Gallipoli - in addition to it’s splendid coast - has an evident beauty which emanates from the ancient palaces adorned with baroque style balconies, fascinating churches, and small courtyards that suddenly appear at the end of its many twisted alleys
When we arrive to Gallipoli for the first time, we surely can’t be surprised by this town that is perched on the splendid sea. We can immediately understand that we find ourselves in a city composed of two distinct parts: the characteristic part containing the ancient suburbs and the modern one that has its pulsating heart on Corso Roma.
Upon entering the village we can understand that it was built on a small island connected to the mainland thanks to a stone bridge whose side passage offers us a view of the port and the sea, the beach of Purità, and the lighthouse of St. Andrea.
The historic center fascinates us because of the atmosphere it provides through its urban fabric which is composed of narrow streets that, in turn, form a sort of labyrinth. It is set up this way in order to protect the old fishermen's hovels from the wind that often blows impetuously.
As in many other villages, even Gallipoli has an obvious beauty that emanates from its ancient palaces, the ornate balconies, the baroque style of the churches, and from the small courtyards that sudden-ly appear at the end of some twisted alleys.
Everything tastes good: from the great smells that come from the cooking and expand throughout the air at lunchtime, to the salty wind that comes from the sea and gives us a little relief from the summer heat.
Amongst the small shops that sell local handmade products, we can find many places where we can stop and enjoy an aperitif and have a chat, or just simply enjoy the scenic panorama.
The little Salento town also accommodates families: on the Galilei waterfront there are several rides and many small kiosks where you can buy ice cream and snacks - but also sandwiches, chips and soft drinks.
At the end of the boardwalk we arrive at Lido San Giovanni and then we reach the historic location of many summer concerts - Parco Gondar. There you will also find the resort called Baia Verde which is the center of the nightlife.
The coast is characterized by beaches consisting of white sand dunes or cliffs that hail from the hid-den bay.
The fame this town is known for comes from the fact that it is able to offer us a very long and low beachfront that extends in a natural way to frame the Gulf of Gallipoli. It goes from Lido Conchiglie located in the north, up to Punta Pizzo in the south.
To get an idea of what Gallipoli offers regarding its sea, we can hypothesize an exploration of its coa-sts starting from the Lido Conchiglie, which is about eight kilometers from the town and where we can find a well-equipped sandy coast, a one, and various free beaches.
Five kilometers away from the town of Salento we can find Rivabella beach. It is characterized by a pine forest that offers shade and coolness as well as the beach. About three kilometers from the center travelling towards Gallipoli, we can choose to spend our day at the sea, stopping in one of the many coves formed by the gorges on the present rocky coast.
On the opposite side of Gallipoli there is the island of Sant’Andrea. In the village there is a tiny beach club called Seno della Purità. It takes its name from a nearby church that has this name and has al-ways been a place where the gallipolins are used to spending a day at the beach.
Leaving Gallipoli behind to reach the south, we find Lido San Giovanni which offers a sandy beach bordered by a transparent sea. A couple of kilometers from the town we find Baia Verde: a well-known tourist destination that has always been the center of the summer nightlife in this area of Salen-to.
Surrounded by a beautiful pine forest, which surrounds almost three kilometers of fine white sand, Baia Verde is perfectly equipped to receive bathers attracted by its beautiful crystal clear waters and a small exotic beach at the end of the pine forest: Punta della Suina is part of of the protected area of the Punta Pizzo Park.
This is another location we can reach after traveling a couple of kilometers and offers us the oppor-tunity to enjoy breathtaking views! Here we will find intimate coves but also clubs and discos that will allow us to have fun during the wee hours and many restaurants that offer excellent local cuisine.
The beaches of Gallipoli: the details
Lido Conchiglie: the marina where the coast belonging to Lido Conchiglie is located is the first beach we encounter on the northern coast of Gallipoli. We can consider it the standard of nature that domi-nates this territory: a sandy low coast where the Mediterranean scrub is not missing that divides its space into rocky sections. Here the low and rounded rocks allow you to reach the sea without major problems.
The rocky part of the Rivabella area has the presence of some fresh water springs that reach the sea which passes between the rocks. This feature allows the water to have different temperatures.
Lido Conchiglie owes its name to the shells that dot its coastline.
The added value of this town is also due to the panorama that can be admired from La Montagna Spaccata - a rocky mountain that is divided into two parts and is crossed by using the coastal road found in the background.
Rivabella: is mainly a sandy coast that has been enjoying a certain notoriety in this last period and is one of the most appreciated places by its tourists. A kilometer and a half of tropical beach is framed by a green pine forest and a Mediterranean scrub. It is an ideal place for families with children be-cause of the transparent sea that remains at lowtide for hundreds of meters.
Seno della Purità: or simply Purità - is the favorite beach of the people from Gallipoli and since the 19th century has always been a meeting place for the inhabitants of the city.
Since the 1960s it has been a focal point for sailing enthusiasts with the establishment of the Circolo della Vela in Gallipoli. The small beach, (only three hundred meters long) is very popular also because it is right under the walls of the ancient village and because it allows you to admire the Ionian coast, the Island of Sant'Andrea, and the lighthouse.
Lido San Giovanni: it is a historic place because the first establishment of Gallipoli was born here and, for this very reason, the area took its name.
Located on the seafront in one of the most lively areas of Gallipoli, it is full of bars of all types. Lido S. Giovanni is formed by an extensive coastline consisting of golden sand. Nearby, we can find the spectacular sand dunes that give it an exotic touch.
Baia Verde: is among the most famous beaches. The coast is made up of very fine white sand and has transparent waters. It is surrounded by low sandy dunes where the Mediterranean scrub grows. The beach can be reached by following the paths created by nature.
It owes its name to the color of the sea which, thanks to the rays of the sun, takes on these reflections.
The seabed is gently sloping and the sea is not deep. There are many establishments present that offer courses in surfing, sailing, diving and much more. There are also many bars and nightclubs that attract residents and tourists to experience the nightlife.
Punta della Suina: if we like the sea and nature, this is our ideal place because of the transparency of the waters that break gently upon the sandy areas and on the rocks.
Lido di Punta Pizzo: it is located between Gallipoli and Marina di Mancaversa inside the Natural Reserve of the Island of St. Andrea. Here we find a rocky but low coast which alternates with small sandy coves. The sea is, as in the whole area, truly unique. Here we can choose between pristine beaches where there is no lack of pine forests and vegetation.
Gallipoli, dishes to taste
We conclude this excursus on the beautiful Gallipoli, with some useful information to learn more about what has been written so far. Let's start talking about gastronomy.
It may seem almost useless but it is better to underline the fact that the local cuisine totally reflects that of the territory of Salento, which mixes ingredients of the earth together such as legumes, fruits and vegetables with others that come from the sea. Basically it is a poor cuisine which has been served for generations and which has survived to the present day thanks to what is called the "Mediterranean diet".
Among the traditional dishes, we can taste Lu purpu a pignata, la scapece, gli mboti and others. But let's see what we're talking about.
La pignata is a traditional terracotta container where - in this case - an octopus is cut into small pieces and placed inside after being covered with garlic and onion, and a hint of oregano and laurel. Everything must be placed on a slow fire for over an hour to delight us - with a finished result - of flavors from land and sea.
La scapece owes its creation to a need of the inhabitants of this area to have something to eat during long sieges, when it was impossible to receive food from the outside. They are small fish (they can be zerri or boghe) that must first be fried and then marinated in breadcrumbs that are soaked in wine vin-egar and saffron and placed inside some jars. It was a system that allowed for the long conservation of a poor but nutritious fish.
As for the mboti dish, it consists of nothing else but lamb entrails made into a roll. In the other areas of Salento it takes on other names.
Other specialties of this place are the municedde, which are roasted or stewed snails; a potato pie baked in the oven with ricotta called pitta te patate; and the fish soup that is prepared in different ways.
Gallipoli's dishes are usually accompanied by excellent local wines such as Negramaro and Primitivo.
After having briefly mentioned the enogastronomic aspect of this place, we can dedicate ourselves to find out more about the nightlife that animates the Salento and Gallipoli. First of all, summer in Gallipoli is full of many events and festivals especially organized for vacationers such as: the Strade Golose event, the Swordfish Festival and the summer concerts at Parco Gondar.
From June 9th to the 13th the Festa di Sant’Antonio is held which, in addition to being a religious event includes musical performances and much more. The first two days of the month of July we cel-ebrate the Madonna del Canneto and, moreover, on the 14th and 15th we celebrate that of the Carmine which closes with a spectacular firework display. On the 24th and 25th of July the Festa di Santa Cristina is held inside where the traditional and popular Cuccagna a mare takes place.
Finally, in the month of August the Festa di Santa Chiara is held which includes musical events of a certain importance. for three days (from the 8th to the 10th).
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