Brindisi is in the Salento plains and on the Adriatic sea, with a natural harbour jutting into the land and whose deer-like shape determined the name of the town. The town, once the main base of the Messapian civilization, always conflicted with neigbouring Taranto and was conquered by the Romans in 267 b.c. Connected to the capital of the Empire by via Appia and via Traiana, it was an extremely important trading centre and episcopal base as from the start of the apostolic age. Conquered by the Goths and then ruled by Byzantium, the town wasdestroyed by the Lombards in 674 and its Guaceto Tower became a Saracen base. Brindisi then shared the fate of all towns in the Region and was ruled by Byzantines, Normans, Swabians, Angevins and Aragons. Its port was conquered by the Venetian marine Republic and then subjected to the rule of Naples. Its period of greatest glory was at the time of the Unification of Italy, and for five months in the following century, between 1943 and 1944, when Brindisi even played a role as capital of Italy.
Usually considered the end of the Appian way, representing the culmination of an ancient Roman monumental area, (the arx romana) one of the two columns, ruined in 1528 and left unattended for about 100 years, was donated in 1657 by the then Mayor Carlo Stea to the city of Lecce to erect a monument in a sign of devotion to Sant'Oronzo, who had escaped the Salento peninsula during an epidemic of the plague.
They are located on the Piazzetta Colonne, which can be reached by climbing the staircase named after the poet Virgil, which takes its name from the place where the great poet died in 19 BC, from outside you can read an inscription commemorating the event, while inside the arches are preserved. The steps, which up to the early 900s were half their current lengths, were extended in 1933 to allow for the current look.
Piazza Duomo (Cathedral Square)
Some of the most important monuments of Christianity in Brindisi were conceived and developed here, above all the cathedral. It was dedicated to St. John the Baptist (Pope Urbano II consecrated the perimeter in 1089) and was completely rebuilt following the collapse due to the earthquake of 1743. It preserves its medieval layout, but only a few fragments of the ancient mosaic floor have survived and on the top of the
apse right - outer side –there is an inscription, probably attributable to the architect builder of the church.
The Cathedral also houses the sacred remains of the city's patron saint, St. Theodore of Amasea co-patron saint with San Lorenzo of Brindisi, a Capuchin Friar of the 16th century. The Cathedral has also witnessed not only the Crusaders and pilgrims coming to Brindisi on their way to the Holy Land, but also hosted the second marriage of the emperor Frederick II the Swabian. On 9 November 1225 he married his teenage bride Yolande of Brienne. On the right side of the Church are the Episcopal Palace and the former Palazzo del Seminario designed in 1720 by Mauro Manieri, on the second balcony there are eight stone statues representing mathematics, ethics, theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, poetry and rhetoric. Here you can find the Museum Diocesano G. Tarantini, Canon of Brindisi in the 1800s.
Temple of Saint John Sepulchre
The monument bears witness to important cultural and artistic relations between the city of Brindisi and the Holy land because the structure is a faithful replica of the Anastasis Rotunda, which is located within the complex of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Circular in form it contains some pieces of fresco which represent various styles and epochs, some of the scenes and figures are hard to make out.
At the centre of the monument, traces of a Roman domus (house) can be seen through a circular opening on the floor, which extends to beyond the boundary of the monument itself.
Free: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30-20.30 Closed Monday,
For Info 0831 229643/647
This historic 16th century building currently houses offices of the city of Brindisi. It is realized with a late Renaissance façade with some elements that would pre-empt the Baroque style, especially evident with regard to the decorative elements that are developed on the balustrades of the balconies. The first floor is devoted to exhibition halls, where the Municipal Government promotes countless exhibitions of great importance. The complex of the former Court of Assizes preserves the original top mountings of the Roman columns. Important Roman archaeological sites in Brindisi are also found here, where a Roman domus there retains parts of its mosaic flooring. Free admission: Tue-Sun 10.00-20.30 – Monday closed (opening exhibitions 9.30 – 13.00 22.214.171.124) For info 0831 229643-696-647
Aragones Castle, better known as Alfonsino Castle
The castle is located on the islet of S. Andrea, located in the outer harbour and opposite the mouth of the channel Pigonati. With a natural defensive bulwark, the island has been valued and used to create a viable defensive structure when it was still, and until the 15TH century, a monastery dedicated to St. Andrea, from which the island derives its name.
Its construction started in 1445 when Ferdinand I of Aragon commissioned his son Alfonso to construct the castle that currently consists of two fulcrums: the first was constructed by Alfonso and the second was built by Philip II of Austria in 1583. Together they make up the entire area of the Fort. It protects the whole side of the island that otherwise would have been vunerable and at the mercy of the enemy. The Castle has several titles, Castello di Mare (Castle of the sea) to distinguish it from the(Swabian) Castello di Terra (Castle of the Land) Alfonsino or Aragonese castle, which refers to its builders, Or Castello Rosso ( Red Castle) because at sunset the structure has a striking reddish hue owing to the stone with which it was built.
Entry: Monday 9.00-13.00
For info 0832 305081
Sailor's National Monument
The monument was inaugurated on 4 November 1933 in the presence of King Victor Emmanuel III, as well as Achille Starace. He wanted to commemorate the Italian sailors who had been lost at sea during the world wars. Their names are remembered in the shrine at the base, the black marble slabs are engraved with the names of 6850 sailors from both the Navy and Merchant Navy who have died since 1860.
Inside you can see the Bell of the battleship Benedetto Brin which tragically sank in 1915 in the port of Brindisi. On top of the monument are located two anchors and two guns belonging to the Austro-Hungarian ships "Tegetthoff" and "Viribus Unitis", symbols of victories achieved at sea in 1918. Built in the shape of rudder, the monument is 54 meters high and it is accessible in order to reach the top where you can enjoy an impressive view of the harbour and city.
Free admission: from 1 October to 31 March 9.00-13.00 14.00 – 16.30 1 April to 30 September 9.00-13.00-15.00 20.00
For info 0831 642002