The ancient town of Gallipoli lies on the E side of the Golfo di Taranto, 55 miles SE of Taranto and 16 miles NW of Santa Maria de Leuca,
the ‘gateway to the Adriatic’, at the extreme tip of the ‘heel’ of the Italian peninsula. The town was one of the original settlements of Magna Graecia and controlled
a considerable area of southern Italy until unfortunately siding with Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, in his campaign against Rome in 280 - 279 BC. Rome’s eventual victory over
Pyrrhus (him of the notorious ‘Pyrrhic victory’) relegated Gallipoli to the status of a Roman colony.
The basic structure of today’s old town, constructed on an island at the end of a long promontory, was defined by the Byzantines in the 13th century and later reinforced under Angevin and Aragonese rule. The island was only linked to the mainland by a bridge during the 16th century. Formerly an important port for the shipment of wine and olive oil, Gallipoli is now largely dependent on tourism and fishing for its prosperity. Visiting yachts have several options for mooring in the town, the Porto Mercantile, Darsena Fontanelle and Porto Gaio on the N side of the peninsula and the Seno del Canneto on the S side.