Gallipoli, Taranto, and a run down the instep

You may have noticed I love the boot shape of Italy!

I’ve crossed over the heel, and am now on the inside edge.

Gallipoli is another pretty old town with a castle, churches and fishing boats!

The old town is on an island, connected to the new town by a bridge. there is fishing port on the left, and a larger commercial port on the right that is mainly used by the coast guard.

Originally the island had a fortified castle and was enclosed by city walls. Normans, Greeks and Romans were all here as it was a strategically significant site in the Ionian Sea.

The bridge was built in 1603. Then at the end of the 19th century, the town walls were removed to form a waterfront ring road constructed on top of the lower wall.

The ring road makes a lovely loop to walk. It’s mainly residential, with B&B’s scattered throughout. Places to eat and drink are plentiful. There are also several churches.

Spiaggia della Purità (Beach of Purity). There are many popular beaches out of town as well.

Castello de Gallipoli

Catherine II, Empress of Russia (1729-1796) talking about how olive oil from Gallipoli was superior for her lamps and chandeliers in St. Petersburg, as well as across Europe.

Illustration of how the ampoules of olive oil were transported in a ship.

Countdown to a spectacular full dome display in the ancient round room scarp.

Underground olive presses in the old town from the 11th century onwards allowed room for the press plus cool storage temperature.

Greek Fountain

Corsa Roma is the Main Street headed to the old town.

I’ve seen these vases all over Puglia, but from what I’ve read, they originate from Caltagirone in Sicily. They are often called Moorish heads.

The seafood is as good as you would expect with fisherman on the doorstep!

Burrata ravioli with zucchini, clams and shrimp

Mixed grill with squid, yellowtail tuna, monkfish and scampi

Linguine with fresh tomato sauce and yellowtail tuna

Monkfish poached in a very savoury broth with onion, tomato and capers. I’ve decided this is my new favourite fish! They call it the ‘poor-man’s lobster’ because of it’s sweet and firm texture.

The monkfish was a special using local capers with salt like I’ve seen at the market.

I’ve been eating at a osteria, more casual than a trattoria or restaurant. It was recommended by my apartment host, and it’s been the best food and experience I’ve had here.

No ‘tourist menu’. Just locals, or at least Italians. And very helpful waiters that I just ask ‘what do you recommend?’ Anyone who knows me knows I suffer from acute menu indecision.

And then the owner, who is a friend of my host, is giving me the ‘special rate’. No matter what I order, it’s €20. The seafood platter itself was €22, then it should be €4 for salad, €2 for water, €2-3 for wine, €2 for cover charge. He just seems happy I like the food.

They take their food seriously here. All shops close between 1:30-5:00 and restaurants are busy.

Breakfast on the rooftop terrace

Then a bus trip to Taranto, my last stop in Gallipoli. Finding this bus was my best detective work! It was another company, rather than the easy to find ones affiliated with the train. It was only two hours instead of four, left at a better time and took me closer to my hotel.

I couldn’t find a ticket but I found where and when it left! It seemed to only carry young fellows going to work on the ships that left from Taranto. The driver didn’t speak English but had one of the fellows check to make sure I was okay with the destination. They were all very sweet!

Taranto is a huge shipping and industrial area. There is an old town on a small island. And yes, it has a castle and a Basilicata 😉

The old town could use some love and lots of money for rejuvenation. I feel like I did in Cuba, sad seeing the buildings crumbling with age.

My hotel next to an abandoned building

Just happy it was a decommissioned church when I saw how close the bells were to my balcony!

There is also a newer town attached by a bridge that has been built since 1900. It has a grid street system, boulevard, parks, larger and taller buildings.

But money for development often comes from tourism, and Taranto isn’t on the usual tourist agenda. I was talking today with a woman from the port authority about their plans to increase cruise ship travel.

There was at a huge fair in the park along with other booths with a marine connection. There are so many different police!

Military Marines

Taranto has a huge archaeological museum, MARTA. Lots of Greek artifacts. But not surprising as it was near neighborhood conquest.

Bronze and gold nutcracker with an internal hinge from the late 4th-early 3rd century. And I thought it was just beautiful!

1st century terracotta urn with top cut away to show the incerary glass urn.

Looking back on the old town with a fish market

And to my plate! Squid, prawns and cuttlefish

And for a change, a shawarma with chicken, lettuce, cabbage, tomato, Chili and yogurt sauce. So good! And spicy! And the first ethnic place I’ve seen besides sushi. But even Italian restaurants have raw fish on their menus.

This morning I’m off on a 6.5 hour train trip that will take me to the toe. I was going to split it up but decided to just get down there. So many new places in Sicily! I’d like to come back and drive this area I am missing because it is too difficult to penetrate otherwise.

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