I. A S. E. Province Of Italy, formerly called Terra d'Otranto, and forming part of the division of Apulia, though in antiquity it formed the separate division of Calabria or Messapia; area, 3,293 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 493,594, including about 40,000 Arnauts and Greeks. It is traversed in its entire length from N. W. to S. E. by the Apennines. Among the more important coast rivers are the Lieto and the Galeso. The climate is mild, but the province often suffers from great drought. Among the chief products are corn, cotton, tobacco, wine, and olives. It is divided into the districts of Brindisi, Gallipoli, Lecce, and Taranto.
II. A City, capital of the province, at the foot of the Apennines, 21 m. S. S. E. of Brindisi; pop. in 1872, 23,247. It is the seat of a bishop, of a prefect, and a tribunal of primary jurisdiction, and has a lyceum, a castle, and manufactories of tobacco and cotton. The Lecce oil, the best kind of table oil, constitutes an important article of trade. During the middle ages Lecce was a county of the Normans; and in 1189 Count Tancred of Lecce became king of Sicily.