Gallipoli, in the province of Lecce, is located on the west coast of the Salento peninsula. It is divided into two parts: the Borgo, which is the new part of the city, and the Historic Centre built on an island of limestone and connected to the mainland via an arched bridge. Gallipoli was once a Messapian centre called Anxa. It was subsequently occupied by the Romans and immediately became a highly important trading town in the sale of purple dyestuff, which was produced in the region. For a long time Gallipoli remained loyal to its Greek culture by preserving its habits, rites and dialect: the Latin Rite, which had already been established in Salento from medieval times, only replaced the Greek Rite in the XVI century. After the fall of the Roman empire, Gallipoli was sacked by the Barbarians, the Vandals and even the Goths, who were defeated and driven out by the Byzantines. The Byzantines were followed by the Suevians and Angionians, traces of whom are found in the restoration of the old Byzantine castle transformed into a fortress. The castle was further fortified by the Spanish during their occupation. The old part of present day Gallipoli, fortified by walls, towers and embankments, was subjected to numerous sieges. We recall the Venetian siege of 1484 and the French siege of 1528.
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