The Basilica of Santa Croce is one of the most important and admired churches in Lecce, but it had a somewhat troubled birth. The first stone was laid in 1353 but its construction stopped almost immediately due to the death of its patron, Gualtiero Di Brienne.
The work resumed only in 1549 by the most important Salento architects of the time: Gabriele Riccardi, Giuseppe Zimbalo and Cesare Penna, supported in the execution by the major stonecutters and carvers of the Lecce area. The Church of Santa Croce was only finished in 1699 and bears the signs of the passage of this long period of time.
Overall, the triumphal decorations on the front of Santa Croce are the never banal and predictable figurative interpretation of very specific symbolic elements such as flames, lions, pelicans, pomegranates, which harmonize in a soft and light design, able to effortlessly combine images pagan and Christian, alternating with flowers, festoons, animals, angels, insignia, coats of arms and spheres with the cross.