Wondering what there is to see in Brindisi? Let’s take a look at the perfect itinerary if you’re planning a trip to this city, which historically has always been considered the gateway to the East.
More than a destination, Brindisi has always been considered as a point of departure. Because it is from its magnificent port that ships bound for Greece set sail. Yet Brindisi has so much to offer, and not only because it is very close to Ostuni, Alberobello and the magnificent beaches of Salento.
Probably, it is precisely in this unusual characteristic that lies Brindisi’s charm, a city a little less flashy than others, and yet one that deserves to be discovered and appreciated. More mysterious than other Apulian cities, little is known about her from a tourist point of view.
This is undoubtedly a good reason to pack up and go on a trip to Brindisi, a real gateway to the East. And if you're wondering what there is to see in Brindisi, you're in the right place, because in the following pages we’ll be laying out the perfect itinerary for you to discover the hidden secrets of this city overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
What to see in Brindisi, the gateway to the East
Brindisi has a rich history, so it is no coincidence that it was here that the Appian Way ended, connecting it directly to Rome. Brindisi, which opens onto a beautiful natural bay where the modern-day seaport is now located, has always been a very important city on a strategic level. A place of choice to promote trade – commercial and otherwise – with Greece and Turkey, Brindisi thus became an outpost of the Aragonese, who wanted to make the city a pillar of the Catholic religion. Let's discover all the places of interest in the city, starting from its port.
The great port of Brindisi, a place of exchange and fishing
It is not usual to start a tourist itinerary from the port, but in Brindisi the choice is by no means accidental. As we have already mentioned, this place for centuries represented the city’s opening to the outside world. Built on a beautiful natural bay in the shape of deer antlers that remotely resemble the Norwegian fjords, the port consists of three different basins. Among these, we will focus especially on the inner basin which, characterized by two deep inlets, embraces the historic center of Brindisi. Because it is very picturesque to walk in this part of the city. Next to the strongly industrial soul of a place that makes its fortune from trade exchanges lives a more intimate soul, that of the old port with its countless small boats and groups of fishermen. We recommend sitting in one of the many bars in the area and simply enjoying the peculiar atmosphere of the place.
We then head out on a discovery of the famous Regina Margherita, which has always been considered the promenade par excellence of the people of Brindisi. Here, in the evening, there are many places open that are sure to satisfy the most diverse tourist needs.
The historical center of Brindisi, a small medieval treasure chest
The historical center of Brindisi is not very well known and there is not much information you can find about it. And yet, those who have been there have been able to appreciate its simple beauty. Our tour of the old town begins with the city’s symbol par excellence, the Roman column that stands imposingly, 18 meters high, at the end of the stairs of Virgil. There were originally two columns, but the second – of which only the pedestal remains – collapsed on itself at the beginning of the 1500s.
Let's venture even further inside the city, whose center is surrounded by the Aragonese walls dating from the mid-15th century. Here, you can wander undisturbed through the narrow streets and alleys of the city, enjoying the glimpses that suddenly open-up before your eyes.
If you have time, we recommend visiting the Cathedral and the Church of San Sepolcro, with its markedly Romanesque structure. This place has the particularity of having been built on the remains of a Domus (note: a home occupied by the upper classes in Roman times) dating back to the period of ancient Rome, which is still visible inside.
Among the other buildings and monuments worthy of note in the historic center of Brindisi is Palazzo Granafei-Nervegna, a few steps from the Duomo. In this case. the Renaissance style is predominant, which blends beautifully with the Baroque architecture of the small balconies. The window frames are engraved with four aphorisms in Latin. In the same square, then, we find the Portico of the Knights Templar, a beautiful loggia that it is thought was once part of an ancient bishop's palace.
The center of Brindisi offers many other pleasant views: enjoy them all, taking time to walk through the small streets of this small medieval corner set on the sea.
Discovering the Archaeological Area of San Pietro degli Schiavoni in Brindisi
If you want to have a taste of what Brindisi looked like in Roman times, you should definitely plan a visit to the city's archaeological site. Surrounded by modern buildings designed to enhance the fascinating beauty of the past, the Archaeological Area of San Pietro degli Schiavoni has externally some remains of the Domus but it is true surprise lies inside it, because it is below the Teatro Verdi that you can admire an ancient Roman district. The archaeological site is accessible from Piazzetta Giustini Durano and, once you are inside, you can have a taste of the town planning and architecture of the past, with several remains dating from a period that goes from the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD: you can see the pavement of a Domus, 60 meters of a road called "hinge", as well as a small spa complex.
The castles of Brindisi: Castello Svevo, Castello Alfonsino and Forte a Mare
Brindisi is also a city of castles, and this only adds to the charm of a place that deserves to be visited. First on our list is the Castello Svevo, called "land castle" by the locals to distinguish it from the Alfonsino Castle, which is located on a small island in front of the port.
Castello Svevo is the oldest in the city and was commissioned during the first half of the 13th century by Frederick II. Located close to the historic center of the city, it forms an integral part of it. Visits are allowed, but only by reservation.
We now turn our gaze to the sea to go and explore the island of Sant'Andrea, located in one of the basins on which the port of Brindisi is built. Here, in fact, we find the Alfonsino Castle, of Arab origin, and Forte a Mare.
The Alfonsino Castle, also known as the "Water Castle", occupies the promontory of the island of Sant'Andrea, mimicking its natural conformation. Very picturesque is the small inner harbor adjacent to the castle.
Adjacent but separated from the castle, instead, we find Forte a Mare, or a set of bastions that enclose the island for defensive purposes. Today the castle can be visited free of charge, simply by requesting to access the military marina.
What to see around Brindisi: Ostuni and Alberobello
Are you planning a trip to Brindisi? After visiting the old town and the rest of this beautiful city, you can dedicate yourself to the discovery of its surroundings. Brindisi, for example, is the perfect city to depart on a trip to Ostuni and Alberobello, famous Apulian tourist resorts.
Also known as the "White City", Ostuni is a true gem on the sea both from the historical and naturalistic point of view. Seeing it from afar you will feel like you are about to enter a dream town, one of those that we probably often heard mentioned in the fairy tales we were told as children. The history of the city is very old, and its historic center is charmingly beautiful. Spend part of the day visiting the city and, if you are here in the summer, do not hesitate and take a dive in the sea! Ostuni, as well as being an architectural jewel, is in fact also one of the most popular beach-side destinations in the whole of Italy.
About an hour's drive from Brindisi, however, we find Alberobello, the city of trulli that, since 1996, has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are in Apulia, a visit to Alberobello is a must. Lose yourself in the narrow streets of the city and admire it from above, from the Belvedere di Santa Lucia, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the historic center.
What to eat in Brindisi
Brindisi also means good food. We are in Apulia, the land where the excellent raw ingredients meet the mastery of chefs of yesteryear. In Brindisi, in particular, the recipes find their balance in dishes where the land meets the sea. And let's start with the latter because, if you are in town, you can't help but start your gourmet banquet with an appetizer made of fresh seafood and pettol, a typical baked product prepared with leavened dough and garnished with chopped onions, olives or capers.
Let's continue with the first courses. Fresh pasta is the star ingredient, which must be seasoned strictly with seafood. Among the most famous dishes, then, we mention mussels and potatoes, which, in the local version, are served without rice. Among the main courses, some of the most typical include the octopus to the piñata and the inevitable mussels ('mpepata or mussels racanate).
Of course, you can't help but taste the lampascioni, a typical local vegetable.
To fly to Brindisi you must have a valid Passport or Identity Card with you.
Located in the heart of Apulia, Brindisi is a city with a mild climate all year round. Winter is never too cold and summer, warm but not very rainy, is more suitable for all those who want to spend their holiday on the beach.
If you want to visit the inner city, instead, the best period is undoubtedly September: the climate at this time of year allows you to reconcile the maritime life with the discovery of the historic city center.
At the beginning of September, moreover, you can sense a certain air of expectation among the locals, because it is when they traditionally celebrate the patronal feast of San Teodoro and San Lorenzo. Between fireworks on the sea, lights, stalls and the procession on horseback, fun and folklore are guaranteed.