Ezechiele Leandro, Il sanctuario della pazienza [The Sanctuary of Patience]

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  • Location:

    San Cesario di Lecce, Italy (Map)

  • Status:


  • Artist:
  • Built:

    begun 1955

  • Materials:

    concrete and material scrap, including shards of glass, iron, tires, tiles, and other industrial waste.

About the Artist/Site

A native of nearby Lequile, Leandro worked from an early age in a variety of low-paying jobs, including as a cement-maker, and then as a miner in Africa and Germany. After the war he opened a bicycle shop and dedicated himself to making a living as a scrap dealer.

In 1955 Leandro began to build what was to become his house museum in San Cesareo. There are two main components of this site: a gallery for his paintings and sculptures, and an open area of over 700 square meters (over 7500 square feet) that he dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called the Sanctuary of Patience. This is a huge complex of statuesque figures and mosaics that depict religious themes such as the Apocalypse, the Passion of Christ, and the Last Judgment; altogether, the complex includes more than 2000 sculptures constructed from concrete and material scrap, including shards of glass, iron, tires, tiles, and other industrial waste.

The Sanctuary was inaugurated in 1975 after almost fifteen years of work. Despite the large exhibitions and the positive feedback Leandro received, however, the Sanctuary was viewed as a strange – albeit compelling – area in the village, and Leandro was forced to build a wall around it to protect his works from vandalism.

After the artist’s death, the property was entrusted to his nephew Antonio Benegiamo, and in 2015 it came under the guardianship of the local Fine Arts Office. However, it has suffered significant damage and parts of it are collapsing and in bad condition, so the site is considered threatened.

~Emanuela Iovino and Gabriele Mina



Map and site information

26 Via Cerundolo
San Cesario di Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Latitude/Longitude: 40.306107 / 18.16315


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