Fascinating Gallipoli, culture and nightlife

Crossing the ancient entrance of the city of Gallipoli is immediately striking is the special atmosphere, in which meet the contemporary liveliness -that of a city that is one of the most coveted tourist destination- and the evidence of the glorious seafaring past. 

Located on the coast of Salento, in the heart of Puglia, Gallipoli attracts mainly for its beaches and nightlife. It is in fact attacked by the boys, who consider it the Italian Ibiza. 

But there is much more to discover when you dive into its waters or its history and, for this reason, no type of visitor will be disappointed.

You will know more at the end of this new article, dedicated to the brightest of the Ionian pearls.

The historical and cultural richness

Gallipoli was founded by the Greeks with the name of Kallipolis in the fifth century B.C. (Kale polis means “beautiful city”) and has then known a succession of dominations that have shaped its culture and architecture. Positioned in a strategic location along the Mediterranean trade routes, the city became an important center of trade and commerce already in the classical age. 

Archaeological and historical evidence brings to life the prosperity and wealth that Gallipoli enjoyed under Roman, Byzantine and Arab rule. The medieval barbarian invasions brought instability but also favored the construction of the imposing fortifications and watchtowers that still dominate the urban landscape. 

In the Renaissance Gallipoli experienced a new development, thanks to the maritime trade and the presence of Venetian and Genoese merchants. The city then became a crossroads of different cultures and influences. Even today, walking through the picturesque alleys and ancient squares, you can feel the traces of this past.

Foto : Unsplash

The gold of Gallipoli: the beaches 

The beaches of Gallipoli are a true paradise for lovers of sandy coasts and transparent sea.

The city offers a remarkable landscape variety, with sandy dunes embraced by the typical Mediterranean scrub and “secret” bays of enchanting beauty. The crowded beaches alternate with the most remote coves, as well as the liveliest nightclubs stand next to the small restaurants that serve authentic local cuisine. 

Baia Verde, with its fine sand and crystal clear waters that fade from emerald green to deep blue, is one of the favorite destinations for tourists. The area was born as a suburb of the city but soon became a popular area for visitors, equipped with bathing establishments and clubs. The beach in August fills up quickly but there are large portions of free beach and a rest area for campers. 

Punta della Suina, however, enchants for its wild and unspoilt atmosphere: a strip of sand lapped by the sea, surrounded by a lush nature that makes it perfect for those seeking peace and tranquility. The Guardian has included it among the 40 most beautiful beaches in Europe and among the 5 most beautiful in Italy to show the love they have for these places abroad.

Foto : Unsplash

This part of the coast offers the opportunity to admire poetic sunsets, perhaps sitting in the wooden kiosk overlooking the sea: from here the view embraces the entire city of Gallipoli, the inlet, the island of Sant’Andrea with its lighthouse and the suggestive Torre del Pizzo. We reach it, for now only with imagination, below.

We then head to the southernmost part of the vast bosom that characterizes the Ionian coast of Gallipoli, where we land in Baia del Pizzo. The panorama of this area – which is included in the Regional Natural Park Isola di S. Andrea and Litorale di Punta Pizzo- offers an alternation of rocky and sandy stretches, with low tuff cliffs overlooking the sea. 

This is one of the most fascinating protected areas of Puglia: to reach it you cross a dense pine forest, not accessible to motor vehicles, but which offers a pleasant walk immersed in an enchanting natural environment. The shallow and sandy waters make this beach suitable for families with children. 

The beach of Purità is a small beach located in the northern part of the old town. It is accessed through a charming alley that runs along the ancient walls, which during some hours of the day offer a shady refuge, sheltered from the summer heat. 

After a day spent by the sea you can also visit the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Purità, one of the oldest in the city, dating back to the seventeenth century and rich in baroque art.

The farms of Gallipoli: the Salento that tastes of the countryside

Together with the beaches, the farms are an unmissable part of the cultural heritage of Gallipoli and it is therefore an excellent idea to organize a tour between the agricultural estates of the area, just outside the city. Often dating back to the medieval period, they represent an example of rural architecture characteristic of the region. Many have been restored and transformed into farmhouses and therefore offer visitors the opportunity to taste the Salento, starting from the typical flavors of the countryside. 

The tastings are based on products coming directly from the surrounding lands. Here you can have lunch in the shade of the olive trees and at the table it is served only organic, cultivated and prepared with the know-how transmitted by generations.

On the menu there are, of course, orecchiette with turnip tops, a fresh handmade pasta topped with bitter vegetables typical of the territory; pittule, small fried pieces of yeast dough, perfect for a quick snack or a tasty appetizer; and the pasticciotto leccese, a shortcrust pastry cake filled with cream, a real symbol of Salento pastry. 

Those who stay in the city can choose between the traditional formula of restaurants and trattorias or prefer the street food bars and kiosks. The latter offer a true cuisine, made of rustic, fried calzones and pucce -the typical Salento bread with a circular shape- stuffed with specialties such as the capocollo of Martina Franca or the mozzarella of Gioia di Colle.

Autore: Eleonora Di Mauro

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