Things To Do In Gallipoli
Gallipoli is a charming seaside town in Salento where sun, sea, and fun are guaranteed. Salento is a place in Italy under the region of Puglia that is full of incredible colors and a relaxing atmosphere. In addition to its crystal clear waters, bays with golden sand beaches (Spiaggia della Purita), the emerald sea, the real pearl of Salento is Gallipoli and its historic center. It is very much alive in terms of tourism and culture, full of churches and religious buildings to no end. It is characterized by small winding alleyways that are always crowded with tourists. In addition to the beautiful landscape you will find monuments, historic museums, and typical shops that sell local crafts, olive oil, and handmade sandals.
Gallipoli is unique and full of wonderful things to see, especially its bastion sea, its old castle (Castelo di Gallipoli), the church of the Holy Crucifix, the quaint fishing port and the many small streets full of nice little stalls with shopping at affordable prices. This little town is worth a visit because it has one of the most beautiful ports of the Salento peninsula. The city is divided into two like so many other cities in Italy. The old part of Gallipoli is a limestone island connected to the mainland by a bridge built since the 16th century. Its maze of squares, cobbled streets, friendly people, and sumptuous Italian food are part of a set of factors that will make you stay enchanted with the town of Gallipoli.
When To Go:
The town of Gallipoli is characterized by a gentle atmosphere all year round. The peak season for tourism starts from the month of May until October. Around this time, the weather is hot, but pretty much tolerable and the perfect time to enjoy the pristine waters of the sea. The climate begins to get warm in the month of May and the humidity rises up towards the summer months of June until August. Most of the travellers flock to the beaches despite this humid season and enjoy the water sports activities and calm atmosphere of Gallipoli. If you want to visit and take part in the festivities in Gallipoli, plan your vacation a week before Easter because there are great festivals and religious celebrations 40 days prior to this week. The feast of Saint Agata is observed during February and the feast of Santa Cristina is celebrated every month of July.
Here are the top attractions and exciting things to do in the town of Gallipoli:
La Basilica Cattedrale di Sant'Agata di Gallipoli
This wonderful Baroque cathedral was built in the early 17th century in honor of St. Agata. This ancient cathedral can be found inside the ancient walls of the city. The façade of the La Basilica Cattedrale di Sant'Agata di Gallipoli is adorned with stone and statues. It is made of local stone which is the decorative richness typical of the period when it was first established (1629). The frescoes inside this church are very beautiful and colourful and have a mix of ancient and modern influences while maintaining their sacredness. Be sure to observe the works of the local artists, especially the painting of Our Lady of San Orontius at the side.
The most impressive cathedral in Gallipoli is equipped with a baroque facade whose interior is accessible via a small staircase. The interior is truly wonderful with a number of artistic masterpieces. It is blessed with a three-nave frescoed ceiling with painted stucco and marble on the walls that fascinate every guest for their beauty. It has so much history and shines for the huge collection of paintings and works of art. To better understand their value and meaning, it is advisable to take the services of the official tour guide of the cathedral.
Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi a Gallipoli
The Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi a Gallipoli or the Church of St. Francis of Assisi is also called by the locals as the "Church dellu Mal thief", because within the church structure, there is a reproduction in scale presenting 1/2 of Mount Calvary with the statues of the good and the bad thief. It is located in the historic center of old Gallipoli along the Riviera Nazario Sauro, and easily distinguished for its pink facade. Inside, you can see the beautiful pulpit and valuable works including crucifixes and the statue of Malladrone.
The creation of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi dates back to the thirteenth century. It is the oldest, but has been renovated several times until the 700 and transformed so radically. The main entrance is protected by a beautiful arched portico that bisects the important facade. The interior is baroque and consists of three naves, which are home to the five side altars on each side. It encloses a wooden crucifix, a pipe organ (XVIII cent.), tables and paintings, all of great value. Visit the particular chapel of the SS. Crucifix (also known as the Spanish or the 'Mmalatrone), on the right as you enter, it houses the eighteenth century statues of the two thieves made very realistic with a wry grin and disturbing facial reaction.
Castello Di Gallipoli
The Castelo di Gallipoli is really captivating and for the entrance fee of €6, you can visit and read its history with the help of the light panels. There are circular rooms with thick walls up to 9 meters, where they were positioned gunboats that are capable of firing even in long distance, huge stone balls. It was guarded by Castellani, who were like kings inside, from 1400 until 1860 by the last two partisans. The property is built on three levels: the top overlooking the sea, the rooms for residential and underground environments. Inside you can see a movie that traces the history of the castle and the phases of restoration done to preserve its antiquity. During this time, you can also see the exhibition of the master Michelangelo Pistoretto.
The castle of Gallipoli which has been restored very well, also offers tourists the opportunity to finally see even from the top, a breathtaking view of Gallipoli. With its Norman tower and traces of its drawbridge, it offers the public rooms and many interesting corners now used for exhibitions of painting and sculpture. If you're on vacation in Gallipoli, you have to find the time to visit this impressive monument built in 'XI century and completely surrounded by the sea.
Centro Storico di Gallipoli (Historic Center Of Gallipoli)
You can stroll through the narrow streets of the Centro Storico di Gallipoli and admire its whitewashed walls. The houses that line these walls are all finished or restructuring. The old market is fully accessible and includes shopping and entertainment. The white stone is the host through the streets and alleys. The dining places are many and offer Italian foods based on fish that are truly affordable. The shops have increased and strong tourist vocation is felt.
The evening strolls between these ancient sites are priceless. It is particularly impressive, especially at night when the heat gives way to a fresh breeze that invites you to stroll through the streets of downtown and taste good food in a comfortable environment. The promenade area provides a relaxing walk with a visit to the beach of Gallipoli in the city center while overlooking the lighthouse island of Sant'Andrea. At night, it is very quaint, full of local and affordable small shops of souvenirs with buildings in stone that is finely lit enhancing its beauty up to the end of the pedestrian zone with a marvellous view of the sea.
Salento is the ideal place to relax and at the same time see the influence of Greek culture that is still alive in Gallipoli. It ranges from a wide variety of landscapes, from the olive trees to the beautiful beaches (especially those less publicized), who have nothing to envy from the exotic beaches in the Caribbean. This attraction truly becomes a paradise, especially during the peak of the summer season (June and July). This land is synonymous with hospitality. It has everything you need; culture, tradition, and history. The sea is gorgeous and it takes at least 14 days of vacation to visit all of the beaches that line its coast. The noteworthy beaches to explore are the Otranto, Lignano, Grado Lecce, Baia dei Turchi, Punta Prosciutto and Tip of Swine. The road that goes from Otranto to Santa Maria of Leuca is impressive, with several beaches, wonderful cities and sights where you can take memorable photos. The ocean is a stunning blue and the white rock walls form a wonderful contrast to the sea.
Salento is a place where the cultures of the nearby cities converge starting from the Mediterranean Sea, the beauty of Greek and Roman history, the generations of the Messapi, and the genuineness of the local people in the background of an extraordinarily crystalline sea, excellent wines, and fresh fish every day. It is a true spectacle of nature in Gallipoli where the sun, blue sea beaches and wind are the norm. The climate is warm with blue skies from May to October. The scenery in Salento is so diverse and you can see ancient towns, olive groves, fields and cactus hedges, limestone rocks, fishing ports and sandy beaches.
Spiaggia della Purita
The Spiaggia della Purita is a public beach that is situated in the heart of Gallipoli, yet it is clean and tidy thanks to an association of local volunteers that care for its environment. The waters are crystal clear with a sandy bottom and you can also spend time snorkelling among the rocks. It is also called the beach of purity and it is the only beach in the center that is frequented by the locals.
Wonderful little beach nestled between the big city's ancient walls. It offers visitors a unique spectacle; the sea is crystal clear and the sand is coarse. Access is free and the parking lot is available in the port area. On either side of the beach and once you climb up the stairs, you will find two comfortable fountains to wash off the sand. There are showers with bathing facilities and absolutely free to use. Purity Beach is a little oasis of peace, despite being a stone's throw from several bars and restaurants in the center of Gallipoli.
Spiaggia Baia Verde di Gallipoli
The Spiaggia Baia Verde di Gallipoli is located just outside and a few kilometers away from the town of Gallipoli. It is blessed with an incredible sea, with shades of color ranging from blue to turquoise and green, fine white sand, small coves with rocks, and a convenient parking on the road. The beach infrastructure is complete as the Spiaggia Baia Verde comes equipped with a bar, shower and changing rooms, sun beds, grilling areas, food stalls and Italian music.
It is the perfect meeting place for locals and tourists throughout the summer season. If you're not a fan of an overcrowded beach, avoid the first twenty days of August when Gallipoli is literally besieged by crowds of young people from all over Italy and beyond. June and September are perfect, but even in July you can enjoy the natural beauty of this place and the nearby Gallipoli and, perhaps, also visit the wonderful Lecce which is less than half an hour away from here.
Frantoio Palazzo Granafei
If you're in Frantoio Palazzo Granafei, make a special visit to the underground oil mill which will take you to a step back in time. It is accessed via a narrow staircase at a cost of 1.5 Euro. It is an important facility for the preparation of olive oil that remained intact after so many years. One of the special features of the place is the room with temperature controls that prevent oil condensation. The added value is the guides who passionately show the details and purpose of this place which is really worth a visit.
It is hard to imagine that on these underground places is where people spent their days to grind the olives. It makes you think about life for a time that was hard and heavy. In the underground rooms (about twenty steps) of a building from the 1500s are the best places where for about two centuries the locals ground the so-called green gold (lamp oil) that was widely exported throughout Europe.
The rooms are interesting and match the findings and explanations of the guides that are comprehensive and enlightening. You can get a brochure and put an audio guide during the visit. The staffs are very nice and you can see how the oil was produced until 1800. The downside is there are not many explanatory plates that explians better what is exposed, but it is definitely worth a visit.
Antica Farmacia Provenzano
The Antica Farmacia Provenza is located near the Basilica of Sant'Agata. It is an old pharmacy built in 1882 by Dr. Provenzano and has been handed down from father to son for almost 2 centuries and still shows almost unchanged external appearance as well as the furniture of the past.
The pharmacy is still expertly managed by the heirs with skill and professionalism. This preserved pharmacy is a timeless place and where the strength of science adds the beauty of knowledge and personal care. Besides the courtesy of those who run it, everywhere you look inside, you will be amazed and drawn to this place. All the walls are full of tins and old vases that once contained drugs.
Isola di Sant'Andrea
The Isola di Sant'Andrea lighthouse is visible from many places and is a symbol of Gallipoli. Boat tours can be arranged but the interior cannot be visited or guests are not allowed to make a descent and visit the lighthouse. It can only be viewed from afar. However, it is beautiful in the morning with the sun and at sunset becomes a picture perfect postcard! In the evening and night with the lighthouse it illuminates the darkness and makes even more fascinating the view from the walls of the ancient city. The island is idyllic, but the lighthouse visit is inaccessible. Still, it is mandatory to see it and if you get a good tour agency, you can swim, snorkel, dive, or go spear fishing around its pristine waters.
Gallipoli is a fishing port whose historic center is really beautiful and where time seems to stop! You will find fishermen busy with their prepared baits, old people relaxing on the benches of piazzas, and restaurants offer fine seafood and other local specialties. You will surely come across a religious procession when wandering the cobblestone streets. And during the day, nothing better than lounging on the deck chairs in one of the many private beaches at Baia Verde! For the culture fans, the Salento area is full of small villages that are rich in history and architecture. Gallipoli is a site of great beauty that is vibrant, day, night, but not noisy either. The insular nature of this former Greek city is unique and the narrow streets in the old town have a sleepy charm, when the summer season is over, you can still feel a touch of self-life of the village.
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