Gallipoli is a lively port city anchored by an atmospheric Old Quarter and filled with handsome Baroque architecture. Spend your time touring local history museums, devouring fresh seafood and watching fiery Salento sunsets from waterfront bistros.
Things to do in Gallipoli
The Old Quarter, also known as Centro Storico, occupies a small island accessed by an ancient stone bridge. It's encircled by 14th-century walls and cross-crossed with flagstone streets lined with elegant Baroque buildings. All roads lead to Cattedrale di Sant'Agata, a magnificent cathedral co-designed by the legendary Italian architect, Giuseppe Zimbalo, in the 1600s.
Hidden in limestone caves beneath the Old City, Frantoio Ipogeo offers a glimpse at the ancient art of olive pressing. Guided tours take you into the caverns and showcase the history of Gallipoli's olive oil industry, as well as original 16th-century machinery.
Step back in time at the Museo Civico, a local attraction that's been welcoming visitors since 1878. Inside you'll find ancient statues, a fully-assembled whale skeleton and sarcophagus dating back to the 3rd century BC. Nearby, the beautifully presented Farmacia Provenzana building recalls life in the early-1800s.
Seafood is a staple in Gallipoli, with a bounty of fresh fish hauled in from the Ionian Sea. For the best seafood in town, snag a table at La Puritate, an upscale waterfront restaurant serving sumptuous tuna, swordfish and prawns. Pair your meal with a glass of local Salento wine, then head to Caffè Duomo for "spumoni", a moulded ice cream dessert topped with candied fruit and flaked nuts.
Getting around Gallipoli
The pedestrian-friendly streets and laneways of Centro Storico are best explored on foot. It's a vehicle-free zone, so if you rent a car you'll need to park in the New City. Local buses and trains run direct to Lecce in around one hour.