Puglia - Places to visit - Brindisi
Situated on the Adriatic coast of the Salentino peninsula, the oldest part of the town stands on the promontory jutting into a sheltered bay, while the new town, characterized by its regular layout, has spread inland.
Once a Messapico centre, its importance increased under Roman influence (3rd century BC.), when it was known as Brundisium, and it became the principal Roman seaport for the east, linked to the capital by the Via Appia. After the end of the Western Empire, it was dominated by the Goths, Byzantines, Lombards (duchy of Benevento) and again by the Byzantines, and frequently raided by the Saracens. Robert Guiscard captured it for the Normans in 1071, and from that date it shared the vicissitudes of the Kindgom of Sicily, without diminishing in importance as a port. It became part of Italy in 1860.
The principal monuments are: the church of S. Giovanni al Sepolcro (Romanesque, 12th century), the Castello Svevo (of 13th century origins), the church of S. Lucia or the SS. Trinit (of Romanesque origins, with a 8th-9th century frescoed crypt), the church of S. Benedetto (11th century with later additions) and its fine 16th century cloisters, the Duomo (originally Romanesque, reconstructed in the 18th century, mosaic floors), the Roman columns (1st-2nd century BC.), Palazzo Montenegro (17th century). Two kilometres away stands the church of S. Maria del Casale (Romanesque-Gothic, 13th century), with Byzantine-style frescoes.
The economy of the city is based on the traditional port traffic, especially shipping to Greece and the importation of oil-related products, the raw materials for the large chemical works, the city's principal industrial enterprise and one of the most important in the region. Other developed industries include engineering, textiles, construction materials and the transformation of agricultural products (wine, pasta and oil), allied to the high output of the inland areas.
Events: Sagra del melone (August), Festa di S. Teodoro (August), Processione del Cavallo Parato (procession, Corpus Domini).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Biblioteca Arcivescovile, Provincial Library, Provincial Archeological Museum (ancient Pugliese and Greek cultures).
In the Province: Oria (the Frederick II parade, August), Ostuni (an interesting town), Marina di Ostuni (seaside resort), Torre Canne (spa), Fasano (archeological museum), Mesagne di Egnazia (archeological museum), Ceglie Messapico (rural centre).