What are the best things to see and eat in Gallipoli?
Stretching out over the Ionian Sea, along the coast of Salento, Gallipoli is one of the municipalities of the province of Lecce. As expected, nicknamed the pearl of the Ionian, the town is a crazy concentration of 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: the Old Town, easily identifiable on a limestone island; and the New Town, connected to the old part through a long brick bridge.
If you've never been there and you're eager to fix it (and you're doing great!), in this article we tell you what to do and see in Gallipoli in a weekend, including where to eat and what to do at night.
- 10 things to see in Gallipoli in one weekend
- What to see in Gallipoli in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Gallipoli: the best restaurants
- What to do at night: the nightlife areas and the best nightclubs in Gallipoli
- Plan your stay in Gallipoli: useful information and tips
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 nice rooms and breakfast Top Check out the site to see the photos and learn about current rates and promotions!
10 things to see in Gallipoli in one weekend
1 - Historical center
A visit to Gallipoli can only start from its Old Town, perhaps one of the most beautiful among those of the municipalities of Salento. To access it, you must travel the longest road twelve-arched bridge, built in the early seventeenth century (the original structure ended with a drawbridge, which was later replaced by a fixed structure). The peculiarity of the old part of Gallipoli, which makes it truly unique in its kind, is the fact that the city, enclosed within a wall, is still visible from the outside because it was built to 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 you will be pleasantly surprised!
- the historic center is easily identifiable, as it is located on a limestone island accessed by a single bridge. Get directions
- Always accessible
- Guided walking tour in Gallipoli
2 - Aragonese Castle
The main attraction of the old town is undoubtedly the Aragonese Castle (or Angevin Castle), built in the middle of the Byzantine era. Completely 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 observe closely the cannelloni and catapult of the past, but also to visit the different tunnels, the prisons and the large internal rooms: the latter have a rather high ceiling with very beautiful barrel vaults and ribbed vaults.
- Being practically at the entrance of the historical center (and given its size), it is impossible to miss the Castle of Gallipoli. Get directions
- the castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (in July and August the extraordinary opening is scheduled from 10 a.m. to midnight).
- the entrance fee is 7,00 € per person.
3 - Tower of the Rivellino
Among the towers and bastions that characterize the old town of Gallipoli, the most particular is the Rivellino Tower: for Rivellino we usually refer to a fundamental structure from the defensive point of view (often a small fortification with turrets), separated from the Castle to protect the exit of the same from the besieged. The Rivellino Tower is in fact the onlystructure independent of the walls and the castle of Angevin and has a rather unusual shape with an outwardly accentuated point that acts as a bulwark. If the tower was once used for military purposes, today it often houses exhibitions and film screenings.
- The tower is clearly visible in the water outside the walls. Getting directions
- Access to the tower is regulated by the same opening hours as Château Angevin.
- The entrance fee is the same as that of the Castle, therefore always 7,00 €.
4 - Church of Santa Maria della Purità
The Church of Santa Maria della Purità is one of the most famous religious buildings in the city of Gallipoli. Built in the mid-seventeenth century and immediately became the headquarters 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 its name to the building), another San Francesco and the last San Giuseppe. The simplicity of the exterior contrasts, however, with the splendor of the interior, rich in stucco, contrasting marble and eighteenth-century paintings (many of which were probably made by L. Riccio of Murano).
- The church is located within the walls of the historic center, overlooking the promenade. 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 from around 1600. The church, built in place of an ancient 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 a distance. On the outside, the facade is characterized by alternating niches and statues of stone saints, among which the figure of Sant'Agata obviously stands out. The interior, on the other hand, is a triumph of Baroque art: themain altar, for example, 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 serve as a point of reference for visitors to discover ancient Gallipoli. Get directions
- Always accessible
6 - Ancient Pharmacy Provenzano
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 should head towards theFarmaciaAntique Provenzano. In fact, the restaurant is a beautiful reproduction of what pharmacies once must have been, with the submerged walls of the shelves, display cases 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 a small herbalist, however, the original furnishings and the retro atmosphere still convey a very particular charm. We absolutely recommend you come!
- The pharmacy is located in via Pace, still within the historic center, a few steps from the Cathedral. Get directions
- the pharmacy is open every day from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
7 - Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto
Not far from the access bridge to the old town, the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto practically overlooks the port of Gallipoli and was built on a pre-existing cult building in the mid-seventeenth century. The sanctuary has a rather simple structure: a portico, consisting of three front aisles and two side aisles, introduces the entrance door, crossed which is immersed in a simple but refined building, endowed with three naves decorated with a beautiful coffered ceiling. The real treasure of the sanctuary, however, is the effigy on the back wall depicting the Madonna del Canneto (of which the fishermen told legends of miraculous apparitions).
- The Sanctuary is located outside the old town, overlooking the harbor 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
The Greek Fountain of Gallipoli is a monument more unique than rare: according to some, in fact, it would be nothing less than the oldest fountain in Italy, probably from the third century B.C. However, this hypothesis is not supported by all: some art scholars are convinced that this monument may 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 origin of the fountain, 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 near the access bridge to the old town, a stone's throw from the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto. Get directions
- Always accessible
9 - Purità Beach
You can not say that you have enjoyed much of Gallipoli, without having spent at least an afternoon on one of the beautiful beaches in the area. One of them, very close to the town, is the Purità Beach: it is a small bay located between the turrets and the walls of the old town, making it particularly suggestive. It is also one of the most popular beaches for the locals who take refuge there as soon as a beautiful sunny day comes out. The fine sand and clear water, plus 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 the signs to the beach). Get directions
- always accessible
10 - Green Bay
Another seaside resort that we recommend you to see if you are in Gallipoli is the Green Bay (actually also known for the large number of nightclubs and summer clubs in its surroundings). The beach of Baia Verde is formed by very fine sand alternating with 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 crowded at all, so you will still have the opportunity to relax comfortably under your umbrella thinking only about the sun, the waves and anything else away from everyday life.
- The beach is about 3 km from the historical 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
- hammock + umbrella 20,00 €.
What to see in Gallipoli in one day: recommended itinerary
Gallipoli is a city that has so many things to see, able to satisfy all tastes. The fact of being characterized by a fairly concentrated urban fabric, allows us to recommend an itinerary to be completed in one day that condenses all the main attractions and the most important historical and cultural sites.
Our itinerary starts outside the historical center, more precisely along Corso Roma, as this is one of the best places to have breakfast in all Gallipoli: Facula (at number 50). Here we advise you to taste the local specialties, including Obama's pasticciotto. After breakfast, it's time to depart for the historic center: before crossing the bridge to the old town, however, we recommend you make a brief stop at the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto and the neighboring Greek Fountain (whose origin has been debated for centuries!). After that, it's time to cross the bridge, first making a visit to the Castle of Angevin and Torre Rivellino, separated from the rest of the walls. This is the main point of interest of the town, besides the amount of things to see as well as the walk along the walls will take you some time: calculate about an hour and a half for the visit.
As lunchtime approaches, move further into the heart of the historic center arriving at the Baguetteria de Pace (which we recommend in the following section: "Where to eat in Gallipoli"), specializing in light but tasty snacks made with typical products. After lunch, right next door you will find the very interesting. Ancient Provençal pharmacy and just beyond the Cathedral of Sant'Agata, the main center of worship of the city. If it's a nice day, you could think about dedicating the rest of the afternoon to relax on the beach: nearby is the small and secluded Purità Beach, alternatively you can take the car and move towards the Baia Verde Beach, just 3km away.
After contemplating the beauty of the sunset from the sea, we recommend that you finally stop at Trattoria La Puritate to indulge yourself with an excellent fried fish or a plate of purple prawns from Gallipoli, 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 - entrance fee: free of charge
- Greek Fountain - opening hours: always accessible - entrance fee: free of charge
- Angevin Castle and Rivellino Tower - opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00 - entrance fee: full 7,00 €.
- Lunch at Baguetteria de Pace (Get directions)
- Antica Farmacia Provenzano - opening hours: daily, from 9:00 to 18:00 - admission fee: free
- Cathedral of Sant'Agata - opening hours: always accessible - entrance fee: free of charge
- Spiaggia della Purità or beach of Baia Verde - opening hours: always accessible - entrance fee: free (deckchair + umbrella on the beach of Baia Verde: 20,00 €)
- Dinner at Trattoria La Puritate (Get directions)
Where to eat in Gallipoli: the best restaurants
- Baguetteria de Pace: excellent sandwich in the historic center, loved for the high quality of 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 specialized 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
- Trattoria La Puritate: home cooking restaurant, with menu of local dishes Average price per person: 30,00 € Address and contact: via Sant'Elia, 18 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0833 264205
- Turtle neck: restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine and mainly seafood with fresh fish and vegetables at km 0 Address and contacts: Corso Roma, 143 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0833264040
What to do at night: nightlife areas and the best nightclubs in Gallipoli
One thing is certain: in Gallipoli they know how to have fun and the proposal related to nightlife is very wide and varied. Most of the summer clubs are mostly located on the seafront, although nightclubs, discos, etc. can be found indiscriminately both outside and inside the island's historic center. Here are three truly unmissable places in Gallipoli, as well as much loved by tourists and locals alike.
The best pubs, clubs and discotheques
- Blanc: wine bar in the old town of Gallipoli, with a wide selection of wines and a crazy location / Address: via XXIV Maggio (Get directions)
- Amanecer: elegant cocktail bar suitable both for aperitifs and after dinner / Address: piazza Giovanni XXIII (Get directions)
- Rio Bo: local cult disco for house / commercial music lovers / Address: Lido Conchiglie San Nicola (Get directions)
- Praja: Local disco with DJ sessions and Latin American parties / Address: Lungomare G. Galilei (Get directions)
- bodega: Discotheque that rises on the remains of an ancient natural quarry in disuse (Get directions)
Plan your stay in Gallipoli: information and useful tips
- For those traveling by car from northern / central Italy, you can arrive by the A14 or A16 freeway north from Bari, then follow the Bari-Lecce freeway to the Tangenziale Ovest / Gallipoli junction and the next exit Gallipoli. For those traveling by car from southern Italy, instead, follow the SS16 towards Taranto, then the SS7 towards Brindisi and finally the signs to Lecce and then to Gallipoli. For those traveling by train, the reference station is Lecce, from where local trains depart to Gallipoli (from 4,30 € - travel time 1 hour and 30 minutes). The closest airport to Gallipoli is Salento International Airport, located in Brindisi (84 km - 59 minutes by car): from here, it will be necessary to transfer first to Lecce by regional train or taking advantage of a shuttle service departing directly from the airport (cost € 2.00 / € 4.00 per person), and then reach Gallipoli from Lecce with bus line 108 (€ 2.00 per person).
- Getting around: the best way to enjoy Gallipoli in all its splendor is certainly to move around on foot, also because most of the historical and cultural attractions are located within the old town. However, if you want to explore the surroundings (beaches, other towns, etc.), it is necessary to use the car for all movements: only in this way you can go wherever you want, stopping anywhere along the way to capture the beauty of the coast.
- Where to park: having your own car with which to move around the city and its surroundings, we assure you that the main problem will not be where to park in Gallipoli (as the city is full of parking spaces), but where to find free parking. Since all the parking lots in the historic center are free, we recommend that you leave your car in the free parking lot leading to the cemetery (which is not far from the center, if not a few minutes walk). Alternatively, even in the port area it is possible to find parking easily (always paid, but with lower than average rates).
- 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 from 30,00 Euro per room -
- Our choice: During our vacation in Gallipoli we chose the B & b Corte Casole
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