The Eastern-facing port
Once a bridging point for crusading knights and now a not to be missed stop in any Mediterranean cruises, Brindisi is still a town that makes its living from people passing through, just like you on your MSC cruise ship!
An unforgettable experience could just be to while away your holiday time in a bar or restaurant in Brindisi’s old town. Pretty compact and not particularly brimming with ancient monuments, the old town nevertheless has a pleasant, almost oriental flavour about it, and a few hidden gems tucked down its narrow streets. Via Colonne, with its seventeenth- and eighteenth-century palazzi, runs up to Brindisi’s Duomo – a remarkable building, if only for the fact that it’s survived seven earthquakes since its construction in the eleventh century. Just outside is the Museo Archeologico Provinciale.
In addition to ornaments and statues from the necropolises that lined the Via Appia in Roman times, several rooms accommodate bronzes recovered in underwater exploration in the area, as well as finds from excavations at the archaeological site of Egnazia nearby.
Another of Brindisi’s hidden treasures is the tiny, round church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro, an eleventh-century baptistery. It’s a little dark and decrepit inside, but you can just make out some of the original thirteenth-century frescoes. And there are more frescoes, this time a century older, in the Chiesa di Santa Lucia, just off Piazza del Popolo.
Ostuni, 40 km northwest of Brindisi, is known as “the white city” and is one of southern Italy’s most stunning small towns. Situated on three hills at the southernmost edge of Le Murge, it was an important Greco-Roman city in the first century AD. The old centre spreads across the highest of the hills, a gleaming white splash of sun-bleached streets and cobbled alleyways dominating the plains below.