Kalè polis, meaning beautiful city, is the name ancient Greek mariners bestowed on Gallipoli, with good reason. Situated on a mound, the Old Town with its labyrinth of winding lanes, emerges from the Ionian Sea. It is connected to the mainland and modern Gallipoli via a 17th-century bridge. The area lies on the Salentina Peninsula in the extreme southeast end of Italy, commonly referred to as the heel of the boot. View more
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Embrace the beauty and charm of the 'Jewel of the Adriatic Sea' during this half-day sightseeing excursion to historic Otranto. Bloodied and bruised by an infamous Turkish massacre in 1480, Otranto's story is best told in its amazing cathedral where the bones of 813 martyrs are displayed in a glass case behind the altar.
Depart the pier by coach for the scenic, approximately 75-minute drive to Otranto. Located in one of the most charming places in the South East of Italy and at the easternmost point of Italy's 'boot', Otranto was one of ancient Rome's leading ports for its trade with Asia Minor and Greece. Otranto was also the centre of outstanding events and battles that contributed to its storied past. Under the Byzantines, it was an important toehold of the Eastern Empire in Italy. In 1070, Otranto fell under Norman occupation. Turks subsequently attacked and destroyed it in 1480.
Porta Alfonsina and Cathedral
Upon arrival at the parking area, walk to the town centre and begin your guided stroll through Porta Alfonsina. Your first stop is at the Cathedral, which rises at top of the small town and was built to be one of the most outstanding churches in Apulia. Its crypt was erected in 1088, and the church was completed about a century later. Inside the Cathedral, marvel at the magnificent floor mosaic. One of the biggest in Europe, it was made by Priest Pantaleone between 1163 and 1165. During your Cathedral visit, a stop is made in the Chapel of 'Beati Martir', which houses the mortal remains of over 800 martyrs murdered in 1480, as well as in the crypt.
Next, proceed for an exterior visit to the Aragonese Castle, the old fortress of Otranto, then stroll along the bastions for wonderful panoramic views from the terrace overlooking the sea.
Your tour concludes with some free time to explore the Old Town at your leisure before walking back to the parking area and commencing the approximately 75-minute drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking for approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres), at times over flat, sloping and uneven surfaces, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and some steps at the sites visited. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. Proper attire is required to enter the cathedrals and/or sacred sites; shorts and bare shoulders are not permitted. Headsets will be provided. Restroom facilities are located in cafés and restaurants; the purchase of a little snack is recommended in order to use facilities. The tour sequence may vary.
Discover the Old World landmarks, architecture and history of the 'Pearl of the Ionian Sea' during this picturesque walking tour of Gallipoli. When visiting Gallipoli travelers usually focus on three main words: pearl, rainbow and gold. Discover a labyrinthine weave of narrow streets that all eventually lead to the broader sea-front promenade with its wonderful views.
Gallipoli Walking Tour
Your guided tour begins at the port, where you may catch sight of local fishermen repairing their nets in a very picturesque setting. Fishing was, and still is, as important as olive oil for the local economy, and Gallipoli's marketplace has always been one of the most characteristic sites to visit. Your tour guide will tell you about the interesting history of the medieval town, of its Castle as well as of its Renaissance-style Fountain.
The word pearl refers to Gallipoli's old town position, located on a very little island dividing the deep Ionian Gulf into two branches, each connected respectively to the main Ionian Magna Grecia city northwards, Taranto, and to the southernmost Apulian town, Leuca.
Enjoy a walk through the labyrinthine island and visit the stunning Cathedral completely covered with wonderful Baroque paintings, as if displayed in a gallery.
The word rainbow refers to the dwellings painted in Mediterranean colours, lively and warm, arranged as to decorate its spider's web-like medieval town dominated by this huge Baroque Cathedral.
Underground Olive Oil Factory
The word gold is a symbol of wealth and is related to the large amount of olive oil produced in the city between the 17th and 19th centuries, and used to give light to the street lamps of the main European cities. Gallipoli's "liquid gold" export was so large that olive oil was stocked in the list exchange, and the ancient island was transformed into an "industrial" area where many underground factories and cisterns were carved out of the local limestone called carparo.
Have the opportunity to learn about the olive oil production techniques used in the past, visiting one of the 35 underground oil factories recently restored. Discover how difficult life was for people working there, living with animals and leaving the factory only at the end of the process, sometimes between 6 and 9 months in total.
Some free time will allow you to stroll around the old town and enjoy local life, before returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking for approximately two miles (about 3.2 kilometres), at times over uneven and sloping surfaces that may be slippery when wet, with five steps to negotiate at the Cathedral, 15 steps at the olive oil factory and approximately 30 steps whilst returning to the pier. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes, a hat and sun protection are recommended. Proper attire is required to enter the cathedrals and/or sacred sites; shorts and bare shoulders are not permitted. Restroom facilities are located in cafés and restaurants; the purchase of a little snack is recommended in order to use facilities. On Sundays, church holidays and during weddings, groups are not allowed inside churches during services. Guests may have the chance to visit churches independently, quietly and reverently. Guides are not allowed to enter and talk during services. The tour sequence may vary.
Explore the splendid landmarks and Baroque architecture of the 'Florence of the South' during this half-day sightseeing excursion to historic Lecce. You can still see ruins of a Roman theatre and amphitheater, but the period which led to town's current fame was the 17th century. A period of prosperity led to grand developments and the wholesale construction of palaces and churches. These buildings adapted the fashionable Baroque style to the soft local stone, with decorations and cherubs extravagantly covering facades and doorways, this local style is known as barocco Leccese ('Lecce Baroque').
Lecce Walking Tour
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately one-hour drive through the beautiful Apulian countryside to Lecce. Situated south of Brindisi on the southeastern tip of Italy's 'boot', Lecce is home to sandstone buildings adorned with grand Baroque architecture and lavishly decorated facades featuring fanciful cherubs, monsters, flowers, fruit, beauties, and beasts. The local sandstone, tinged with a warm yellow nuance, is so easy to work that it encouraged the rise of a local style (Lecce Baroque) as ornate and intricate as any the world has seen. More than architects, it was the local stone masons who left their mark on this city.
Lecce Cathedral and Palaces
Your visit to Lecce begins at Porta Napoli, one of the oldest gateways to the town. A guided walking tour takes you through narrow streets filled with exquisite palaces en route to Piazza Duomo where the magnificent Cathedral as well as the Archbishop's Palace is located. The Cathedral was built between 1659 and 1670 by Giuseppe Zimbalo on a pre-existing Romanesque church. The main façade, facing both Archbishop's and Seminary's Palaces, is not so decorated, while the side façade facing the square is an explosion of Baroque architecture with Lecce's patron saint, Saint Oronzo, in a triumphal arch.
Sant'Oronzo's Square and Basilica of Santa Croce
Located in the heart of Lecce, Sant'Oronzo's Square is the site of the most important local Roman remains; a 20,000-seat amphitheater dating from the 2nd century A.D., and a column that originally stood in Brindisi to mark the end of the Appian Way. A stroll through the little alleys of Sant'Oronzo's Square leads you to Lecce's most famous landmark, the magnificent Basilica of Santa Croce. During a visit here, marvel at the variety of statues and ornaments that will capture your eyes and curiosity inviting you to discover the smallest of details.
Your tour concludes with some free time to explore at leisure the narrow and beautiful streets of Lecce's town centre before rejoining the coach and commencing the approximately one-hour drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves an moderate amount of walking for approximately 1.5 miles on flat and uneven cobblestone surfaces that can be slippery when wet, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach, 10 steps at the Cathedral and 10 steps at the Basilica of Santa Croce. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. Proper attire is required to enter the cathedrals and/or sacred sites; shorts and bare shoulders are not permitted. Restroom facilities are located in cafés and restaurants; the purchase of a little snack is recommended in order to use facilities. The tour sequence may vary.