The weather forecast was not promising for our third day in Maglie, with rain predicted for the afternoon, so we decided to spend our morning taking a road trip, returning to Maglie later, and weather permitting, continuing to explore the town. So, we hopped into the car, and set off for the seaside town of Gallipoli.We chose to take small, back roads through olive groves, rather than the highway. The city of Gallipoli has a rich and varied history. The Old Town, or Centro Storico, is located on an island which is connected to the newer part of the city (on the mainland), by a bridge. Gallipoli is a fishing town, as well as a very popular summer beach resort area. When the fishermen come in with the day’s catch, people flock to the market to buy the fish, which will then grace the dinner plates in the neighboring restaurants and homes.The gamberi rossi (the red shrimp) of Gallipoli are delicious, and best eaten raw, right after they are pulled from the sea.The ricci del mare, or sea urchin, is also a local delicacy, but, alas, it was not in season at the time of our visit.The Centro Storico is not large. It is possible to walk around the perimeter, in less than an hour. But, be sure to save time to explore the winding, narrow streets inside the town walls. The Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso was built in 1750, by the Dominicans. I loved the majolica picture, on the facade of the church.Built in the 600’s, the Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli is dedicated to fishermen, farmers, and artists. The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi dates from the 13th century.The Church of Santa Maria della Purita is also quite lovely, with its three tiled pictures.The Basilica Cattedrale di Sant’Agata, from the 17th century, is built on the highest point of the island, and is the main church of Gallipoli. It is also one of the most important Baroque monuments in Salento. It is beautiful!A short drive south, along the coastline, will lead you into the Parco Naturale Regionale Isola di Sant’Andrea, and the Torre del Pizzo. By this point, some clouds were beginning to roll in, but we wanted to see the tower, so we parked the car, and set off on foot.We continued to drive south for a little while longer, before heading inland and back towards Maglie.Just as the heavens opened up, and the rain began to come down, we stopped for lunch in the lovely town of Specchia. By the time we were finished eating, the rain had stopped, so we took a quick glance around the town, before getting back into the car. Back in Maglie, the skies had cleared, and I went for a little stroll. The Monument to Aldo Moro, in the piazza in front of the house where he was born, is a lovely tribute to the politician and former Prime Minister of Italy, who was killed by the Red Brigade in 1978.
Next up: Otranto!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from bella Puglia, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!