In Gallipoli all the alleys lead to the Riviera, but all those alleys and lanes weave the city’s web of beauty, its becoming historic through balconies, palaces, icons and oil mills.

  • Seventeenth-century bridge: the entrance to the historic centre is over a bridge designed in 1601, when the Rivellino was detached from the castle, and built between 1603 and 1607. Today little remains of the original design due to necessary modifications in the 1930s in response to new urban traffic needs.
  • Covered Market: In the second half of the 19th century, the covered market was not only a commercial, but also a social and cultural reference point for the urban fabric. The covered market was built in 1892 on the castle moat, where there were two large pylons with bridge arches. Operational until the 1980s, it was restored in 2012 and is a cultural and meeting place for events.
  • Palazzo Balsamo – renovated and extended in the 18th century on the site of an original 16th-century structure, of which a large Catalan-Durburg portal survives. Belonging to the Balsamo barons, its windowed façade develops along the road axis linking the cathedral with the castle, facing the seminary building. The particular visual perspective represents one of the most recognised views of Gallipoli’s historic centre.
  • Palazzo Romito – built by the Neapolitan Romito family around 1760 on the wide open space of Palazzo Venneri, it passed to the Senape-De Pace family in 1800. The palace’s architecture betrays the direct intervention of Lecce architect Emanuela Manieri, already known for his work on the bishop’s palace in Lecce, through the insertion of four half-busts between the semi-arched gables of the doors on the lower floor and at the top of the columns.
  • Frantoi ipogei – Gallipoli’s history is linked to light, that of the sun that warms and illuminates its sea and houses, and that of the light of the oil. Since the 16th century, Gallipoli was considered the main olive oil export market in the Kingdom of Naples. Gallipoli’s oil was particularly sought after by markets in the Kingdom and throughout Europe and was sold at a higher price than others. Today, it is possible to discover the entire process of oil production by visiting two underground oil mills in the historic centre of the town. The first mill has an entrance from Via A. De Pace (Palazzo Granafei), opposite the local museum, and the second in Via Angeli below Palazzo Briganti. They extend underground for about 200 square metres, are fully restored and open to the public, and have reconstructed some Calabrian-style presses (with two screws), while there is an original Genoese-style press (with a single screw) and some presses dating from the 19th century. Other oil mills that can be visited are located in Via Ospedale Vecchio, Via S. Maria and Via Antonio De Pace.
  • Santuario Del Canneto, rebuilt in 1696 on the basis of an old church, is a jewel of Baroque architecture and imitates the stone decorations of the Cathedral Church on the inside. The interior features valuable paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the presbytery once held a stone statue of St Nicholas, now in the Diocesan Museum. There is a remarkable lacunar ceiling from the early 18th century with a central image painted on wood of the Madonna del Canneti from an original canvas preserved in an oval on the apse. The temple is dear to the memory of the people of Gallipoli, who used to hold a fair in the square in front of it in July, on the occasion of the Feast of the Madonna del Canneto.
  • Oratorio di Santa Maria della Purità – The congregation dedicated to Maria della Purità was founded between 1662 and 1665 according to the rules dictated by Monsignor Montoya himself, with members belonging to the class of ‘bastasi’, that is to say, the dockers of the port. These were the years of the single-nave oratory, with a masonry choir loft on the counterpane, and it was later remodelled with the construction of a marble altar and choir loft to the side with an organ. The richly decorated interior, the work of numerous artists, makes this Oratory today the symbol, along with the cathedral, of a Gallipolian-style Baroque that was able to express itself in the broadest and most involving Salento Baroque experience, exalting Lecce stone, wood carvings, pictorial decoration, marble and majolica. On the altar is the beautiful painting of the Madonna della Purità by the Neapolitan Luca Giordano.
  • Courtyard houses – typical of the Salento area in general, in Gallipoli the courtyard houses are a particular unicum, since their construction was adapted to the surface area of the islet and therefore developed in height. The courtyard, in fact, represented the socialising place, the source of air and light that overlooked it. Each courtyard has galleries, doors, balconies, arches and stairs leading to the upper floors, up to the ‘turre’, the terraces, while the ground floors were once used as stalls or workshops. Some courtyards were embellished with a balcony, the ‘mignano’, a slightly protruding balcony enclosed by two parapets, providing an excellent viewpoint to the outside.

Relevant contents