2014_August_Gallipoli1Gallipoli is a lovely town in the region of  Puglia  – the heel of the Italian boot – and is just along the Ionian Sea. This part of Puglia is known as the Salento, an absolute must-see region and one of my favorite southern Italian destinations.

Salento is best known for its beautiful, unspoiled beaches and its stunning baroque architecture.

The town’s fitting name dates all the way back to that of the original ancient Greek settlement “Kalé polis” means ‘beautiful city’. Gallipoli is really a walled island attached to the mainland by a 17th century bridge.

Gallipoli, ItalyGallipoli is a great town for exploration – lose yourself wandering its winding, picturesque streets. The facade of the Basilica of Sant’Agatà, built in 1629, is a wonderful example of Lecce baroque.

 Other monuments of interest are the Greek Fountain and the imposing castle. And don’t miss the daily fish market, just underneath the bridge leading to the old town.

Although the most beautiful beaches are just outside the city limits, the Seno della Purità – meaning the “Breast of Purity”, the name is taken from a nearby church –  is within the town walls. It’s a small, pleasant beach where you can take a swim during your visit.

Gallipoli, ItalyAfter your swimming, climb up the town walls and sit outdoors to eat a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking this harbour as night falls – certainly the perfect ending to an enjoyable day in Gallipoli.

Don’t miss an outing to the beautiful nearby beach of Punto de suina, a short drive south of Gallipoli with pretty views out to the down and crystal-clear water.

Gallipoli is also the perfect base for exploring this spectacular region. Baroque gems Lecce, Otranto, Santa Maria de Leuca, Nardo and Galatone are all short trips from here and, of course, trips to visit these architectural wonders are capped off perfectly with late afternoons and evenings swimming off the beautiful beaches of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas.

You’re guaranteed to enjoy your time in Gallipoli and the Salento.