Stretching out over the Ionian Sea, along the Salento coast, Gallipoli is one of the municipalities of the province of Lecce. Not surprisingly nicknamed the pearl of the Ionian, the city is a crazy concentration of both historical and natural attractions, so much so that it is on the list to be recognized as part of the World Heritage Sites.
Although not very large (we are talking about only 20.000 inhabitants), Gallipoli has two distinct areas: that of Old Town, clearly identifiable on a limestone island; and that of new village, connected to the old part through a long brick bridge.
If you have never been there and you absolutely want to fix it (and you do very well!), In this article we will tell you what to do and see in Gallipoli in a weekend, including where to eat and what to do in the evening.
- 10 things to see in Gallipoli in a weekend
- What to see in Gallipoli in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Gallipoli: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Gallipoli
- Plan your stay in Gallipoli: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
For our vacation we chose the Corte Casole b & b, a charming structure in the historic center a few steps from the blue Ionian sea, which offers cute rooms and Top breakfast. Take a look at the site to see the photos and find out about current rates and promotions!
10 things to see in Gallipoli in a weekend
1 - Historic center
A visit to Gallipoli can only start from his Old Town, perhaps one of the most beautiful among those of the Salento municipalities. To access it, you need to travel the long way Bridge of twelve arches, built in the early 600s (the original structure ended with a drawbridge, which was later replaced with a fixed structure). The peculiarity of the old part of Gallipoli, which makes it truly unique of its kind, is the fact that the city, enclosed within a wall, is still visible from the outside because it was built at the height of the walls themselves. Getting lost in the narrow streets of the historic center is a must and above all it is the best way for a first socialization with the city: we are sure that you will be pleasantly surprised!
- the historic center is easily identifiable, since it is located on a limestone island which can be accessed via a single bridge. Get directions
- always accessible
- Guided walking tour in Gallipoli
2 - Aragonese Castle
The main attraction of the old town is without a doubt the Aragonese castle (or Angevin Castle), built in the middle of the Byzantine era. Entirely surrounded by the sea, the fortress has undergone some changes especially with respect to its original structure, starting with the introduction of turrets and bastions, as well as the walls built to protect the city from possible enemies. Even today, however, it is still possible to closely observe the guns and catapult of the past, but also visit the various tunnels, the prisons and the large internal rooms: the latter have a rather high ceiling with very beautiful barrel and cross vaults.
- being practically at the entrance to the historic center (and given its size), it is impossible to miss the Gallipoli Castle. Get directions
- the castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 15.00 to 18.00. (In the months of July and August the extraordinary opening is scheduled from 10.00 to 24.00)
- admission costs € 7,00 per person.
3 - Torre del Rivellino
Among the turrets and bastions that characterize the old city of Gallipoli, the most particular is the Torre del Rivellino: for Rivellino we usually refer to a fundamental structure from the defensive point of view (often a small turreted fortification), separated from the Castle to protect the exit from the same of the besieged. The Torre del Rivellino is in fact theonly independent structure from the walls and from the Angevin Castle and has a rather unusual shape with a spike accentuated towards the outside that acts as a bulwark. If once the tower was used for military purposes, today it often hosts exhibitions and film screenings.
- the Tower is clearly visible on the water, just outside the walls. Get directions
- access to the tower is regulated by the same opening hours as the Angevin Castle.
- the entrance ticket is the same as the Castle ticket, therefore always € 7,00.
4 - Church of Santa Maria della Purità
La Church of Santa Maria della Purità it is one of the best known religious buildings in the city of Gallipoli. Built in the mid-1600s and immediately became the seat of the brotherhood of the same name, the church has a rather simple facade, characterized by three large majolica panels one depicting the Madonna della Purità (which gives the building its name), one San Francesco and the last San Giuseppe. The simplicity of the exterior contrasts, however, with the splendor of the interior, rich in stuccos, marble contrasts and eighteenth-century paintings (many of which probably made by L. Riccio from Murano).
- the church is located within the walls of the historic center, overlooking the seafront. Get directions
- always accessible
5 - Cathedral of Sant'Agata
The most important religious building in Gallipoli, however, is the Basilica or Cathedral of Sant'Agata, dating back to around 1600. The church, built in place of an old Romanesque church dedicated to San Giovanni Crisostomo, has a Latin cross plan and is located at the highest point of the historic center, clearly visible even from some distance away. Outside the facade is characterized by the alternation of niches and stone statues of saints, among which the figure of Sant'Agata stands out, obviously. The interior, on the other hand, is a triumph of Baroque art: thehigh altar, for example, it is a small masterpiece made of marble of different colors and bordered by an elegant and imposing balustrade.
- the Cathedral, thanks to its privileged position in the historic center, is clearly visible and can often act as a reference point for visitors to discover old Gallipoli. Get directions
- always accessible
6 - Ancient Provenzano Pharmacy
If you are curious about the ancient crafts of the past or if you want to discover a more unusual aspect of the city, you must head towards theAncient Provenzano Pharmacy. In fact, the restaurant is a beautiful reproduction of what pharmacies must have been once upon a time, with the submerged walls of shelves, display cabinets with medical tools, but also ceramic containers for herbs and ointments and a scent of natural substances in the air. Today the place sells products more similar to those of one small herbalist, yet the original furnishings and the retro atmosphere still convey a very particular charm. We absolutely recommend that you drop by!
- the pharmacy is located in via Pace, still inside the historic center, a few steps from the Cathedral. Get directions
- the pharmacy is open every day from 9.00 to 18.00
7 - Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto
Not far from the access bridge to the old city, the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto it practically overlooks the port of Gallipoli and was built on a pre-existing building of worship in the mid 1600s. The sanctuary has a rather simple structure: a portico, consisting of three front and two side naves, introduces the entrance door, crossed which is immersed in a building simple but refined, equipped with three naves decorated with a beautiful coffered ceiling. The real treasure of the sanctuary, however, is the effigy located on the back wall and depicting the Madonna del Canneto (of which the fishermen told legends of miraculous apparitions).
- the Sanctuary is located in the outer part of the old city, overlooking the port and near the entrance bridge. Just before entering the island of the historic center, it is one of the last buildings that can be easily seen. Get directions
- always accessible
8 - Greek fountain
La Greek fountain of Gallipoli is a more unique than rare monument: according to some, in fact, it would be nothing less than the oldest fountain in Italy, probably dating back to the third century BC However, this hypothesis is not supported by everyone: some art scholars are convinced that this monument can date back to more recent times, in particular to the sixteenth century when it was customary to create new sculptures by copying ancient sculptural representations of the past. Whatever the truth about the fountain's origin, however, what is certain is that it is a very interesting monument to visit, perhaps one of the most interesting in the whole city.
- the fountain is always located near the access bridge to the old city, a stone's throw from the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto. Get directions
- always accessible
9 - Beach of Purità
It cannot be said that you have really enjoyed Gallipoli, without having spent at least an afternoon in one of the beautiful beaches in the area. One of these, very close to the town, is the Purità beach: it is a small bay set between the turrets and the ramparts of the old city, therefore particularly suggestive. It is also one of the most popular beaches for locals who take refuge there as soon as a beautiful sunny day comes out. The fine sand and transparent water, in addition to the fairly shallow seabed, make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a break, even for those traveling with children!
- access to the beach is possible directly from the walls of the historic center (you will easily find signs for the beach). Get directions
- always accessible
10 - Green Bay
Another seaside resort that we recommend you see if you are in Gallipoli is the Green Bay (actually also known for the large number of nightclubs and summer clubs in its vicinity). The Baia Verde beach is made up of very fine sand that alternates with the rock, a shallow seabed but above all by a very clean water and a beautiful clear blue that will surely make you want to take a dip. The beach is not free, however, it is not overcrowded at all, so that you will still have the opportunity to relax comfortably under your umbrella thinking only of the sun, the waves and anything else far from everyday life!
- the beach is about 3km from the historic center along the Lungomare Galileo Galilei. We advise you to reach it by car, and then stop along the coast to admire the sunset. Get directions
- always accessible
- sunbed + umbrella € 20,00
What to see in Gallipoli in one day: recommended itinerary
Gallipoli is a city that has many things to see, able to satisfy all tastes. The fact of being characterized by a fairly concentrated urban fabric, allows us to recommend a itinerary to be completed in one day which condenses all the main attractions and the most important historical-cultural sites.
Our itinerary starts outside the historic center, more precisely along Corso Roma, since here is one of the best places to have breakfast in all of Gallipoli: Facula (at number 50). Here we advise you to taste the local specialties, including the Obama pasticciotto. After breakfast, it's time to set off towards the historic center: before crossing the bridge to the old city, however, we recommend that you make a short stop at the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto and the neighbor Greek fountain (whose origin has been debated for centuries!). After that, the time has come to cross the Bridge, first making a visit to Angevin Castle and Torre del Rivellino, separated from the rest of the walls. This is the main point of interest of the town, moreover the amount of things to see as well as the walk along the walls will take you some time: calculate approximately an hour and a half for the visit.
As lunchtime approaches, move further into the heart of the historic center by arriving at the Baguetteria de Pace (which we recommend in the section below: "Where to eat in Gallipoli"), specialized in light but tasty snacks made with typical products. After lunch, right next door you will find the very interesting Ancient Provenzano Pharmacy and just beyond the Cathedral of Sant'Agata, the city's main cult center. If it's a nice day, you might think about dedicating the rest of the afternoon to some relaxation on the beach: nearby is the small and secluded Purità beach, alternatively you could take the car and move towards the Baia Verde beach, just 3km away.
After contemplating the beauty of the sunset from the sea, we finally recommend that you stop at Trattoria La Puritate to treat yourself to an excellent fried fish or a plate of Gallipoli purple prawns, perhaps accompanied by a good glass of wine. Cheers!
One day itinerary at a glance
- Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Greek fountain - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Angevin Castle and Torre del Rivellino - opening hours: from Tue to Sun from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00 - ticket price: full € 7,00
- Lunch at Baguetteria de Pace (Get directions)
- Antica Farmacia Provenzano - opening hours: every day, from 9:00 to 18:00 - ticket price: free
- Cathedral of Sant'Agata - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Spiaggia della Purità or Baia Verde Beach - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free (sunbed + umbrella at Baia Verde Beach: € 20,00)
- Dinner at Trattoria La Puritate (Get directions)
Where to eat in Gallipoli: the best restaurants
- Baguetteria de Pace: excellent sandwich shop in the historic center, loved for the high quality of the local products used Average price per person: € 7,00 Address and contacts: via Sant'Angelo, 8 (Get directions) / tel: +39 329 837 0846
- Matre: restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine, also suitable for vegetarians
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: via Antonietta de Pace, 116 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0833 264430
- Santa Monica: restaurant with a spartan atmosphere but with high-level dishes, both fish and meat with variants also available for vegetarians
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: piazza Edmondo de Amicis, 13 (Get directions) / tel: +39 329 596 3258
- Trattoria La Puritate: home cooking restaurant, with a menu of local dishes Average price per person: € 30,00 Address and contacts: via Sant'Elia, 18 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0833 264205
- Sweet life: restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine and mainly seafood with fresh fish and vegetables and vegetables at km 0 Address and contacts: Corso Roma, 143 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0833264040
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Gallipoli
One thing is certain: in Gallipoli they know how to have fun and the proposal relating to nightlife is very wide and varied. Most of the summer clubs are located mostly on the seafront, although wine bars, discos, etc. they can be found indiscriminately both outside and inside the island of the historic center. Below, we indicate three truly unmissable places in Gallipoli, as well as much loved by tourists and locals.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- White: wine bar in the old part of Gallipoli, with a wide choice of wines and crazy location / Address: via XXIV Maggio (Get directions)
- Sunrise: elegant cocktail bar suitable for both aperitifs and after dinner / Address: piazza Giovanni XXIII (Get directions)
- Rio Bo: cult disco of the place for lovers of house / commercial music / Address: Lido Conchiglie San Nicola (Get directions)
- Praja: Local disco with DJ sets and Latin American parties / Address: Lungomare G. Galilei (Get directions)
- Cellar: Disco that stands on the remains of an ancient disused natural quarry (Get directions)
Plan your stay in Gallipoli: info and useful tips
- For those traveling by car from the north / central Italy, you can arrive via the A14 or A16 motorway to Bari north, then follow the Bari-Lecce highway to the Tangenziale Ovest / Gallipoli junction and the subsequent Gallipoli exit. For those traveling by car from southern Italy, instead, just follow the SS16 to Taranto, then the SS7 to Brindisi and finally the signs for Lecce and then Gallipoli. For those traveling by train, the reference station is Lecce, from which local trains leave for Gallipoli (starting from € 4,30 - travel time 1 hour and 30 minutes). The closest airport to Gallipoli is the Salento International Airport, located in Brindisi (84 km - 59 minutes by car): from here, it will then be necessary to move first to Lecce by regional train or by taking advantage of a shuttle service that leaves directly from airport (cost € 2,00 / 4,00 per person), and then reach Gallipoli from Lecce with a bus line 108 (cost € 2,00 per person).
- Getting around: the best way to enjoy Gallipoli in all its splendor is undoubtedly to move on foot, also because most of the historical and cultural attractions are located within the old part of the city. However, if you want to explore the surroundings (beaches, other cities, etc.), it is necessary to use the car for all the various movements: only in this way can you go where you like best, stopping anywhere along the way to capture the beauty of the coast.
- Where to park: having your own car with which to get around the city and its surroundings, we assure you that the main problem will not be where to park in Gallipoli (since the city is full of parking spaces), but where to find a free parking. Since all the car parks in the historic center are, we recommend that you leave your car in the free car park towards the cemetery (not far from the center, if not a few minutes on foot). Alternatively, even in the port area it is possible to find parking easily (always for a fee, but with lower rates than the average).
- What to see in the surroundings: Porto Cesareo (39 minutes by car), Lecce (40 minutes by car), Nardò (20 minutes by car), Otranto (1 hour by car), Manduria (1 hour and 20 minutes by car)
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- Our choice: During our holiday in Gallipoli we chose the B & b Corte Casole