Brindisi is where the ancient Roman road the Via Appia ends, and fun, history-filled, foodie holidays begin. By the glittering Adriatic in Puglia, on the heel of Italy’s boot, Brindisi holidays reveal traces of its ancient past, and the joy of age-old traditions. Evocative remnants of Brindisi’s ancient glory can still be seen, including the bright-white column marking the end of the Via Appia. Entertainment comes in the form of bewitching tarantella music and dancing, which folklore associates with the bite of the tarantula.
Food lovers will be in heaven on holidays to Brindisi – alongside tasty ham and fat olives, local specialties include ‘caciocavello’ cheese and fava beans. Flavourful ‘orecchiette al cime di rapa’ is a long-standing feature on trattoria menus here, and custard-filled ‘pasticciotti leccesi’ can be picked up at all the best bakeries. Sitting close, also within Brindisi province, is the whitewashed, much-photographed city Ostuni, and glorious Lecce, nicknamed the ‘Florence of the South’ thanks to its glorious Baroque architecture. Both are popular day-trip destinations.
Fasano and Cisternino, are other beautiful towns in the region, home to winding alleys and traditional restaurants – but a little more off the beaten track. For a holiday filled with rustic charm and ancient history, served up with a side of delicious Italian cooking, look no further than Brindisi.
The spectacular temple
Tempio di San Giovanni al Sepolcro is a striking, circular 11th-century temple. Look for richly-decorated reliefs of the Knights Templar, and tiles illustrated with animal designs.
The city’s original cathedral, dating from the 11th century, may have been destroyed by an earthquake, but this 18th-century reproduction still houses original Romanesque mosaics.
The maze-like alleys and whitewashed old town are made to be photographed, and it’s a great place to pick up chic souvenirs, such as gorgeous lacquered ceramics.