Gallipoli lies on the west coast of the Salento peninsula, on the Ionian Sea. The original settlers were the Messapii, an ancient Illyrian population thought to have migrated to the Salento area between the 11th and 10th century BC, successively Gallipoli was part of Magna Graecia or Greater Greece as the Romans defined the coastal areas of Southern Italy, hence the origin of its name from the Greek Kallipolis or Kalépolis, beautiful town.
The old town’s unique setting on a small island enclosed by bastions confers an almost magical charm to the historical town, generally known as the old town. The new town on the contrary; that is the part of the town outside the bastions, rises on the peninsular mainland and ends at the “Seno del Canneto” where a bridge dating back to 1603, once terminating in a wooden draw bridge for defence, connects the two portions of modern day Gallipoli.
Among the monuments of the town, The Angevin castle and Rivellino, the church of Saint Francis of Paola, the Cathedral of St. Agatha, the church of Saint Domenic at the Rosary, the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns and its chapel of Saint Teresa of Avila, the church of Saint Cristine, patron saint of Gallipoli, the Hellenic Fountain, the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Purity, the underground oil mills, are all worthy of mention.
Alongside tourism, fishing is Gallipoli’s main industry, with traditions that are age old, and that over the centuries, have conferred to Gallipoli its maritime vocation. The populations almost religious devotion to the sea is still visible today. Near the port, you will find a colorful fish market, for residents and tourists alike, where you can buy exquisite fresh fish and seafood, as well as beautiful shells and coral branches.