Gallipoli, also known as the Perla dello Ionio (Pearl of the Ionian Sea), is located along the west coast of Salento, outstretched towards the Ionian sea with a coastline of about 20 km. The city is divided into two areas: the old town, situated on a limestone island and connected to the mainland by a seventeenth-century bridge, and from the village, which is home to the most modern part of the city.
The historical Centre of Gallipoli is organised according the classical model of the Greek cities and is characterised by its narrow and winding streets and whose main road, via Antonietta De Pace, divides it into the eastern and western areas, that is sirocco and north wind. The old city is an important source of religious, civil and military architectural wonders. A panoramic and suggestive road, built on the place where once there was the ancient rampart-covered wall, which served to protect the city from the enemy attacks ; it will allow you to walk along the perimeter of the small island and to enjoy wonderful breath-taking views.
The ends of the bridge which connect the two parts of the city are home to one of the most important monuments of the city, the Greek –Roman fountain, dating back to the third century B.C. and the Castle of Gallipoli, with its three towers, a lookout tower and Rivellino.
The coastline of which Gallipoli boasts , is made up from low cliffs alternating with wide beaches and at times rather more rocky, which altogether, characterise the seafront promenade Galilei.
Continuing along the south coast you can reach a wild area really charming: Baia del Pizzo with a strong wild charm: Baia del Pizzo, characterised by a crystalline water and white and very fine white sand.
Il Salento forms the Italian heel, and it coincides geographically with the Southern part of Apulia, between the Ionian Sea to the west and the Adriatic sea to the east and it includes the entire province of Lecce and part of that of Taranto.
The architectural landscape recalls the Greek cities for the absolute predominance of white houses due to lime-based whitewash, especially in the countryside and on the coast, while historical centres are characterised by the Baroque of Lecce, which if compared to the rest of Italy rids itself of the pictorial overabundance of the insides and turns the external façades of churches and palaces into real sculptured tapestries. In all this the local Lecce stone, tender and pliable and with a pinkish yellow colour has had much importance.
Therefore, the typical structure of Salento historical centres is characterised by a very compact pattern ( there’s no separation between the houses), of white lanes characterised by their lime washed walls always enlivened.
Salento coasts are wide and sandy especially on the Ionian Sea, while on the Adriatic Sea the cliffs overlooking the sea are really spectacular.
Among the most well-known beaches there are those of Gallipoli, Ugento, Pulsano, Lizzano, Campomarino, San Pietro in Bevagna, Torre dell'Orso, Porto Cesareo, Santa Maria di Leuca, Otranto, Ostuni and Carovigno (Torre Santa Sabina, Pantanagianni, Specchiolla and Torre Guaceto) and with regard to rocky beaches, among the famous ones it is worth mentioning Castro, Santa Cesarea Terme, the seashores of Nardò (Santa Maria al Bagno and Santa Caterina) and Porto Badisco.
In the steep cliffs which start from Santa Maria di Leuca up to Punta Palascìa (Otranto) suggestive karst caves open up among which the most significant one is the Grotta Zinzulusa, inside of which pictograms and paleontological finds were found.
Among the most valuable natural sites of Salento there are the Protected Oasis of Almini Lakes, with an ecosystem which is home to various animal and vegetal species and the wonderful Baia dei Turchi ( Bay of the Turks), one of the most beautiful beaches of Salento: The Park of Le Cesine, the Park of Porto Selvaggio and the Island of Sant’Andrea which is located just over a mile from the historical centre of Gallipoli.
The Salento holds one marvel after another, among white and sunny beaches and natural paradises, among which the above mentioned Baia dei Turchi; Pescoluse, famous for its low and transparent sea bottoms; Punta della Suina; Punta Prosciutto, considered one of the wildest beaches of Salento; the Dunes of Porto Cesareo and the famous beach of Punta Pizzo.