Brindisi is an important city on the Adriatic coast of Southern Italy in the Apulia region and has a current population of just over 88,000. This natural port has played a major historical role in the development of this region of Italy due to its strategic position and active trade with Greece and other nations across the Adriatic Sea. This city has a varied economy that is based on agriculture, chemical processing and electricity generation, plus its commercial port activities.
Historically, legend has it that Brindisi was founded by the epic hero Diomedes but records show that it has seen some form of settlement since ancient Roman and Greek times. Due to its prominent position on the Adriatic coast, throughout its history Brindisi has been ruled by various empires and kingdoms including the Ostrogoths, Lombards and Kings of Sicily. During WW2, the city even served as the temporary capital of Italy and hosted King Victor Emmanuel III. Today Brindisi remains an important place on the eastern coast and its varied economy make it one of the prime cities in the Apulia region.
As a tourist destination, Brindisi benefits from its coastal location and has a fantastic port and harbour waiting to be explored. Furthermore the city has a range of admirable structures such as the beautiful Castello Alfonsino and the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Casale. If architecture is not your thing, you can check out the fantastic beaches such as Lido Azzurro and enjoy some sunbathing and relaxation. Finally, Brindisi is close to several other fantastic locations such as Lecce and Mesagne if you fancy a day trip.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Brindisi:
1. Brindisi Port
Brindisi is a thriving port and the inlet of water that spans from the Adriatic Sea is surrounded by piers, harbours, ports and stations for commercial and public shipping activities.
This whole area is hugely interesting and a great place to simply walk and explore.
The Via del mare for example offers great views across to part of the commercial shipping docks, whilst the Via Ettore Ciciriello allows views of the Naval base and some of the smaller shipping operations.
On the opposite side of the port you can find the Monument to the Italian Soldiers and further north is the fantastic Marina where you can find a host of quaint fishing and sailing boats.
When visiting Brindisi, the port is undoubtedly one of the main attractions.
2. Castello Alfonsino di Brindisi
This historical castle is located on the edge of the Isola Sant’Andrea that sits on the northern edge of the port.
Constructed in the 16th century, the castle served as a defensive fortification and protection for the entrance of the port of Brindisi.
The structure features a myriad of different towers, keeps and walkways and the battlements offer fantastic views of the port and the Adriatic Sea.
Furthermore, in the centre of the castle there is an enclosed port that is quite picturesque ad has a single arch access point.
When exploring the Island of Saint Andrea make sure you visit this castle and admire this important piece of the cities history.
3. Santa Maria del Casale
Brindisi has several important religious structures and the Church of Santa Maria del Casale is one of the most beautiful and renowned.
Constructed in the 13th century, this church has stood for hundreds of years and has recently been restored to maintain its beautiful panelled exterior.
The front façade features a pink and white polychrome design with a series of gorgeous patterns and an overhanging ornate doorway.
Furthermore, the interior has some stunning frescos on the walls including an immense coloured depiction of the Last Judgement, the Annunciation and Madonna with Child.
Only a short distance from the local airport, this church is a fine example of Middle Ages architecture.
4. Pontificia Basilica Cattedrale
Brindisi Cathedral is the main religious structure in the city and has actually been consecrated as a Basilica by Pope Urban II in the 11th century.
Located in the heart of the old town, this cathedral has an unusual exterior and sits in a charming square next to several other historical structures.
The style of the cathedral is Romanesque and the front façade contains an ornate bell tower and a series of opulent stone statues.
Inside this beautiful cathedral the style is regal and the main aisle is supported by a series of white-washed columns topped with stucco plasterwork.
At the main altar there is a gorgeous colourful stained glass window, and there is also a side chapel containing the remains of Saint Theodore.
5. Lido Azzurro
The Azzurro Beach is a fantastic place to visit to escape from the city and enjoy some quality relaxation.
You can reach this charming and quiet beach in less than 20 minutes from the centre of Brindisi along the SS379 route.
Although only small, the beach has a myriad of amienties including the fantastic Guna Beach Club and Arca di Noe beach bar and market.
The beach itself has some gorgeous sand and a host of parasols and sun loungers.
Furthermore the water here is mild and perfect for a swim.
If you are driving your own car, there is plenty of parking so don’t worry about not finding a space.
Whilst visiting Brindisi, consider heading on down to the beach to soak up the fantastic Adriatic climate.
6. Brindisi Archaeological Museum
Located next to the cathedral in the centre of the old town, the Archaeological Museum is a great place to visit whilst walking through Brindisi.
For those who love ancient history and looking into the past, this museum has a host of interesting artefacts, displays and relics.
Whilst most archaeological museums provide finds from digs in the surrounding area, the museum at Brindisi actually contains a myriad of finds that have been excavated from the harbour, port are and surrounding sea.
Included in the museum you can find a range of ornate bronze and stone statues dating back as early as the Roman era, ceramics, coins, glassware, tombs and weaponry.
This museum really does provide a fantastic insight into the city of Brindisi and its regional history.
7. Enjoy a fine Italian dish at La Locanda del Porto
Located only a short distance from the previously mentioned promenade, la Locanda del Porto is a highly regarded restaurant in the heart of Brindisi and is a great place to enjoy a sumptuous evening meal.
The atmosphere of this restaurant is wonderful and the staff are kind, friendly and helpful.
La Locanda serves a range of Italian dishes including some amazing antipasti, various pasta dishes and a fine selection of oven baked pizzas.
Furthermore you can choose from a range of seafood dishes such as lobster and some fresh salads for a lighter choice.
With a great selection of accompanying wine, La Locanda really is a fantastic venue!
8. Sample a coffee at the Café Olympia
Whilst sight-seeing in Brindisi, why not consider stopping at one of the local cafes for a tasty coffee and a break? The Café Olympia is located on Via Cesare Battisti in the southern part of the old town and features a beautiful outdoor seating area.
In terms of food and drink, this café has a wide selection including a fabulous range of gelato in various flavours, a selection of freshly baked pastries and croissants.
The combination of great outdoor location, quality food and drink, and friendly staff make this café a real treat.
9. Monument to Italian Sailors
Located on the opposite side of the harbour to the historic old town, the monument to Italian Sailors is one of the most iconic structures in the city.
Lovingly known as “The Rudder” this immense stone structure does actually resemble a ships rudder and stands proud against the surrounding landscape.
Created in 1933, the statue stands at 53m tall and it is actually possible to climb to the top of it for unrivalled panoramic views of Brindisi.
The surrounding park is also a pleasant place to walk and the views across to the harbour are fantastic.
10. Parco Urbano del Cillarese
Although Brindisi is located on the coast it still has several areas of natural beauty and some fantastic public parks.
The Parco Urbano del Cillarese can be found at the western edge of the port and is a wonderful place to explore and enjoy a pleasant walk in the sun.
This specially designed park is a favourite haunt of the locals and has a playground for children, several small ponds and a myriad of walking and cycling trails.
The park passes under the SS379 route and you can also see the beautiful manmade Lago di Cillarese from here.
With a myriad of trees and greenery, this park really is a welcomed change from the busy ports and bustling city.
11. Piazza Santa Teresa
Brindisi is privy to several gorgeous squares and the Piazza Santa Teresa is one of the most beautiful.
You can find this charming square in the heart of the old town close to the promenade and harbour.
Surrounding the square there is some superb architecture including the Church of Santa Teresa and the Prefettura Di Brindisi.
At the northern edge of the square there is a large opulent statue surrounded by a series of shrubs and flowers – from here you can look out towards the harbour.
This is a pleasant place to enjoy a walk or to simply sit and admire the beautiful coastal scenery.
12. Check out a local market
Brindisi retains much of its local culture and way of life therefore you can find a range of fantastic local markets selling some wonderful fresh produced and goods.
One of the best-known markets can be found on the corner of Via Pace Brindisina and Via Santa Maria Ausiliatrice – this market contains a variety of stalls selling mainly fresh fruit, veg and seafood.
The smells, sights and sounds are simply fantastic and the hustle and bustle of the market will invade your senses.
To see how the locals live and how they trade, be sure to check out a Brindisi market!
13. Take a day trip to Lecce
Lecce is the most renowned city within this region of Italy and can be reached from Brindisi in less than 40 minutes.
A regular train and bus service runs between the two cities if you do not have your own transport.
Lecce is known as the Florence of the east and it contains some absolutely beautiful architecture.
Notable buildings include the Church of San Giovanni Battista, the Church of Santi Niccolo e Cataldo and the ancient Roman Amphitheatre.
Furthermore the Piazza del Duomo contains some sublime buildings and the Castello built by Charles V is close by.
Aside from the buildings, Lecce also has a selection of fantastic restaurants and bars and really is a great place to spend a day.
14. Take a walk along the promenade
The main promenade in Brindisi stretches from the Virgil Monument right across to Via Dorotea on the opposite side of the harbour.
This gorgeous stretch of public walkway is one of the most picturesque in Brindisi and offers sublime views of the commercial ports, the harbour and the Monument to Italian Sailors.
Part of the promenade is called the Lungomare Regina Marghetia and features a wide paved walkway that is lined with a host of small fishing boats.
Furthermore, on the opposite side of the promenade there is a host of important structures such as the Colonne Romane, the Museo della Birra plus a series of fine restaurants.
15. Take a trip to Mesagne
The inland city of Mesagne is just 25 minutes to the south west of Brindisi and is an amazing place to visit for a day trip.
The historic town centre of Mesagne has a plethora of important structures including the Porta Nuova, the Church of Tutti I Santi and the Castello Normanno Svevo di Mesagne.
Furthermore the beautiful Villa Comunale is a grand public park full of trees, sporting facilities and monuments.
You could spend hours exploring the old town centre and walking through the various narrow streets and seeing what hidden treasures you can find.