The Adriatic Sea
The history of Brindisi is linked to the regions located in the east. As well as its sea, Brindisi does not have just one airport, but also a large natural port, one of the most important in Italy. Today, is it used particularly as a point of departure for ferries full of tourists heading towards Greece or the Balkans, but during the Greek, Roman, and Medieval period, it served other purposes.
Gateway of the Empire
The Romans, who took the city, thus ending Greek rule midway through the third century A.C. strived to maximise its potential. Two colums (one of them still stands above the port) were erected to identify Brundisium as the end point of via Appia, a street that had been built to ease the movement of goods and troops between the centre of the Empire and the eastern Mediterranean.
Thanks to the constant coming and going of legions along Appia, and military and merchant ships in its port, Brindisi rapidly grew in size, quickly reaching a population of 100,000 inhabitants.
The fall of the Roman Empire and the Crusades
Brindisi was then taken by the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Lombards, the Saracens and then the Normans, who arrived in 1070. During their rule, Brindisi was the place from which they set sail for the Crusades. In 1228, Emperor Frederick II himself chose Brindisi as the place to set sail for the sixth crusade, during which Jerusalem was reclaimed for the Christian world.
Bombed heavily during the Second World War, the city’s reconstruction was extended over a period of time and, particularly in the last ten years, Brindisi has undergone a significant restyling. The centre is home to wide avenues lined with palm trees, a renovated seafront full of bars and restaurants, a few beautiful Baroque churches (including the Cathedral) and, last but not least, the impressive fortress built by Emperor Frederick II.