There we were in Puglia, on a holiday of sea and sun, when we decided to visit the Old Town of Gallipoli on a whim. We were at the other end of the peninsula for two weeks, and initially we had no plans to go there.
Each day we woke up to a leisurely breakfast of fresh orange juice and crusty bread. Then we would get into the car and just drive without a map. We would head wherever the wind blew and stop instantly wherever we fancied.
We’d booked an apartment by the sea in a charming town called Santa Cesarea Terme. It was the sort of one-road place that had obviously seen better days. All faded grandeur but lovely architecture. Most of the shops were closed and only a handful of restaurants were open, even if it was summer.
Nevertheless, we were happy here. It was quiet and pretty enough, with a wide promenade. Every evening, we sat outside, at a small restaurant that with four tables and only five choices of pizza. A pizza cost five euros and a bottle of wine went for about the same. We certainly enjoyed this.
Where to go for a weekend in Italy
One morning we suddenly felt differently. After ten days of aimless wandering around deserted roads, albeit with beautiful scenery, we craved for more culture and history. So we said to ourselves: “Let’s go and see Gallipoli for the weekend.”
Gallipoli is a beautiful town in the province of Lecce. The Old Town is on an island accessed via a narrow road. It’s just wonderful to get lost in it since you never will truly get lost. Moreover, every neighbourhood is packed with cafes, restaurants and interesting shops. You can also get to the end of every road and find a lovely view of the coast.
At one end, we found a coffee shop perched right on the wall. “Let’s stay here a bit,” I said. So we ordered coffees, sat on bar stools, and enjoyed our drinks along with views of the whitewashed houses of Gallipoli. We had an early setting sun on the horizon and the waves were crashing just below us.
Meanwhile, the Hotel Palazzo del Corso, just off the road to the Old Town, is considered the best hotel in Gallipoli. It’s a classic five-star hotel, although it’s really more of a luxury boutique hotel, very nicely done. This was my “home” during my stay in this city.
Every morning I opened my eyes to the beautiful frescoes on the ceiling. Such loveliness to see as soon as I opened my eyes. I never failed to say “thank you” for a wonderful life.
Then it was off to the rooftop terrace for a very civilized breakfast and an hour or two of work on my laptop while enjoying views of the marina.
Lunch in Gallipoli
At lunch, we headed towards the Old Town to find a quaint restaurant for a long and liquid meal. It’s a crime to have a short lunch in Italy, especially when you’re on holiday. Just as no one should be on a diet in Italy. After all, having a pasta for lunch with a glass of wine is one of the great pleasures in life.
With lazy and lovely days like this, full of wonder and sunshine, you’ll understand why I was reluctant to go home. I could have spent the whole summer there. At the hotel, I even had a seawater jacuzzi on the rooftop. So every afternoon meant a walk and a swim, followed by sunset cocktails and a delicious dinner under the stars.