Gallipoli is a very interesting town on the Ionian sea in the Salento peninsula of Puglia. The evocative old town is a limestone island linked by an old bridge to the mainland of Italy (and the less appealing industrial section of Gallipoli). The Greeks called it Kallipolis, "beautiful city" and it is. Its maze of streets zigs and zags between numerous churches and hidden alleys like Corte Gallo (see the location on the map) have become like ethnographic museums with all the decorations placed there by nearby residents.
This is my favorite place to eat seafood in Italy, and has a thriving fish market just as you come into the old town, marked on the map. If you like to cook fish, rent an apartment here and pig out.
The map below shows Gallipoli, located on the west coast of the "heel" of Italy's "boot." Once a fishing village, it still derives some income from fishing, but has become a prime tourist destination in Puglia, for folks that want a more laid-back vacation experience than they can find in Tuscany.
It's probably best not to go in August, when Puglia gets noisily involved with folks letting loose, unless you like that sort of thing--and the heat. Off season is best for the rest of us, spring in Puglia can be amazingly colorful. The average high temperature in May is 67 degrees F, the low 55 degrees. See the historic temperature and precipitation charts below to find your ideal vacation conditions.
Click the markers to see more about the location.
Puglia in general is an antipasto region. Along the coast, ask for the fish starter and plates and plates of seafood will flow to your table. Sometimes an order can be a whole meal, especially in summer time, when appetites wane. In seaside towns like Gallipoli, the gem among the antipasti are the red prawns you see in the picture above, served raw with a squeeze of lemon if you wish, these are fantastic representations of the freshness of the seafood along the coast here.
And talk about iconic! The Mediterranean red prawn, Aristeus antennatus, becomes "Gambero rosso chiaro" in Italian, which is not only a color you can spray on your Italian car but a gourmet magazine (which actually got its name from a tavern in Pinocchio, according to Wikipedia).
Palazzo Flora is in a great location in the old town and gets great reviews for the views and for the size of the rooms. All rooms are air conditioned and free wi-fi is available.
Residence Massilor is a highly rated vacation apartment complex with elevator and bar for guests.
Gallipoli is a great place to rent a home or apartment; HomeAway lists over 100 Vacation Rentals in Gallipoli.
View the charts below to choose when is the best time to go on your Gallipoli vacation.