This 13 th-century fortress on a high hill commanding 360 degree views is interesting in that it has eight towers on its eight sides. The interior courtyard is an octagon and one highlight for me was the mathematical opening to the sky.
Castle Del Monte has an interesting mix of styles with the yellow limestone in the main building and red coral limestone around the doorways and columns.
Large fireplaces, interesting windows that give great views over the countryside, and richly decorated columns give some hints to its former glory.
A macabre sculpture exhibition of skulls, skeletons and body parts added to the interest of our visit.
The old and new Gallipoli are thriving. Local shoppers flocked into the boutiques and cafes in the shopping district and when we crossed the stone bridge to the island the old town is built on, we joined the throng of tourists there. All this late on a Sunday night.
Traffic runs anti-clockwise around the island on the only traffic road. We took the other direction on the top of the sea wall.
Like veins in a bloodshot eye, lanes head to the centre of the town, the cathedral, from all directions on this ring road.
It is impossible to get lost for if you wander up a side street to look at an interesting balcony, or spy a bright light in a church doorway, a five minute walk brings you to the sea again, and you can continue on the circuit.
Leaving Gallipoli, we continued on a slow drive down the coast to the southern most point on this peninsula, then north to Otranto.
There are so many places to swim and relax on this coast, be it on a sandy beach, a rock, a square metre of sand or a few pebbles, though I was not sure if these were bathing or were survivors washed up on the rocks from an afternoon shipwreck.
Otranto has a wonderful church because of its 1000 year old mosaic floor. Sadly, the pews covered most of it, but it is a church and parishioners need some place to rest during long sermons.
I took some photos but this website has some beauties if you too are interested in this form of art.
Lecce was our next stop and as usual we wandered the streets.
Near the cathedral we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch ordered blindly from the menu. When I pointed to the large lunch a large man was eating at a neighbouring table, my finger translation was lost on the waitress. Instead of the one plate my finger ordered, we ended up with three, a large sandwich, an enormous plate of antipasto of local treats and another plate featuring a mound of buffalo mozzarella the size of a large orange, ringed with two or three sliced tomatoes.
The group at the adjacent table laughed when they saw it arrive. Or did they laugh at our shocked expressions and open mouths barlely wide enough to receive this offering?
It was good and we were determined to do the fine tastes justice. We also enjoyed the three olives each we had for dinner that night.
It is hot in this part of Italy, so in the afternoon we took the short drive to Torre Sant’Andrea, a minature version of the Twelve Apostles, with standing rocks in the coast and arches to swim to and through.
Like the others enjoying the coast, we stopped to watch the young teenagers jump from the cliffs.
I spoke to one lad advising him when we parted, to be careful. I later sent him the photos I took, and received this reply.
It was a pelasure ti meet you to
Thanks for the phot i willl try to jeep myself away from rocks
He’s a clever boy. He knows more English than I do Italian and he knows what car I drive.