Brindisi is a very ancient town and thanks to its strategical geographic position at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, it was known as Porta d’Oriente (Door to the east).
The first human settlements date back to the Paleolithic Age, but the town was built in the 8th century B.C. by the Messapians, and became famous right away for iron and other metals working, as well as for its harbor, which has always been the fulcrum of all its activities.
The harbor of Brindisi, characterized by its peculiar deer horns shape, is one of the safest ones in the Adriatic Sea: its two inlets, Seno di Levante and Seno di Ponente, give secure shelter to ships and boats.
Just entering the harbor, there is the Alfonsino Castle (also known as Red Castle, Sea Castle, Sea Fort), built on a small island at the limit of the harbor, during the Aragonese domination.
In front of the castle, on dry land, at the top of a wonderful large staircase, there are the so called “terminal columns” of the Appian Way, built during the Roman Empire times.
On the left of the columns, there is the Latin poet Virgil’s House: as the story goes, he wrote there a part of his epic poem, “The Aeneid”, and died in Brindisi in 19 B.C.
Actually, Roman Republic and Empire traces can be found almost anywhere in Brindisi.
All the excavations have brought some important archaeological evidences to light and, because of that, the construction project of the new Teatro Verdi (Verdi Theatre), in the center of the town, was considerably modified. The theater was built, in fact, upon some precious Roman remains and mosaics, discovered during the construction, that can now be visited.
Other traces of the Roman Empire can be seen at Palazzo Nervegna (Nervegna Palace), just in front of the theater: during the restoration of the old Corte d’Assise (Court of Assizes Palace).
Some wonderful Roman remains were brought to light, and they can now be appreciated by the visitors, being included inside the building, which is at present a remarkable cultural venue, where very important events and art-exhibitions of national and international artists are organized.
The Temple of San Giovanni al Sepolcro is another monument you should not miss; it’s very near to the theater, even though more inward.
This round shaped church was intended to reproduce the Temple of Jerusalem: here, the Crusaders met before leaving to the Holy Land, and the idiom fare un brindisi (=to make a toast) probably derives from raising glasses together before sailing to Jerusalem.
In this church, you can admire some very interesting frescoes, some symbols carved on the wall, such as the Solomon’s knot, and also the signs left by the swords of the Knights Templars on the columns, while they took their solemn oath.
On the road from the Roman columns to Palazzo Nervegna, you will find the Archaeological Museum, very rich in remains of all the civilizations that followed one another in our land.
Close to the Museum, there’s the Duomo (Cathedral), in a nice square with white paving stones, where many theatrical and musical events take place in the summertime.
The Duomo is not the only interesting church to visit in Brindisi: the Church of San Benedetto, with its marvelous cloister, or the Church of Santa Lucia, as well as the Christ Church, they are all full of history and very suggestive.
The Church of Santa Teresa has been recently restored, and it is going to become a cultural venue.
From the square where this church is, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful view of our harbor: on the left, the Swabian Castle; in front of you, the Casale district, and its so called Villaggio Pescatori (Fishermen Village), so charming in its simplicity.
You will find all this Brindisi sightseeing, and so much more, in the city-center, but if you want to take advantage of our frequent sunny days to take some walks, there are so many nice places to visit in the outskirts of the town.
You can visit for instance Parco Di Giulio (Di Giulio Park), rich in and herbs and plants with their inebriating scent, or Parco del Cillarese (Cillarese Park), or the very ancient Cripte di san Biagio (Grottoes of san Biagio), and, last but not least, the Church of Santa Maria del Casale, very close to the Brindisi-Salento Airport… and many, many more surprising and enchanting places, where tradition, culture and history melt together.
We are waiting for you.