Stop by this 13th-century religious monument on a walking tour of the atmospheric and architecturally impressive streets of the old town district.
Admire the somber Baroque façade and richly decorated interior of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi). Established in the 13th century, and renovated in the 1600s and 1700s, it is one of Gallipoli’s oldest churches. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is dedicated to its namesake saint, a venerated Italian preacher, friar and the patron saint of Italy.
Take a moment to appreciate the church’s simple Baroque frontage, redesigned by Mauro Manieri in 1736. It is a two-level structure that features a vast arched portal on the ground floor with pilasters on either side. On the upper level are additional pilasters and carved aspects, which give the impression of a balustrade. There are also embossed emblems of the Franciscans.
Step inside to see a layout of three naves flanked by rows of whitewashed arches. Spend some time walking between the multiple altars, each decorated with icons, paintings and statuettes. Look for Giovanni Antonio de’Sacchis’ painting San Francesco d’Assisi con angeli e due donatori (St. Francis of Assisi with angels and two donors). The artist was a student of the Italian painter Titian.
The church sits at the western edge of Gallipoli’s old town. Parking is available on the surrounding streets. It is a good starting point for discovering other major town attractions.
Follow narrow, café-lined streets deep into the heart of the old town. Pause at eye-catching landmarks such as the Cathedral of Saint Agatha and Church of St. Maria of Purity. Browse art and fishing artifacts at the Civic Museum and enjoy sweeping views from the ramparts of Gallipoli Castle. Watch local fishermen at work at Gallipoli Port.
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is open daily and admission is free. It often closes during for a few hours around lunch time and then reopens in the late afternoon.