Gallipoli: la Città Bella of Salento
Gallipoli is a beautiful city of Salento, on the Ionian Sea. Very fine sandy beaches and truly fascinating monuments for the experience and stories they have to tell.
Two are the souls of this city, defined over the centuries as “Città Bella” and portrayed by famous artists such as Philipp Hackert in his famous painting “The port of Gallipoli”: the modern soul of the palaces and shops of Corso Roma and the ancient one of the castle, the palaces and churches in Lecce stone of the historic center and the ramparts.
If you need to visit Gallipoli, the ancient city center of “Città Vecchia” and discover the real flavour of raw fish in an amazing and typical Pescheria, you can book our Salento Experiencial Tour in Gallipoli
- Gallipoli: la Città Bella of Salento
- Gallipoli: where it is and how to reach it
- The Municipality of Gallipoli:centuries of history told quickly
- Gallipoli nowadays: Italian and International tourist destination
- Map of Gallipoli: Città Bella on the Ionian Sea
- The Città Bella is a small wedding favors: what to see in Gallipoli
- The Hellenistic fountain: from the Roman baths to the church of St. Nicholas
- Church of Santa Cristina: a few steps from the Hellenistic fountain
- Church of Santa Maria del Canneto: a small sanctuary, built in a fishermen’s place
- The castle of Gallipoli: majestic and imposing, overlooking the sea
- The Diocesan Museum: an incredible heritage of sacred works of art
- Cathedral of Saint Agatha Virgin and Martyr from Catania
- Purity Church (Chiesa della Purità): majolica tiles of extraordinary beauty and frescoed ceiling
- Saint Francis Church: the oldest in the historic centre
- Church of Saint Domenico or church of the Rosario
- Gallipoli beaches and equipped beaches: how to enjoy the sea and relax, from North to South
- Northern Gallipoli: Lido Conchiglie
- Rivabella: a small flagship to the north of Gallipoli
- In the heart of Gallipoli Vecchia the small beach of Purità
- Baia Verde: beaches and equipped lido, a fabulous nightlife
- Punta del Pizzo: true relaxation on the seafront
- Lido Pizzo: renowned and exclusive
- Punta della suina:excellent catering service, even if a little expensive
- G Beach: very well cared in detail and very exclusive lido
- Where to eat in Gallipoli: this is our advice
- Hotels, Accomodation facilities and Masserie: where to sleep in Gallipoli
- The weather in Gallipoli: move in advance to avoid surprises during your holiday
- The most beautiful images of Gallipoli
- The fisherman’s port
- One street of the historical center
- Hypogeum oil mill
- Fisherman’s port and the castle
- Gallipoli Diocesan Museum
- St. Agatha Cathedral
- Palazzo Balsamo
- Gallipoli Vecchia
- Spiaggia della Purità
- Punta della Suina
- Parco Naturale Regionale di Sant’Andrea e Punta Pizzo
- Masseria Li Sauli
- Palazzo Zacheo
- Baia Verde and Lido Zen
- Lido Pizzo
- Lido Conchiglie
- Gallipoli Rivabella
- Pescheria La Lampara
- DISCOVER GALLIPOLI
- Gallipoli: the Cathedral of St. Agatha Virgin and Martyr of Catania.
Gallipoli: where it is and how to reach it
You can easily reach Gallipoli:
- by plane to Brindisi (about 80 km from Gallipoli): landing at the airport of Brindisi Papola Casale (it is about 80 km away but the road is quite smooth) and moving from there by car (renting one from the various operators on the territory) or by bus to the Lecce railway station and take a train fromFerrovie Sud-Est
- by plane to Bari (about 80 km from Gallipoli): Landing at the airport of Bari Karol Wojtyla (about 200 km away but the road is quite smooth) and moving from there by car (renting one from the various operators present in the territory and seeing the route to the next point) or by bus reaching the railway station of Bari and taking a train Bari-Lecce and once arrived in Lecce, take a regional train of the Ferrovie Sud-Est or a bus to Gallipoli
- by car from north/central Italy: drive along the A14 or A16 motorway to Bari Nord, take the Brindisi-Lecce exit along the entire motorway. Just before you enter the city of Lecce, take the tangenziale Ovest junction to Gallipoli. After about 30 km you will find several interchanges to Gallipoli: Rivabella/Lidoconchiglie, Porto, Sannicola, Alezio/Ospedale, Lido San Giovanni, Baia Verde.
- by car from southern Italy (Calabria and Sicily): take the SS 16 to Taranto, once arrived in the city, continue your journey towards Brindisi along the SS 7. Continue towards Lecce and follow the directions as expressed above;
- by bus from all over Italy: we suggest different routes to travel by coach GT. Here are the different companies: from Central Italy with Autolinee Traim or Marozzi; from northern Italy Marino Bus; from Sicily and Calabria withautolinee Scoppio.
The Municipality of Gallipoli:centuries of history told quickly
Today, the municipality of Gallipoli has become a destination and attractive pole for many Italian and foreign tourists who decide to spend their holidays in Salento.
Just as today, in the past, Gallipoli and its port have seen men, ships and goods from all over Europe pass through.
Over the centuries, the inhabitants of Gallipoli have seen the domination and succession of different populations and ethnic groups.
Gallipoli, the “Bella City” from the Greek Kallípolis, was born as a Messapic port around 1000 B. C. and during the era of Magna Graecia it had control of a vast territory.
In 265 BC, after the defeat against Rome, it became a Roman colony before becoming a municipium. During the Middle Ages it was plundered wildly by the Goths and Vandals until it was regained by the Byzantines. The latter rebuilt it and restored it to a magnificent splendour.
Subsequently Gallipoli and its territory passed from hand to hand: from the eleventh century onwards there followed the Normans, the Angevins, the Venetians, the Spaniards until they became the land of the Kingdom of Naples with the Bourbons.
Ferdinand I began the reconstruction of the port making Gallipoli and its port, a centre for the exchange of goods and an important trade and maritime traffic hub.
In Gallipolina, the inhabitants of Gallipoli used to trade lamp oil, tobacco and soap with the rest of Europe, making this city a real emporium.
It is said that what we know today as Soap of Marseille is instead born in Gallipoli.
Bartolomeo Ravenna in his “Historical Memoirs of the city of Gallipoli” of 1836 tells that the many inhabitants of Gallipoli who worked in small soaps were taken to be brought to Marseille, Naples, Livorno and Genoa.
Recently, a small and ancient soap maker has been discovered near the restaurant “Scoglio delle sirene”.
The Gallipoli coat of arms: a proud crowned cock
The inhabitants of Gallipoli are proud, proud to belong to such a beautiful and important city.
The coat of arms of the Municipality of Gallipoli follows this pride through its graphic representation: a rooster crowned with the Latin caption Fideliter excubat, that is, it closely supervises.
According to an ancient legend, the proud feathers would have embellished the shield of Idomeneo, the Cretan hero who fought in Troy and who, like so many veterans from that bloody battle, once returned home, was replaced on the throne and in affections.
From here the bitter decision, get back into the sea, cross the Mediterranean Sea like Ulysses and land in Salento, along with its most loyal servants. Once he arrived here, in this magnificent land kissed by the sun, he founded Lecce and Gallipoli.
Gallipoli nowadays: Italian and International tourist destination
Over the last few years Gallipoli has been assaulted by numerous Italian and foreign tourists. The tourist boom has been exponential and this city of Salento has responded very well to all tourist bookings.
In fact, the word “Gallipoli” is the most sought after word on Trip Advisor and, according to the tourist flows of recent years, also this year the Beautiful City will be targeted by tourists from all over the world.
Map of Gallipoli: Città Bella on the Ionian Sea
The Città Bella is a small wedding favors: what to see in Gallipoli
The “Città Bella” is rich in monuments of historical interest. We suggest you what to see in Gallipoli to give you the chance not to miss the opportunity to enjoy its fantastic artistic heritage.
The Hellenistic fountain: from the Roman baths to the church of St. Nicholas
The Hellenistic fountain is a monument symbol of Gallipoli: it was built next to the Roman baths and then moved (1548) next to the church of San Nicola del Porto, and then relocated to where it is currently seen, that is, next to the bridge that connects the old town with the new one.
Several diatribes about the origin and construction of this beautiful monument: on the one hand, some writers attribute the origin of this monument to the Roman age while, recent studies attest the date of this beautiful fountain to the Renaissance-humanities (16th century).
On one of the facades, on which mythological scenes accompanied by verses of Ausonio are depicted, a baroque tympanum with the coat of arms of Philip II (the King of Spain) and, on its sides, the coat of arms of the municipality of Gallipoli has been placed.
On the other facade, built in 1765 to support the entire fountain, there was a drinking trough for the animals and the insignia of Charles III of Bourbon, King of Naples.
Church of Santa Cristina: a few steps from the Hellenistic fountain
A few meters from the Hellenistic Fountain there is the church of Santa Cristina, in the direction of the castle.
A little splendor realized in the late’ 500. Unvarnished, it has a single altar on which is placed the statue of papier-maché of Santa Cristina. Not far away, near the Small Sea of Gallipoli, you will find the church of Santa Maria del Canneto.
Church of Santa Maria del Canneto: a small sanctuary, built in a fishermen’s place
Near the small sea of Gallipoli, there is the church of Santa Maria del Canneto.
According to an ancient legend, the church would have been built in a marshy place, where numerous reeds grew up, where fishermen would have found an ancient icon of the Virgin Mary.
The church was thus built in his honour, with carparo ashlars. Its plan is rectangular with three naves, with the central nave higher than the other two.
Very rich is the decoration of the architectural structures, where flower motifs and friezes appear. It is presented as a small baroque church: inside you will find a representation of the Virgin of Canneto, a canvas by Santa Cristina, a bust of St. Nicholas and papier-maché statues of different saints: Sant’ Antonio da Padova, Santa Rita.
The castle of Gallipoli: majestic and imposing, overlooking the sea
From the Hellenic fountain, from the “reed thicket”, you can see the mighty Castle of Gallipoli.
The structure already incorporates previous fortifications of Roman, Byzantine and Norman times and finally Angevin.
The quadrilateral fortress is almost entirely surrounded by the sea: four towers dominate its corners and, in the past, it was entirely surrounded by the sea and separated from the island where today there is Gallipoli Vecchia (Gaddhripuli).
The moat has been completely covered and today, on it, you can see the covered market.
Over the centuries the castle has undergone several renovations and modernizations: the most significant intervention was the modernization by the Sienese architect Giorgio Martini, who, between the end of the 1400s and the first years of the 1500s, designed the circular towers and separated the castle from the city with deep ditches.
Over the past centuries, some towers have been used as casemates and, which became public property in 1879, the castle was used for public offices. Today it is partially visitable and it is really worth knowing its corners, its stories and the architectural beauties it contains, relying on our guide Gallipolina.
The Diocesan Museum: an incredible heritage of sacred works of art
The former diocesan seminary, no longer in use since the late 70’s of the last century, on the initiative of the diocese of Nardò Gallipoli, with the intervention of the CEI, the European Union and the Puglia Region (link), has now become a diocesan museum.
The museum was founded with a very specific aim: to make visitors discover the Christian roots of the Salento land.
The 1700 building, baroque style, consists of four floors:
- Ground floor: the premises used in the past as kitchen, today they are used as bookshops and ticket offices;
- First floor: you will find an ancient chapel, reliquaries and silver sculptures of San Sebastiano and Santa Cristina, the city’s protectors;
- Second floor: in the various exhibition spaces there are sacred and liturgical furnishings such as the Eucharistic Tronetto by Francesco Avellino (1733) and the baldachin;
- Third floor: it is the top floor, panoramic because several terraces will allow you to look at Gallipoli from above.
Cathedral of Saint Agatha Virgin and Martyr from Catania
Inside Gallipoli Vecchia, immediately after the Diocesan Museum, there is the Cathedral of St. Agatha, the Cathedral of the Virgin and Martyr of Catania.
A cathedral so beautiful that it remains open-mouthed. Rich in paintings of high historical interest.
The elevation, completed in 1629, is in carp (a typical Salento stone) and is divided into two orders: the first is a pilaster of Doric order that encloses the doors for access to the aisles and statues of the patron saints: Agata, Fausto and Sebastiano. The second order, built on Zimbalo’s suggestions, contains in the niches the statues and busts of Santa Marina, Santa Teresa d’ Avila, Sant’ Agostino and San Giovanni Crisostomo.
Inside, painting is the undisputed protagonist.
Latin cross plant, spaces subdivided by 12 Doric columns that create 12 small baroque altars dedicated to:
- Saint Isidoro
- Saint Francesco of Paola
- Epiphany or Adoration of the Magi
- Lady of Sorrows
- Saint Sebastian
- Saint Agatha
- Immaculate Conception
- Purgatory souls
- the Assumption
- Crowning of Mary
- Our Lady of Rescue
- Most Holy Sacrament
in the transept:
Purity Church (Chiesa della Purità): majolica tiles of extraordinary beauty and frescoed ceiling
A typical example of Gallipolino Baroque style, the Church of Purity (of 1600) was built to house the Confraternity of the Port Dischargers and was entirely dedicated to Saint Cristina, the patroness of Gallipoli, who is celebrated from 24 to 26 July each year.
The church elevation has a simple style, with two entrances and two symmetrical windows. Three majolica tiles adorn the church: in the centre the SS. Virgin with Child and, on the sides, Saint Joseph and Saint Francis of Assisi.
If the exterior is linear and minimalist, the interior is rich in wooden works, paintings, friezes and decorations: a real triumph of Baroque art.
The floor is tiled while the ceiling is frescoed. Several scenes portrayed by the Old Testament and the Gospels.
Saint Francis Church: the oldest in the historic centre
This church is the oldest in the historic centre: inside it are two important wooden statues of the Vespasian, depicting the two thieves, placed to the right of the entrance, in the Chapel of the Spanish or Cappella del Crocefisso.
Gabriele D’ Annunzio was struck by the horrific beauty of the evil thief (Malladrone).
Legend has it that this church was commissioned by St. Francis when he arrived in Gallipoli after returning from the Holy Land.
Church of Saint Domenico or church of the Rosario
Built on a medieval temple of Basilian monks in 1517, the façade of the church of San Domenico is slightly convex, entirely made of carparo (typical Lecce Stone).
The portal is in Baroque style and there are four niches on the elevation.
Here lies the Brotherhood of the Rosary, founded by the Gallipolini tailors.
We suggest you to admire the painting of the Virgin Mary with St. Dominic, present on the main altar. The two side niches in front of the altar contain statues of St. Michael and St. Thomas and, on the internal walls of the church, you will be ecstatic for the paintings on the life of St. Joseph.
We advise you to walk through the old town with your nose upwards: only in this way you can discover the balconies, terraces and beautiful views of this city.
Gallipoli beaches and equipped beaches: how to enjoy the sea and relax, from North to South
Gallipoli, in addition to possessing a unique and special artistic heritage, is rich in beaches and beaches equipped to meet all the needs of tourists.
In view of the great success achieved by the “Bellau City” from the tourist point of view, last year, a friendly “controversy” arose with Rimini, about the quality of tourist services offered in the city of Gallipolina and Salento, a real word of mouth with hashtag #machenesannoarimini and #machenesannoagallipoli, ended in piadine and friselle (if you don’t know what is a Frisella/friseddhra, click here).
Having said that, apart from its rivalries, the beaches of Gallipoli are spectacular: the sand is very fine and the beaches are so wide that they can hold everyone.
There are several bathing areas to consider.
Northern Gallipoli: Lido Conchiglie
North of Gallipoli, between the Park of Porto Selvaggio and Santa Maria al Bagno, lies Lido Conchiglie, belonging to Sannicola and Gallipoli.
The beaches are half rocky and half sandy.
They are ideal for those who want to enjoy the sea, in full relax away from the chaos and the noisy nightlife of Gallipoli.
Lido Le Canne: a full optional lido for those who want to leave stress at home
Lido Le Canne factory presents itself as a fully optional lido. You can enjoy the sea in peace and quiet and forget everything that undermines your tranquility.
Large covered parking, newsstand and tobacconist’s kiosk, bar and restaurant service, lounge bar for the most demanding and excellent restaurant typical of Salento.
Punto Fisso Beach: Your reference point for the sea in Lido Conchiglie
In Padula Bianca, between the lido Conchiglie and Rivabella, Punto Fisso Beach can become your reference point to enjoy the sea far from chaos, screams and loud music.
The lido is so comfortable that you can also organize your wedding on the beach, thanks to the exclusive wedding service.
Campo delle bandiere: Caribbean oasis in Lido Conchiglie
Campo delle Bandiere is a simple and well-kept family-run lido.
Numerous services are offered to customers: a comfortable shady tree-lined parking, shower service, catering service, break area and bar service.
Rivabella: a small flagship to the north of Gallipoli
Also north of Gallipoli, between Lido Conchiglie and Città Bella, is Rivabella.
The name is a whole programme: well frequented beaches, silence and relaxation will be the masters of your holiday.
The Rivabella Lido is the undisputed point of reference for the sea days of your family
The beach is well organized and the catering service is excellent. The environment is suitable for families and those who love relaxation and tranquility.
Holiday Beach: glamorous lido for sports lovers
Holiday Beach Holiday Beach is a very well organized beach. In order to reach it you will have to cross the pine forest and the spectacle that will seem to you in front of your eyes will be incredible: a large terrace overlooking the sea.
Excellent catering service, sun beds and beach umbrellas well spaced and, for those who want to do sports, beach volleyball courts.
In the heart of Gallipoli Vecchia the small beach of Purità
In the heart of old Gallipoli, you will find a small beach, the beach of purity.
It is located near the old pier and is very small and characteristic; it is the only free beach in the heart of Gallipoli. We recommend you to go there and arrange your towel very early in the morning because, being a free beach, it is very crowded because this small beach is the reference point of the real gallipolini.
Baia Verde: beaches and equipped lido, a fabulous nightlife
Three km of fine beach with dunes and equipped beaches, enclosed between the stadium of Gallipoli and the natural reserve of Pizzo: this is Baia Verde.
If you love relaxation in the months of July and August, we advise you not to stop at Baia Verde and we suggest you to come here in the period May-June and September-November, in low season because, in the middle of summer, this bathing area is taken assault and the shores are transformed into real h24 open-air discos.
We give you a list of beaches and beaches to stay at, if you love nightlife and chaos:
- Piccolo Lido
- Lido San Giovanni
- Spiaggia Club
- Blue Bay Beach
- Lido Pôr do Sol
- Lido Baia Verde (ex Kudetà)
- bikini beach
- La Playa
- Lido Sottovento
- Eté by Rio Bo Delicious Beach
Zen e Samsara: the two most famous lidos for entertainment
Among these, the most famous are the Lido Zen and the Samsara Beach for nightlife, music and fun.
We must not forget that Samsara has recently opened two other shores: one in Italy, Riccione, on the Riviera Romagnola and the other in Montenegro in Budva.
From Samsara di Gallipoli, the singer Sergio Sylvestre, vocalyst for the lido gallipolino, winner of “Amici di Maria De Filippi” in the previous edition, was launched.
Punta del Pizzo: true relaxation on the seafront
This is the most beautiful area of Gallipoli to enjoy the sea.
We are in the Regional Natural Park of Sant’ Andrea Island and the coast of Punta Pizzo and we are talking about exceptional places for nature that you will have the opportunity to see.
The scent of pine forests and Mediterranean scrub will mark your sunsets on the beach. The view will be incredible, believe us.
The beaches here are super organized and guarantee the privacy of the most demanding guests.
Lido Pizzo: renowned and exclusive
The beach is very fine and this is perhaps the most exclusive beach in the whole area.
Excellent catering service and a few umbrellas: we recommend you book on time.
Punta della suina:excellent catering service, even if a little expensive
A simple chillout background will accompany your days on the beach.
Large dining area and numerous sun beds and umbrellas. We recommend that you book in good time.
To reach this magnificent place, you will have to cross the pine forest. Large parking in front of the structure.
G Beach: very well cared in detail and very exclusive lido
Very well maintained place, it is one of the most exclusive beaches of Gallipoli. Numerous events and festivals with international djset flavor. It is a gay-friendly lido.
Where to eat in Gallipoli: this is our advice
In Gallipoli you really eat very well. If you’re hoping to avoid chaos, you can try to go outside the city but we always recommend you book.
Fresh fish in fishmongers: fish market La Lampara
Next to the parking lot of the port, you will find several fish shops that give you the opportunity to taste the excellent fresh fish directly in the fish market.
We tried the Pescheria La Lampara and were positively impressed by the courtesy of the staff, the owner’s sympathy and the goodness of the fresh fish.
Exceptional tuna and swordfish tartare and the famous prawns of Gallipoli.
This fish market satisfies everyone: those who love the raw and those who love these delicious dishes on the grill.
We recommend a taste of raw seafood, just to taste the true flavor of the sea of Gallipoli.
La Puritate: traditional restaurant
The place is elegant, the service impeccable. We are in the heart of Gallipoli Vecchia. Excellent wine list and served dishes are made with fresh ingredients.
The average price is a bit high but really worth it because you can try excellent fish dishes.
La Giudecca: un moderno ristorante di pesce
The furniture is modern, the seats are very comfortable. The lights will illuminate the right romantic dinners or your tastings of fresh fish with friends.
Excellent menu, we recommend you to book just in time.
Trattoria da Olga: typical Salento fish restaurant
Spartan furniture, rustic room with star vaults.
We suggest you to taste the famous “Pennette alla Olga” with a mixture of fish and breadcrumbs.
Order word: book.
Hotels, Accomodation facilities and Masserie: where to sleep in Gallipoli
Gallipoli welcomes many visitors and, to meet this demand, over the years, more than 800 accommodation facilities have been built in the Città Bella, suitable for all types of shopping: from houses for rent, room rentals, B&Bs to hotels, resorts with spas and luxury farms.
We are telling you just a few of them, those that we have personally tested.
Having said that, we invite you to book in good time in the facilities that best suit your needs.
Masseria Carignani: your oasis of peace within walking distance of Gallipoli
Steps is as if it were euphemism. Masseria Carignani is located in Tuglie, a few km from Gallipoli, in the Salento hinterland.
We strongly recommend you to do a test and book in this place to say that it is fantastic. It will seem to make a leap into the past and experience the peasant atmosphere of the last century, in a far more comfortable key. Two options: rooms with all comforts or full ground floor apartments.
At your awakening, a very good breakfast will give you the necessary impetus to face a long day at sea.
Hotel Masseria li sauli: nature just a few steps from the Ionian Sea
Staying in the Masseria Li Sauli means staying a few hundred meters from the Punta della Suina, in the heart of the nature reserve, on one of the most beautiful sea points of Gallipoli.
The structure is large, offers its guests the opportunity to have a nice bath in the pool when the sea and weather do not allow it.
In addition to offering an excellent and rich continental breakfast buffet, there is also a good restaurant with typical products from Salento. We advise you to take a look at the menu and try the flavors of our land. 2 master rooms and 34 standard rooms furnished with lovely furnitures close the wonderful offer that this enchanting masseria can give you.
Palazzo Zacheo: in the heart of Gallipoli Vecchia, just a stone’s throw from everything
4 apartments and 4 rooms at only 300 meters from the beach of purity. Every accommodation has names of winds, evocative certainly because Salento is land of sun, sea and wind.
A structure of great charm for your holiday in Gallipoli. The favourable location of this property will allow you to fully enjoy your holiday in Salento.
Relais Corte Palmieri & il Chiostro – Residenza d’epoca
Beautiful structure of 1700 used as a relais, Corte Palmieri is located in the heart of the historic center of Gallipoli, a few steps from the cathedral and the beach of Purità.
The rooms (standard, superior and double deluxe) offer all possible comforts and among the services offered to customers, there is also the daily yacht renting with crew.
You will have the opportunity to enjoy an enchanting view during your continental breakfast on the hotel’s panoramic terrace.
The weather in Gallipoli: move in advance to avoid surprises during your holiday
The most beautiful images of Gallipoli
Gallipoli: the Cathedral of St. Agatha Virgin and Martyr of Catania.
In the heart of Gallipoli Vecchia, Gaddhripuli, as the old Gallipolini fishermen say, who fought almost a century against the sea, there is a splendid treasure of immeasurable value: the cathedral of Sant' Agata, virgin and martyr from Catania. The...