Gallipoli once had an underground world made up of 35 cellar-mills that produced olive oil; one has been restored and preserves this unusual history. Below the Palazzo Granafei, a vast cellar carved out of the stone holds a once-bustling enterprise of turning olives into oil.

All those olive groves around Salento have been producing for centuries. Starting in the Byzantine period, the oil was utilized not just for cooking but for lamp oil. This cellar, like others in centuries past, pressed and processed the oil for use in lamps. In fact, the oil made here was exported all over Europe and used to illuminate the grand cities, right up until the conversion to gas lamps and electicity.

The 30-minute tour is conducted in various languages and gives an interesting glimpse of the equipment, ambiance and methods used to extract the precious "green gold" from the humble fruit. In fact, this underground chamber -and others like it- were once referred to as "green gold mines".

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Address in Gallipoli:

Via Antonietta de Pace, 87.

Ph. (+39) 083 326 4242.

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