Guide to Gallipoli, Puglia


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Gallipoli in Puglia | Think Puglia“Beautiful city”: that’s what Gallipoli means, and the town certainly lives up to its name!

Situated on the west, Ionian coast of Puglia’s Salento peninsula, our Gallipoli may not be as famous as its Turkish namesake, site of the disastrous 1st World War battle, but its history is long and varied, its historic centre a delight and the beaches which flank it superb.

The old town centre sits on a tiny island connected to the mainland by a 17th century bridge. It is almost completely surrounded by defensive walls, built mainly in the 14th century.

The east side is dominated by a robust fortress dating back to the 13th century, but largely rebuilt in the 1500s when the town fell under Angevin control.
These fortifications tell us a lot about Gallipoli’s history: thanks to its strategic position, it was frequently under siege. Founded, so legend tells us, by Idomeneo from ancient Crete, the town soon became part of Magna Graecia and remained so until Pyrrhus, presumably following one too many disastrous victories, was defeated by the Romans!

After being sacked by hordes of Vandals and Goths, the Byzantines arrived, rebuilding the town much in the form we recognise today. Normans, Angevins and the Bourbons arrived in successive waves until the Unification of Italy in 1861.

The island heart of Gallipoli is home to numerous impressive Baroque churches and aristocratic palazzi, testament to the town's former wealth as a trading port. A labyrinthine weave of narrow streets all eventually lead to the broader sea-front promenade with its wonderful views.

In the summer months cafes, bars and restaurants proliferate onto the pavements making for an extremely pleasant atmosphere, while the beach, La Spiaggia della Purita, is an attraction in its own right. An evening passeggiata (pre-prandial stroll) around the walls, looking out to sea, is a great way to prepare for a fresh fish dinner.

The coastline north and south of Gallipoli is formed by a series of long sandy beaches and transparent waters that have long been attracting sea lovers.

East of town, just a few kilometres in-land is the classical Baroque centre of Alezio, also worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Villas near Gallipoli in Puglia >>
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