Gallipoli, the pearl of the Ionian Sea
Appropriately referred to as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea
1. Wonderful beaches and sea water presenting a range of incredible colours
Gallipoli is characterized by its long stretches of sandy coastline endlessly alternated with fascinating cliff formations.
With its varying underwater scenarios the sea generates a spectacular variety of effects, depending on changes in the intensity of light during the course of the day.
The Gallipoli beaches with their well-equipped facilities offer many types of entertainment, music, opportunities to enjoy a decent aperitif and a wide range of sports activities. During the evening, the lidos are transformed into elegant seaside discotheques.
Considering their beauty, the three beaches we should definitely visit are Punta della Suina, Lido Pizzo and Porto Selvaggio.
2. Strolling around the historic centre, observing the old churches and ancient buildings
The historic centre of Gallipoli presents a treasure trove of great historical and cultural value that can be discovered by walking through the inner streets and then as far as the harbour. Visitors are often fascinated by the Baroque style of many of the old churches and residential buildings in the city centre.
You should certainly go to see the Greek Fountain, situated close to the bridge that joins the historic and modern areas of the city. The structure, dating back to the 16th century, is characterised by bas-relief decorations inspired by mythological tales and themes.
One should also visit the Castello Angioino (an Angevin fortress with circular bastions), the bridge connecting the old city and the new urban district and two splendid churches dedicated to Santa Maria della Purità and Santa Teresa.
However, the real jewel to be explored is the Co-Cathedral Basilica of Saint Agatha, located at the highest point of the historic centre. The church contains so many paintings it may even be considered an art gallery in its own right.
3. Gallipoli by night
If you nurture a strong desire to go shopping and check out the nightlife scenario, the evening would be the perfect time to browse around the shops in the centre and spend some time at a bar or in a discotheque. For those who feel like tuning into the lively local social scene there is only the embarrassment of choice.
Among the discos there is the Riobò, an iconic hotspot where entertaining and trendy evening events are organised (especially on Tuesdays), the Praja Gallipoli discotheque in the Baia Verde district and Il Vega, a new venue currently very much in vogue.
Many people would say that the Blu Bay nightclub is the most appealing venue in the Salento area. On the east coast, just a few kilometres outside Otranto, the nightclub is situated on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Castro Bay area where you can enjoy the most beautiful sunrise in the Salento area.
4. Local folk festivals and the Notte della Taranta festival
We should also draw attention to traditional summer events held in the Salento district, and especially the Mercatino del Gusto open-air food market held at Maglie, the Municeddha Festival dedicated to traditional snail dishes, the Leverano Beer Festival and the very famous Night of the Tarantula festival. This traditional and very popular music event, which places great importance on folk music traditions of the Salento area, is the festival closest to the hearts of members of the local community. The event lasts for 18 consecutive days and culminates with the Melpignano Concert.
5. Discovering the historic masseria farmhouses
If you are in the Gallipoli area and have a car at your disposal another activity you might consider is a tour of the old fortified farmhouses of the Salento area, locally known as masserie. Many core structures of ancient agricultural estates have been converted into modern agri-tourism accommodation facilities in rural settings.
The masserie are a traditional institution within the local cultural context of the Salento district and present the oldest and most characteristic buildings in the area. At these facilities, which generally present splendid architectural features, one will almost always have an opportunity to buy locally-grown products and perhaps also have a meal.