A Guide to Gallipoli
Gallipoli is a coastal town in the south – west of Puglia. It’s name means ‘beautiful city’ in Greek. It is also known as ‘the Pearl of the Ionian Coast‘. It is surrounded by the sea and has centuries of maritime history. Fishing is still very important and you will often see fishermen mending their nets.
It also has a lovely seaside feel with beautiful beaches and fantastic seafood. It is in 2 parts with a modern section with a fantastic shopping street, Corsa Roma and a historic old town.
In this guide to Gallipoli, I explain what to see, what to do and where to stay in this beautiful city.
Things to See and Do in Gallipoli
The Centre Storica
The old town sits on an island, protected by city walls and a majestic castle and is connected to the mainland by a 17th century bridge.
It is possible to walk around the old city walls and through the ancient streets that cross cross the old town. Purity beach also sits below the castle walls.
Sunsets in Gallipoli
The city walls are also a fabulous place to watch one the wonderful sunsets. A couple of bars allow you to enjoy an aperol spritz whilst looking out to sea and the beautiful turquoise waters.
Castello di Gallipoli
Guarding the entrance to the old town sits the imposing fortress. It dates back to the 14th century to protect Gallipoli from the numerous invaders. You can walk the ramparts and look out over the ancient rooftops and the brightly painted boats of Gallipoli port.
It is also possible to visit the salt warehouse and some of the old rooms and halls which now house changing exhibitions.
The Old Port
A working little port nestled underneath the castle ramparts, full of colourful fishing boats and fishermen working on their boats and nets.
The Italy fish market
One of the first things you notice when crossing the bridge is the fish market. Fresh fish is brought here daily and small restaurants and stalls serve up fresh seafood feasts.
Cattedrale di Sant’Agata
The beautiful baroque cathedral sits right in the centre of the old town. A beautiful facade made from Salento stone with an equally impressive interior with a plethora of paintings.
The Greek Fountain
At the start of the old bridge leading to the old town sits the Greek fountain. For a long time this was believed to be the oldest fountain in Italy dating to the 3rd century. Some scientists are now disputing this, believing that the fountain was built during the Renaissance.
No matter, it is still very beautiful, one side displaying figures from mythology, the other with the coat of arms of the city carved into the stone.
Santuario della Madonna del Canneto
At the start of the bridge, behind the Greek fountain this pretty little church sits by the water. It also looks lovely illuminated at night.
Chiesa di San Domenica all Rosario
Following the promenade along the city walls will bring you to this church overlooking the sea. It was built in 1696 by Domenican monks using carparo stone.
Next to this is:
Church of the Holy Crucifix
Purity beach sits below the city walls in the old town.
Gallipoli has so many more beautiful beaches accessed by a lovely promenade walk with beautiful views back to old town Gallipoli or a short car or bus journey.
I took the 40 minute walk to Spaggia Baia Verde.
There are also paninotecas for a seaside snack.
On my walk I passed many other beaches. Some small and secluded, others with beach bars, sunbeds and parasols.
Spaggia Baia Verde is a long, beautiful beach with lovely views.
The Christmas Shop
Just up from the cathedral in the old town is the colourful Christmas shop.
Where to stay in Gallipoli
I stayed in the new town just off Corso Roma at b & b Palazzo Grassi. It was in a wonderful old house, like a living museum with so much history. My carved wooden bed was incredible.
The host was so hospitable and helpful and always contactable. There is a lovely outdoor area too.
Food and drink in Gallipoli
Seafood is a must in Gallipoli. On Sundays generations of families gather at restaurants for huge seafood feasts with many courses. I joined them at Grotta Marinara.
There are many other marvelous restaurants in the centre of the old town and lining the old walls to try the many local specialities, washed down with a couple of glasses of local wine.
Gallipoli is a picturesque place with a lovely feel. It is less than a hour by train from Lecce so makes for a lovely day trip. I would recommend that like me, you spend a few days there. There is a lot to keep you occupied.