A visit to Old Gallipoli, perched above the glittering Ionian Sea on the Salento peninsula will not disappoint. The unpropitious approach, across the dusty plains of southern Puglia and through the slightly sprawling newer suburbs, leads you across a narrow causeway to the island-like Old Town. Climb up the steps and take a circular walk along the ‘riverias’ that surround the town, looking out to sea or down to the sandy beaches backed by the distinctive 'ombrellone' pines and boats in the harbour. For cool respite from the heat descend to the museum of the Frantoio Ipogeo, one of many olive oil presses set in the rock below the streets. The Puglia region is reportedly Italy’s largest producer of olive oil and if you have only ever seen the olive trees of northern Italy or Tuscany you will be bowled over by the magnificence of the Pugliese olive groves. Olive oil from Puglia was shipped all over Europe from Gallipoli as lamp fuel, long before it became the culinary ‘must have’ that we know today. Potter around the quirky Museo Civico with its displays of artefacts and shark bones. And don’t miss the superlative ‘Granite Limone’ from the cafe in the Piazza del Duomo.
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