Gallipoli, which means “beautiful city” in Greek, lies on Ionian Sea on the western coast of Puglia’s Salentine peninsula. Historically, Gallipoli was often under siege so it is almost completely surrounded by defensive walls. Over the centuries it was ruled by the Romans, Turks, Aragonese and Bourbons until 1860 when it was liberated by a group of Garibaldini.
The city is divided into two zones: the “Old Town” and the “New Town”. The “New Town” is divided by Corso Roma into two sections and this is where we will find more modern buildings and tourist services.
The “Old Town” is on a tiny island which is connected by a 17th century bridge to the mainland. With its labyrinth of narrow streets and churches, palazzi and structures, Gallipoli’s history and mix of different influences and cultures is apparent. Strolling through the old town, it’s impossible not to be distracted by charming alleys and courtyards that greet you at every turn.
Extending out into the sea, the impressive and majestic Castle remains a focal point of Gallipoli as does the Cathedral in the town center. Started in the 12th century and not completed until the 16th, the Cathedral, with its lovely facade and beautiful Baroque interior, was built in honor of Saint Agata.
Once a wealthy port town, Gallipoli has two ports with the fishing port being the oldest. Renowned for its fresh seafood and fish, if you get there in the morning you can visit the seafood market, a highlight. Chat with local fishermen, taste raw shrimps, sea urchins, shellfish and local oysters, and then head to to the sea-front promenade where you will find many cafes offering their fresh and delicious local specialties (not to mention breathtaking views!).
Take time to enjoy and savor this precious pearl!