For more than 2,000 years, Brindisi has been a maritime crossroad and its lifeblood has always been the trade between the Italian peninsula and the ports of the Ionian Sea. Today, ferries and cargo vessels bustle between Brindisi and Greece 24 hours a day.
In ancient times this was the terminus of the "Via Appia", one of the Roman Empire’s most important highways, and the city still holds a handful of ancient remnants of Rome’s imperial apogee, along with some more recent memorials (visitors will certainly not miss the splendid Roman Column by the promenade).
Unlike many others Italy's regions, Apulia (the "heel" of the "boot") remains largely under the radar of industrial tourism, which makes Brindisi (and the small towns nearby) a less travelled road, which makes up a part of its undeniable appeal.
The coastline is a striking mixture of ruggedly beautiful cliffs and grottoes interspersed with a scattering of long, sandy beaches. In summer, multiple resorts are in operation, while the winter months see them patiently hibernate in an anticipation of the next summer season.
Works on Brindisi’s impressive Cathedral began in the 11th century and it was rebuilt in the mid-18th century. Parts of the original building, including a twelfth-century mosaic floor, can still be seen. Inside you can see the altars in poly-chrome marble commissioned, the balustrades and the majolica floor.
Swebian Castle of Brindisi
This great castle is the second of the four castles in Brindisi. In the 13th century, Emperor Frederick II commanded the construction of this fortress in which the citizens could take refuge in case of danger and to better defend themselves. Later, in the mid-15th century Ferdinand I of Naples decided to add new town walls in order to defend the castle from deadly shootings. Today it represents one of the leading Navy bases in Italy.
The beautiful, sophisticated courtyard in the heart of the old city of Brindisi invites for a glass of wine (hence the "vineria") or an exquisite cocktail. Susumaniello is located at an elevation, which makes for some incredible views of the nearby old building roofs.
Good to know
Ferrovie del Sud Est provides buses and trains within the region, from Brindisi to Bari and to the southerm city of Santa Maria di Leuca. Bus tickets can be bought at any bus stations.
The regional rail network covers much of the Puglia region, but few trains run to the south of Lecce. Buy train tickets at the station, either from the ticket office or from ticket machines, and validate by stamping them in the machines on the station platform before boarding.
The easiest way to explore the region beyond Brindisi is by car. You must carry a current driving licence with photo ID. It is compulsory to wear both front and back seat belts. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. Parking and navigating in the cramped historic centres of towns such as Ostuni and Lecce is difficult, and it is usually easier to park outside the centre and explore it on foot.
220 volts, two-pin European power sockets.