The Beauties of Salento

The Salento is well known for its magnificent sea stacks, enchanting even in winter, and the austere beauty of its ancient countryside designed by stretches of olive trees. Sunny climate, scents of the Mediterranean bush, and the callbacks of the gulls complete a unique and memorable experience of senses. Last but not least, in Salento region you can find more than a hundred little towns and villages, each of which with its own unique story and beauty: Lecce, the capital of Salento with its famous baroque facades; Otranto, the place where the Greek-Messapian architectures coexists with the Roman, Byzantine and Norman-Aragonese ones; Santa Maria di Leuca with its slim lighthouse and the Sanctuary on the headland as well as the nineteenth-century patrician villas on the promenade, all decorated with different architectural styles, from the Moorish to the Art deco and Liberty ones. Moreover, wonderful natural landscapes provide its guests with a breathtaking view: Porto Selvaggio, Porto Badisco, the Alimini Lakes, the Vallonea Oak in Tricase, the Zinzulusa caves and the bauxite ones in Otranto. Also, the Punta Pizzo nature reserve in Gallipoli, the île of St. Andrea, the wonderful sea caves and the fiord of Ciolo near Santa Maria di Leuca. Worthy of note are the sandy beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters and limpid seabeds: Punta Prusciutto, Pesculuse, Punta della Suina and the overwhelming beauty of Baia Verde in Gallipoli.

Gallipoli, the Pearl of the Ionian Sea

Bathed by the Ionian sea, Gallipoli is located on the west coast of Salento. The town actually consists of two parts: Borgo and Centro Storico, and a bridge in between. The ancient part of the town was fortified with ramparts and defensive walls more than a kilometer long. They were built to discourage enemy assaults from the seaward side. The bridge was built, instead, between 1601 and 1608 with a structure of twelve archways that ended in a wooden drawbridge. Even today, the bridge is the only point of contact between the island and the mainland. Gallipoli is the most popular tourist destination of the Salento peninsula, both for its natural and monumental beauties. It is surrounded by La Riviera, a panoramic route where it is possible to admire the coast of Gallipoli and St. Andrea Ile on the southwest of the city, a kilometer far from Gallipoli. Its name derives from a chapel (now destroyed) dedicated to St. Andrea, protector of all fishermen. On the island there is still a large lighthouse built in 1866. The Gallipoli coast is among the most fascinating ones in Italy, thanks to low cliffs alternating with wide beaches bordered by the Galilei promenade. Along the seafront, in both directions, you can reach two natural parks: Punta Pizzo in the south and Porto Selvaggio in the north. Among its monumental and artistic beauties, the Angevin Castle and Ravelin, Saint Agatha's Cathedral, the Greek fountain and the underground oil mill must all be visited. From May to August each year, a flow of tourists arrives in Gallipoli, attracted by crystal clear sea, nature, art, cuisine and numerous clubs, discos and night bar spread in the area. Besides tourism, sea fishing is the main business of the city, clearly visible even today. All days a week, in fact, a fish market takes place both for retail and tourists, where everyone can buy not only caught fish but also decorative items such as corals and shells.