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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Can you imagine - in the city where you live - that while digging the foundation of a bank, a long-buried ancient Roman ruin is discovered?

That's exactly what happened in 1938 when the Bank of Italy was building their branch in Lecce, Italy.

The construction workers discovered a Roman Amphitheater!!

---- Right in the middle of the city at Piazza Sant'Oronzo, the town's core.---

Take a look.

The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

The column of Sant’Oronzo on the right and the Palace of the National Insurance (INA) on the left





Lecce’s Roman amphitheater was once five stories high.

It seated 25,000 spectators and hosted gladiator bouts to entertain the legions of Roman soldiers in the city at the time.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the amphitheater fell into disuse and was later buried beneath the ground as the city grew and evolved.

 It became completely hidden from view and its existence forgotten.

The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

This ancient Roman Amphitheater was re-discovered less than 100 years ago!

I can only imagine how startled everyone in town was at the unearthing of such an archaeological find.

Right now, it is possible to see only a third of the entire structure, as the rest is still hidden under the Piazza Sant'Oronzo. Other important historical buildings are located here as well as the church of Santa Maria della Grazia.

However, there are tours available to see the underground pens and passageways. 

The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

The buildings of the city and the Roman Amphitheater built of Lecce stone

The whole historical center of Lecce has an unusual yellow-creamy appearance, due to a particular limestone found in this area of southern Italy.

It's sometimes called "Lecce stone" and you can see how the city looks being built of this material.

Underneath this arena are the enclosures that once housed animals, prisoners, and slaves.

Legions of Roman soldiers were entertained by shows of blood shedding competition such as gladiators fighting with bulls, lions, bears, or even other humans.

These wild and exotic animals were brought here from the far boundaries of the Roman Empire. The animals fought each other to the death, or gladiators would fight them.

Gladiators also battled against those who were sentenced to execution and there were clashes among the gladiators themselves.

Apparently there was a designated time schedule for these collisions.

 Battles between animals or between gladiators and animals were planned for the mornings. Public executions occurred at lunch time and the combats  between gladiators occurred in the afternoon.

Now, if you ever have the doubt that humanity has not improved over the millennia, consider that we no longer host these sort of displays in our sport stadiums today!

The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

To the right is the Church of Santa Maria della Grazia

It must have been a great decision - in the midst of so much physical historical evidence over the centuries - to determine which buildings must stay and which ones could be demolished in the unearthing of this theater.

This area of the Piazza is a mish-mash of architecture.

The Roman column which you see here to the right is one of two that the Romans built to signify the end of their famous Appian Way and was built in the year 110. The other column is located in Brindisi, and this one was gifted to Lecce in in 1659.

It is now topped by Oronzo – the Patron Saint of Lecce, who is credited for sparing the town from the plague in 1656.

The amphitheater today is used for more peaceful pursuits, including a summer series of concerts and plays. It hosts a Nativity Scene at Christmastime as well.

The inside is not always open to the public, and when we were here, there were no tours offered.

Collection of locks for lovers, The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

A collection of Lover's locks





It is common in Europe and in Mexico to have places where Lovers inscribe locks with their names or initials. Then these locks are gathered together at a significant location (such as this Amphitheater) to signify the commitment of love that the couples have for each other.

The Roman Amphitheater is to the right after the wall.

Cafe at the The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

A cafe at the theater location

We sat at this cafe for coffee and croissants one morning across from the ancient amphitheater. Amazing!

It is a remarkable experience to be in this century and witness the physical confirmations of civilizations of the past.

Romans used this town as a resort or a trading port along the Mediterranean, and Lecce was conquered and occupied during the many invasions since then.

Buildings were built during Mussolini's Fascist period and the city played a significant role in WWII.

People, culture, beliefs, and structures all came and went.

Our bill at the cafe at the The Roman Amphitheater of Lecce, Italy

Our bill

We were charged $6.70Euros - about $7USD for 1 cappuccino, 2 waters and 2 croissants, which are called cornettos here.

If you are in Lecce, make it a point to come see the Roman Amphitheater.

Hopefully there will be a tour available during your stay!


Roman Amphitheater of Lecce

Piazza Sant'Oronzo

Phone: 0832247018

Make inquiries at the tourist information office located on Piazza del Duomo.


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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on


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