. That is partly because it was morning. There are many more walkers in the evening.

      • Jill and Dana March 4, 2022 at 7:31 pm #

        And definitely not public executions on my lunch break…

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