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.