Many of you might ask where is Brindisi before looking for things to see and do, such is its hidden status to the average tourist. To get you up to speed Brindisi is located in the Apulia (Puglia) region of Italy or the heel for those that need a bit more direction.
Brindisi reminds me of what Italy might be like once you strip back the tourist curtain and get down to the heart of it all. It’s not overrun by fancy hotels yet still offers plenty of options to stay. There’s an abundance of mouth-watering pizza, pasta and seafood in every restaurant that just oozes Italy. And perhaps best of all (at least to me) is that you can get lost walking the streets for hours just admiring its beauty.
It’s hard not to have a love affair with Europe when you can stumble onto hidden places like this
Who doesn’t love a good Italian meal? In Apulia seafood plays a big role in dining so while they do great pizza and delicious pasta I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of dishes from the sea. Muscles, white fish, prawns and octopus are just some of what you can expect to find on the menu. If that is your thing then a stop at Trattoria Pantagruele might be for you. A great little hidden away gem of a restaurant that’s well-respected in the town.
For the pasta lovers the Apulia region is well-known for its Orecchiette. A type of pasta whose name comes from its shape which resembles that of a small ear once cooked (not creepy I promise). Often served with a simple yet delicious red sauce this was the meal of my trip.
And it wouldn’t be Italy without an abundance of meat, cheese, bruschetta and other delicious antipasto dishes to enjoy.
The See and Do
Brindisi is scattered with sights to explore at your own pace and that means walking and lots of it. The very streets and buildings that fill the town make stopping here worth it but if you need incentive then try one of these.
The imposing Cathedral (Duomo) at Piazza Duomo is a great sight during the day or at night when lit by lights.
The harbour is where you’ll find a range of places to eat and relax while watching the sunset. If you happen to be in town when the sailing regatta to Corfu is on you’ll find it’s even more action packed with yachts lining up at the water’s edge.
While near the harbour you have to take a short trip across to the other side and climb the Sailiors Monument (free to do). It offers stunning 360 degree views of the city and area.
In the center of town you’ll find Piazza Cairoli and its water fountain. Again while its nice to see during the day, it’s at night when the street lights come on that the fountain really shines.
As expected in Italy you are guaranteed great produce and to get your hands on some you need to visit a local market. The market in Brindisi that I visited is located at the corner of Via Pace Brindisina and Via Santa Maria Ausiliatrice. There you’ll find fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood just waiting to be eaten.
Lastly it would be wrong to stop in the mediterranean and not spend some time sitting by the water. A short drive from the center of town lies a raft of beach stops but the favourite of my local guides while in town was Guna Beach. With an onsite bar, lounge chairs and a little slip of beach to splash about on it’s a fine way to spend an afternoon.
Once you’ve had your fill of Brindisi there is also an array of day trips or overnight stop overs to be had.
Spend a night or two at Masseria Il Frantoio. A converted farm-house that now caters to people looking to relax and enjoy the Apulia region. Having spent an afternoon there I can tell you that Luciano and his wife treat you just like family. The food is to die for and like me you may find you’d never want to leave, its a doorway into heaven.
A short train ride south of Brindisi and you’ll arrive in Lecce. Known as the Florence of the south it’s well worth the trip. The town is littered with historic churches and sights including a 2nd century roman amphitheatre still in use today. Oh and if you find yourself in need of a gelato hit I can vouch for Gelateria Natale as being well worth a visit.
To the north of Brindisi you’ll find Ostuni, the white city. Named so because of its white washed walls and buildings throughout. It’s a great stop off if you’ve booked a night at the masseria mentioned above and offers some beautiful views towards the sea. Be sure to make the hike up the hill to the cathedral as well.
While Brindisi isn’t the typical place I’d pick for most travellers as it’s a slower way of life here. However if you are the type to want to get outside of the well-worn travellers route and experience Italy without the crowds then this will be for you. It’s the perfect place for enjoying the history and culture of Europe.
While all views are my own, my stay in Brindisi was hosted by Brindisi Is My Destination.