Lecce’s Church of St. Irene was built between 1591 and 1639 for the Theatines and dedicated to the city’s patron saint. The church is not far from the Duomo and the Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce’s city center.
The facade of the church features a statue of Saint Irene, sculpted in the early 18th century. Above that statue is Lecce’s emblem - a shelf-wolf and an oak tree. Artwork worth noting inside the church includes a number of beautiful altarpieces. A particularly large altar dedicated to Saint Cajetan dates from the late 17th century, and two other altarpieces date from the mid-17th century - including one to Saint Irene.
Some walking tours of Lecce include a stop in the Church of St. Irene, though many will make passing reference to the church from the outside.
Originally, there was a monastery built along with the church. The monastery was eventually closed and would become government offices and a school before its current incarnation, a venue for special exhibits.