To the east of Gallipoli near the centre of the tip of the peninsula is the town of Casarano.

Casarano - Chiesa Santa Maria della Croce
Chiesa Santa Maria della Croce

The town's Chiesa di Santa Maria della Croce is the primary reason for visiting the town. It is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the world. Scattered amongst the arches and vaulted ceilings are numerous frescoes, many of Byzantine and Gothic origin. It is located in the outskirts of Casarano, in Casaranello, just near the town's train station. Every Saturday evening from July through to September there are free of charge guided tours of the church.

Casarano - Chiesa Madre
Chiesa Madre

The main part of the town itself consists of a not unpleasant new town next to the centro storico which contains quiet pedestrianised streets, squares and churches such as the Chiesa Madre. It is worth a visit but only as part of a wider itinerary exploring the other towns and cities in the surrounding area.