What to do and what to see in Gallipoli – Apulia

We are going to tell you about the city of Gallipoli in all its facets, starting with its history, its customs and traditions, continuing with its architecture, especially religious architecture, its enchanting beaches, the places where you can enjoy the local cuisine, and the suggestive corners where you can have fun at night. So What can you See in Gallipoli? What can you do in Gallipoli?

The city of Gallipoli

Nowadays it is a town of twenty thousand inhabitants, although in summer, it sees a fivefold increase in the number of its inhabitants, testifying to the many visitors who choose to spend their holidays here.

Devoted to fishing, but not only; it is a commercial city due to an important port that leads it to trade throughout the Mediterranean, making it one of the most important in Salento. As a bishopric, it has more than twenty churches finely decorated in Lecce Baroque style.

The city has two distinct faces, the modern one full of fashionable shops, pastry shops and various cinemas, and the ancient one where it is still possible to breathe in the ancient art of the sea.

cosa fare e cosa vedere a gallipoli

History of Gallipoli

Gallipoli is a beautiful southern Salento city built on the sea. The origins of the name have controversial sources, but we like the legend of the Greek warrior who, after countless battles, decides to retire and live in peace. He marries a beautiful maiden whom he loves madly, but fate is cruel and after a short time the love of his life dies. Out of great sorrow he sets sail in his ship in search of a place of equal beauty where he can preserve her remains.

Landing by chance in what was then a fishing village, he exclaimed Kali Polis (beautiful city) and there he stayed in the city that over the centuries would become Gallipoli.

Gallipoli Vecchia

Gallipoli old town

Crossing the 17th-century bridge, we leave the new town to enter the old one. Welcoming us is the imposing Angevin castle built in 1200 as a bulwark against Turkish invasions. We immediately have the feeling of going back in time, the profiles of the monuments immediately giving us an idea of the passage of history; from the Messapians, to the Romans, the Byzantines and so on. In front of the castle is the Gallipoli fish market, an orgy of colours and smells dictated by the Gallipoli dialect.

Mercato del pesce gallipoli

For the quantity of fish handled, it is the most important port in the province. Continuing our walk, we lose ourselves in the narrow alleys and whitewashed houses, dotted with flowered balconies and votive chapels inside the courtyards. The real people of Gallipoli still live here, the simple ones who humbly welcome you into their homes to offer you a good glass of wine.

cosa fare e cosa vedere a gallipoli

What to see in Gallipoli

Let’s start with the churches, and more precisely with the Cathedral of St. Agata, which stands at the highest point on the island and is considered the highest expression of Lecce Baroque. Not far inside the sumptuous Palazzo Granafei, we can see the magnificent underground oil mill carved entirely out of the rock; with a bit of imagination, we could see a large number of workers engaged in producing lampante oil exported all over Europe.

Two other palaces worth a visit are Palazzo Pirelli and Palazzo Vallebona built between 1500 and 1700.

One of the many churches that has a unique peculiarity is the church of San Francesco D’Assisi, where inside, next to Christ, we see the crucified Mallatrone (the bad thief) dressed in rags and with a chilling grin, a work of the 18th century; Gabriele D’Annunzio called it the “horrid beauty”. Located in the historical centre then, we can admire La Fontana Greca, a beautiful monument made by local artists in the late 16th century.

If the weather is not one of the best for sunbathing on the white beaches, a little culture is not a bad thing. In Via Antonietta De Pace, in the heart of the old town, we find the Gallipoli civic museum named after Emanuele Barba, a Gallipoli naturalist, scientist and lecturer.

Cosa vedere a Gallipoli - Cattedrale di Sant'Agata

What to do in Gallipoli

It is certainly not easy to answer this question, first of all you need some time, then the desire to get drunk on history, tradition, beauty and lots of sea.

5 Things to do in Gallipoli in a weekend

With little time to spare, you should aim for the best right away, although anything is possible. Gallipoli has the most important fish market in Salento, so a tip is to visit it and be stunned by the amount of fish it offers; if you don’t have the chance to cook it, Fontanelle is one of the typical places where you can enjoy it.

In summer, the countless beaches offer sunshine, crystal-clear water and kiosks on the beach where rum-based drinks are wasted. If you are with your soul mate, then you can go for a stroll along the seafront at sunset and then walk into the old town and admire the Lecce Baroque architecture, where it is not uncommon to find yourself in the middle of a pizzica dance and be swept away by it.

What to do at night in Gallipoli?

After the fatigues of the day, it’s time to sleep! Of course we are joking, in Gallipoli it’s never time to sleep, in the new town, going shopping is imperative, cinephiles can enjoy a first-run film in the beautiful cinema halls. Even enjoying a good homemade ice cream can fill the soul; but it is in the old town that the magic of the night is created. The water reflects creation by touching the stars and the ponentino brings the song of sirens through the narrow alleys, colouring the secrets of the soul.

All this is very romantic, but the younger generation wants to dance. The centre of gravity of the discos is Baia Verde, where two of the most important discos in Gallipoli are based: Smaila’s and, above all, Praja, where the best Italian and international DJs perform. Other unmissable destinations are Parco Gondar, Rio Bo and Le Cave, where you can party until dawn and at the end of the night you can always find a freshly baked pasticciotto to restore your energy… so to speak.

Sea in Gallipoli

What can we say, the Salento coasts all have an uncontaminated sea of natural beauty, blue flags abound and Gallipoli is certainly no exception, the only problem is choosing. For those who are keen on fishing, every spot is a good one and no permits are needed. The seabed is mainly coral, where multicoloured fish peep out among the ancient wrecks.

Beaches in and around Gallipoli

The stretch of sea containing Gallipoli runs from Punta Pizzo in the south to Lido Conchiglie in the north. Let’s try flying over them with the wings of a seagull:

Lido Conchiglie

It is 5 km from Gallipoli, and owes its name to the quantity of shellfish that have inhabited it over the centuries, making the sand extremely white. In the background you can see a stacks divided in two that the locals call split mountain.

COSA VEDERE A GALLIPOLI -

Rivabella

This is another beach near Gallipoli, and to get there you have to cross a dense pine forest to enjoy a refreshing swim.

COSA VEDERE A GALLIPOLI

Seno della Purità

The beach of the people of Gallipoli, inside the city, owes its name to a small church nearby dedicated to the Madonna Della Purità. In the 1960s, a group of sailing enthusiasts founded a school, now the Circolo Della Vela Gallipoli.

cosa fare e cosa vedere gallipoli case vacanze

Lido San Giovanni

It was the first beach resort in Gallipoli and its fame gives its name to the whole area.

cosa fare a gallipoli

Baia Verde

Perhaps the best known and most popular. It owes its name to the colour of its emerald green sea. It is full of beach resorts and free beaches as well as all kinds of clubs and discos on the beach.

cosa vedere a gallipoli
Punta della Suina

About two kilometres south of Gallipoli, this beach too is accessed through a dense pine forest, a cool respite from the summer heat.

Lido Pizzo

It is located within the Isola Sant’Andrea nature reserve. The low cliffs make way for delightful coves of fine sand. It is rich in Mediterranean vegetation laden with essences such as rosemary, thyme, broom and mastic.

Cosa vedere a Gallipoli
Gallipoli Free Beaches

By law, the beaches in our area are divided into free and equipped beaches, giving preference to the free ones, so those who don’t want a resort can look for their own corner of paradise and enjoy their holiday in complete autonomy.

cosa fare e cosa vedere gallipoli case vacanze

Where to eat in Gallipoli

Here too there are so many places, we will summarise some of them bearing in mind that the others are not to be outdone!

The Best Restaurants in Gallipoli according to Trip Advisor:

  • Baguetteria De Pace  Italian and Mediterranean cuisine
  • You – Cibo e Piacere mainly seafood cuisine
  • Lievita 72 is a Neapolitan pizzeria
  • Yellow Scapece here you can enjoy fish
  • Amu Fish is all about fish, which is obvious given that we are in Gallipoli
  • Bassa Fiamma both Italian cuisine and fish
  • Le Garibaldine specialises in fried food, fish of course
  • Agatha Restaurant traditional cuisine SCAFUD TERRA is a fast food with Mediterranean ingredients
  • Brasserie also a fast food with barbecue
  • Da Clara fish speciality
  • Le Fontanelle fish only

We recommend for those who still don’t know it, the “caffè Salentino”, coffee in ice with the addition of almond milk, a nice way to drink coffee.

Gallipoli Carnival

Few people know that Gallipoli offers an experience not to be missed even out of season: the Gallipoli Carnival.

The highlight, however, is from the last Sunday of Carnival to “Martedì Grasso”: three days in which Gallipoli is literally transformed into a carnival city, hosting parades of allegorical floats and masked processions. The main parades take place, as per tradition, in the city’s old town.

Carnevale di Gallipoli

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