The city of Brindisi was the provisional government seat of the Kingdom of Italy from September 1943 to February 1944.
Brindisi is situated on a natural harbour, that penetrates deeply into the Adriatic coast of Apulia. Within the arms of the outer harbour islands are Pedagne, a tiny archipelago, currently not open and in use for military purposes (United Nations Group Schools used during the intervention in Bosnia). The entire municipality is part of the Brindisi Plain, characterised by high agricultural uses of its land. It is located in the northeastern part of the Salento plains, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the Itria Valley, and the low Murge. Not far from the city is the Natural Marine Reserve of the World Wide Fund for Nature of Torre Guaceto. The Ionian Sea is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) away.
The territory of Brindisi is characterised by a wide flat area from which emerge sub deposits of limestone and sand of marine origin, which in turn have a deeper level clay of the Pleistocene era, and an even later Mesozoic carbonate composed of limestone and soils. The development of agriculture, has caused an increase in the use of water resources resulting in an increase of indiscriminate use.
Brindisi enjoys a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa).
There are several traditions concerning its founders; one of them claims that it was founded by the legendary hero Diomedes. The geographer Strabo says that it was colonized from Knossos in Crete.
Brindisi was an Ancient Greek settlement predating the Roman expansion. The Latin name Brundisium comes from the Greek Brentesion (Βρεντήσιον) meaning "deer's head", which refers to the shape of the natural harbor. In 267 BC (245 BC, according to other sources) it was conquered by the Romans. In the promontory of the Punta lands, which is located in the outer harbor have been identified as a Bronze Age village (16th century BC) where a group of huts, protected by an embankment of stones, yielded fragments of Mycenaean pottery. Herodotus spoke of the Mycenaean origin for these populations. The necropolis of Tor Pisana (south of the old town of Brindisi) returned Corinthian jars in the first half of the 7th century BC. The Brindisi Messapia certainly entertained strong business relationships with the opposite side of the Adriatic and the Greek populations of the Aegean Sea.
After the Punic Wars it became a major center of Roman naval power and maritime trade. In the Social War it received Roman citizenship, and was made a free port by Sulla. It suffered, however, from a siege conducted by Caesar in 49 BC (Bell. Civ. i.) and was again attacked in 42 and 40 BC.
The poet Pacuvius was born here about 220 BC, and here the famous poet Virgil died in 19 BC. Under the Romans, Brundisium – a large city in its day with some 100,000 inhabitants – was an active port, the chief point of embarkation for Greece and the East, via Dyrrachium or Corcyra. It was connected with Rome by the Via Appia and the Via Traiana. The termination of the Via Appia, at the water's edge, was formerly flanked by two fine pillars. Only one remains, the second having been misappropriated and removed to the neighbouring town of Lecce.
Later Brindisi was conquered by Ostrogoths, and reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century AD. In 674 it was destroyed by the Lombards led by Romuald I of Benevento, but such a fine natural harbor meant that the city was soon rebuilt. In the 9th century, a Saracen settlement existed in the neighborhood of the city, which had been stormed in 836 by pirates.
In 1070, it was conquered by the Normans and became part of the Principality of Taranto and the Duchy of Apulia, and was the first rule of the Counts of Conversano and then, after the baronial revolt of 1132, city-owned by the will of Roger II of Sicily, the city recovered some of the splendor of the past during the period of the Crusades, when it regained the Episcopal See, saw the construction of the new cathedral and a castle with an important new arsenal, became a privileged port for the Holy Land. It was in the cathedral of Brindisi that the wedding of Norman Prince Roger III of Sicily took place, son of King Tancred of Sicily. Emperor Frederick II, the heir to the crown of Jerusalem and Isabella of Brienne ( 9 November 1225 ) started from the port of Brindisi in 1227 for the Sixth Crusade Like other Pugliese ports, Brindisi for a short while was ruled by Venice, but was soon reconquered by Spain.
A plague and an earthquake struck the city, in 1348 and 1456.
Brindisi fell to Austrian rule in 1707–1734, and afterwards to the Bourbons.
Between September 1943 and February 1944 the city functioned as the temporary government seat of Italy, and hosted King Victor Emmanuel III, Pietro Badoglio and a part of the Italian armed forces command in September 1943 after the armistice with Italy.
In the 21st century, Brindisi serves as the home base of the San Marco Regiment, a marine brigade originally known as the La Marina Regiment. It was renamed San Marco after its noted defense of Venice at the start of World War I.
On 19 May 2012, a bomb, made of three gas cylinders, detonated in front of a vocational school in Brindisi, killing a 16-year-old female student.
The name comes through the Latin Brundisium through the Greek Brentesion and Messapi Brention meaning “head of deer”. The city's name appears, therefore, to refer to the shape of the port which recalls the shape of the head of the animal.
The emblem of the city of Brindisi, relates to certain unique characteristics of the ancient city of Brindisi, some of them still visible today. The head of deer derives from the Messapic name of the city Brention, name inspired by the shape of the port city, which is reminiscent, of the antlers of a stag that is still clearly visible in satellite photos, which show the two racks, to the east and west, in which the port is divided. The emblem also contains the so-called "terminal columns" of the Appian Way.
Within the territory of the town of Brindisi environmental protected areas are located, some newly established:
Brindisi has been the subject of extensive emigration during the 20th century, as well as all cities in the South. Emigration focused mainly on the lower strata of society who abandoned the countryside. Emigration can be traced in two great waves. The first, which was at its peak in the years immediately before and after the First World War, was almost exclusively to the Americas (and mostly to the United States, Argentina, and Brazil). The second wave of migrants from Apulia headed instead for Northern Europe after the Second World War. Attracted by the industrial development of some northern areas of the country, many Apulian migrants also settled in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of northern Italy, and particularly in Milan. Since the 1960s, when the large petrochemical companies were joined by mechanical, naval, and aviation corporations, Brindisi was able to create employment opportunities for technicians and workers. The city experienced a small regional immigration, attracting families from neighboring provinces and regions. Another important chapter in the demography of the town was definitely the exodus of people from Albania in 1990–1991, which actually lasted almost a decade and led to the port of Brindisi receiving waves of Albanian immigrants.
The largest non-Italian ethnic community is Albanian. The number of those who decided to stay in the city, however, is negligible in light of the number of immigrants who migrated. Brindisi remains the first step towards western Europe for displaced people from the Balkans.
The large number of Americans is largely due to a U.S. Air Force station, between Brindisi and San Vito dei Normanni that operated throughout the second half of the 20th century. Although the base is no longer operational, many soldiers have decided to stay.
The British presence is the result of a recent phenomenon of families from Northern Europe, especially English and Irish, settling in the region. Many such settlers are pensioners, buying villas in the Brindisi countryside. This phenomenon is relatively recent in Apulia, known as "Salentoshire", a playful neologism along the lines of "Chiantishire" on the consolidation of British tourism in Tuscany.
The Brindisi dialect is a variant of Salentino and, although there are minor differences between the various municipalities, the root remains unchanged. It is spoken not only in Brindisi, but in some towns of the province of Taranto. The Brindisi also affects some dialects north of Lecce in the south
Brindisi, along with Ostuni, is home of the Archdiocese of Brindisi-Ostuni (Archidioecesis Brundusina-Ostunensis in Latin), home of the Roman Catholic Church suffragan of Archdiocese of Lecce and part of the ecclesiastical region of Apulia. The diocese was erected in the 4th century, its first bishop was St. Leucio of Alexandria. In the 10th century following the destruction of the city by the Saracens, the bishops established their residence in Oria. It was in this century that established the Diocese of Ostuni, first joined the Diocese of Conversano-Monopoli and likely heir to the ancient diocese of Egnatia. On 30 September 1986, by decree of the Congregation for Bishops, the Archdiocese of Brindisi and Ostuni diocese were united in the Archdiocese of Brindisi-Ostuni plena. The new diocese was recognized civilly 20 October 1986, by decree of the Ministry of Interior. It has a living presence of the ancient Orthodox Church with the parish of St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Rite. The rite of the Greek presence in Brindisi has long been established since the rule of the Byzantine Empire with a strong spread of the Basilian monks. The Jews were a small but industrious community from 53 AD until the second half of the 16th century. The new Albanian migration has led to the recurrence of some Islamic religious presence.
Significant in Brindisi is the cult of Tarantismo that combines pagan and Christian tradition. In the past it was believed that women who showed forms of hysteria were infected by the bite of a Lycosa tarantula. The only known remedy was to dance continuously for days, so that the poison did not cause greater effect. Through music and dance was created a real exorcism in musical character. Each time a tarantato exhibited symptoms associated with Taranto, the tambourine, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and accordion players went in the house of the tarantato and began to do to play the pinch music with frenetic rhythms. The Brindisi pinch, as opposed to Lecce, is devoid of Christian references and a therapeutic repertoire and musical detail.
The Provincial Library is a public library located in Commenda avenue. It has over 100,000 books and an extensive newspaper archive and participates in the National Library Service. Inside a modern auditorium, a media office and the secretariats of the university offices of Bari and Lecce operate. The Archbishop Annibale De Leo Library is a prestigious public library housed in the Seminary of Brindisi, in Piazza Duomo. Founded in 1798 by archbishop of Brindisi Annibale De Leo, with an endowment of about 6,000 volumes, today it has over 20,000 volumes, 17 incunable, over 200 16th-century manuscripts. These include some rare works, and various manuscript collections.
The University of Salento Brindisi has social sciences, politics and geography faculty with courses in Sociology, Social Services and Political Science. The University of Bari has courses in Business Administration, Management and Consulting, Economics, Maritime and Logistics, Information Technology, Design, Nursing and Physiotherapy.
The "F. Ribezzo"Provincial Archaeological Museum is located in Piazza Duomo and has many large rooms, providing visitors with six sections: epigraphy, sculpture, the antiquarium, prehistoric, coins, medieval, modern and bronzes of Punta del Serrone. The Giovanni Tarantini Diocesan Museum is newly established and is housed in the Palazzo del Seminario. It has a collection of paintings, statues, ornaments and vestments from the churches of the diocese. Particularly important is the silver embossed Ark that has the remains of St Theodore of Amasea and a 7th-century pitcher, in which one can recognize the wedding at Cana. The Ethnic Salento Agrilandia Museum of Civilization offers tourists the chance to see many statues in wood and stone. It also features agriculture and interesting tools with the rural culture.
Music and theater in Brindisi have never featured significantly in the cultural life of the city. Having never hosted theatrical and musical training institutes, the city supports amateur companies. Over the past decade the city has developed and consolidated non-amateur theater companies, some dealing with theater for research and actor training. These companies have developed several socio-cultural projects for the promotion of the theater for people with disabilities. The same group of companies has produced six shows.
The most important musician from Brindisi is Stefano Miceli, an Italian classical pianist and conductor, globally known for his concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Berlin Philharmonie, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing and at the Great Hall in Melbourne. Also a Steinway Artist, he was given a silver medal by the President of Italy Napolitano and has been a visiting and distinguished professor at Boston University, Tanglewood Institute, the University of New Mexico and at many other academical music schools around the world.
Radio station, CiccioRiccioBrindisi, is heard throughout Apulia, Basilicata, parts of Molise, Campania and Calabria. Radio Dara that started in a workshop, founded in 1980, now broadcasts across the province.
As for the press, the La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno publishes the Brindisi Journal. The Nuovo Quotidiano di Puglia, Salento's newspaper, also covers Brindisi. Senzacolonne, which was founded in 2004, is the only one with a central editorial office in Brindisi. "The Nautilus" national scientific magazine based in Brindisi, reports on the sea, ports, transport and recreational boating. Other newspapers that have their headquarters in the city are BrindisiSera and "Brindisi News".
Brindisi is home to the television stations Teleradio Agricoltura Informazione and Puglia TV, which began broadcasts in January 1988 in Brindisi.
Brindisi's cuisine is a simple with ingredients used, starting with flour or unrefined barley, which is less expensive than wheat. Vegetables, snails, and bluefish figure prominently into its cuisine. Among the recipes are worth mentioning in particular "Pettole"(fried yeast dough, sweet or savory to taste stuffed maybe with cod or anchovy, with cauliflower or broccoli), "Patani tajedda rice and mussels" (rice, potatoes and mussels), soup, fish, mashed potatoes with fava beans, broad beans and mussels, and "Racana mussels".
Almond milk: made by infusing water with the finely chopped almonds and then squeezing the same to expel the "milk". The region of Apulia has entered the milk of almonds in its list of traditional Italian food products. Limoncello: a liquor made from the peel of fresh lemons and enriched with water, sugar and alcohol.
Brindisi cheeses are mostly from sheep, due to the significant ranching of sheep and goats. In the summer they produce ricotta, which can be eaten fresh or matured for a few months so that it has a stronger flavor. Typical of the winter season are the Pecorino, ricotta and strong ricotta (or cottage cheese). It is used to flavor spaghetti sauce or spread on bruschetta. Fresh popular cheeses are burrata, the junket, the Manteca, mozzarella or Fior di latte.
Vegetables are the true protagonist of the traditional diet of Salento. Depending on season, are the tops of turnips, various types of cabbage, the beet greens from the thistle, peppers, eggplant and zucchini (all served sun-dried or in olive oil), and artichokes. There are also wild vegetables used in traditional cooking such as chicory, dandelion (or zangune), wild asparagus, the Wild mustard, the thistle, the lampascioni also called pampasciuni or pampasciuli, and capers. Frequent, in the Brindisi kitchen, is the use of green or white tomatoes: mainly used for tomato sauce but they are also consumed in olive oil, after a process of natural drying. Significant is also the consumption of green and black olives, crushed or in brine. Finally, legumes such as beans, peas and Vicia faba, eaten fresh or dried in the spring and during the winter season. Among the dishes prepared with fruit are quince, baked figs and dried figs (prepared with a filling of almonds), jam with orange and lemon, and fig jam.
Pasta and bread is made with unrefined flour, and thus takes on a dark colour. Durum wheat is mixed with traditional meal. Special local dishes include lasagna with vegetables, cavatelli, orecchiette (stacchioddi in Brindisi dialect) and ravioli stuffed with ricotta.
In breadmaking, local custom favours the use of durum wheat, bread flour and barley bread. For bread made with yeast (called criscituni) and cooked on an oven stone, Brindisi bakers use bundles of olive branches to give the bread a particular scent. One type of traditional bread is made with olives (called puccia). It is made with a much more refined wheat flour than for ordinary bread, to which are added black olives.
Also important are frisella, a sort of dehydrated hard bread which can be stored for a long time, and tarallini, also easily stored for long periods. The pucce and uliate cakes are also typical. Among local desserts the central place is occupied by almond paste, obtained by grinding shelled almonds and sugar. Another specialty is cartellate, a pastry, particularly prepared around Christmas, made of a thin strip of a dough made of flour, olive oil, and white wine that is wrapped upon itself, intentionally leaving cavities and openings, to form a sort of "rose" shape; the dough is then deep-fried, dried, and soaked in either lukewarm vincotto or honey.
In the area of Brindisi are produced Aleatico di Puglia Doc, Ostuni Doc, Brindisi Rosso DOC, Rosato Brindisi DOC and Puglia IGT. Some grape varieties grown in Brindisi include:
The Brindisi DOC produces both red and rose wines from grapes limited to a harvest yield of 15 tonnes/ha and must produce a wine with a minimum 12% alcohol level. The wines are usually blends made predominantly from Negaroamaro and Malvasia Nera but Sangiovese is allowed to compose up to 10% of the blend with Montepulciano allowed to compose up to another 20% (or 30% if Sangiovese is not included). If it is to be a Reserva, the wine is aged a minimum of 2 years before release and must attain a minimum alcohol level of 12.5%.
From an urban point of view  , the city's earliest signs of human settlement are on the promontory of Punta Terre, a coastal area outside the port. As a Roman colony ( 244 BC ), the city experienced a major urban expansion that ensued economic and social development. According to Pliny the Elder, Brindisi was one of the most important Italian cities.
During the Middle Ages, Brindisi suffered a sharp decline, after it was devastated by the Goths in the 6th century; Procopius describes it as a small city without defensive walls. The town shrank to a smaller area, probably around the San Leucio temple, outside the old town. The port was abandoned for several centuries. The rebirth came with the Byzantine domination (11th century ) and especially with the Normans and the Swabians (12th and 13th century), when it became a prime port for the Crusades. The city was divided into three districts or "pittachi": Santo Stefano (in the vicinity of the columns), Eufemia (in Santa Teresa) and San Toma (in the area of Saint Lucia). Under the Aragonese and the Spanish kings, the main efforts were directed mainly around the ramparts (walls, castle and sea fort to provide relief from mostly the Greeks, Albanians and Slavs.
Only through the reopening of the Pigott channel (1775), the city experienced a new impetus and reopened traffic with the East mainly due to the establishment of the Suez Canal at the end of the 19th century.
Demographic development in the 20th century led to the modern city overlying the ancient one, at the cost of the demolition of the neighbourhoods around San Pietro degli Schiavoni, Teatro Verdi, and the Clock Tower. Today urban planning demands that settlements of significant architectural impact are built outside the city centre. The city has now expanded beyond the walls of the historic centre to form the new suburbs of Commando, Capuchins, Sant'Angelo (1950–1970 ) and St. Clare, St. Elias, and Bozzano (1980–2000).
The development of industry led to radical changes in the Brindisi economy and consequent development along the coast. Taking advantage of the location of the port, Brindisi is also a major seaport for Greece and Turkey.
Brindisi agriculture includes horticulture, viticulture, fruit and olives. The area that marked the territory for centuries is based on the culture of almonds, olives, tobacco, artichokes, and grain. Livestock consists of cattle, goats and sheep.
Industry in Brindisi is mainly identified with the chemical and aerospace industry.
The chemical industry, in its various forms (food processing, energy, and pharmaceutical) is highly developed in the territory of Brindisi. The Federchimica association recognizes Brindisi as an industrial chemical center.
The various establishments of ENI, located as Polimeri Europa, Snam and EniPower are placed in the petrochemical complex of Brindisi, on the outskirts of the city, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Brindisi is a leader in the production of electricity in Italy. ENEL Federico II is a power plant on 4 sections divided by polycombustible thermoelectric power of 660 MW each, came into service between 1991 and 1993. Edipower Brindisi, located in Costa Morena, in the industrial area of Brindisi. Central EniPower Brindisi is a combined cycle power plant EniPower, once completed, with an installed capacity of 1,170 megawatts, will be the most powerful among those of the Eni Company. Regasification terminal at Brindisi, the construction of a regasification terminal by the company's "Brindisi LNG SpA. will heat the area of Porto Exterior, called Capobianco. The authorization process is currently in the process of completion of the national Environmental Impact Assessment, initiated by the company in January 2008. Photovoltaic system, the largest in Europe photovoltaic park (with power of 11 MWp ), which should start operating in 2010, at the former petrochemical site. The industry group responsible for the construction will be joined by the University of Apulia.
The Alenia Aeronautica plants (specialized in the modification of aircraft from passenger configuration to cargo) are located in Brindisi. Avio (center for military engines) and Agusta (production of helicopter metal structures) are also located there.
The city preserves important archaeological finds and coastline, particularly the north coast, where there are many large sand dunes and beaches. Inland agritourism, displays wine (Wine Appia) or olive oil (Collina di Brindisi oil). Brindisi Tourism, however, remains heavily dependent on the Italian tourists (74%, compared with 26% of foreign demand) and is very seasonal.
The main roads are represented by
Rail transport is provided through Brindisi railway station, an important Apulian railway junction and an intersecting point between the Adriatic Railway and the Taranto–Brindisi railway. The station is managed by Centostazioni, and links Brindisi with all destinations served by the Adriatic and Ionian coastal railways. Brindisi Marittima railway station closed in 2006.
The port of Brindisi has always been at the center of trade with Greece. It is one of the most important commercial and industrial seaports on the Adriatic Sea. The trade is mostly in coal, fuel oil, natural gas, and chemicals. The port consists of three parts:
Brindisi is home to Papola-Casale Airport located 6 kilometres (4 miles) outside the city's center. The airport of Brindisi has daily connections with major Italian and European cities. The airport serves the entire province of Brindisi and partly that of Taranto. In 2007, a total of 929,854 passengers passed through. The airport is named in memory of Horace Pierozzi, an airman of the Second World War. It has two runways, one northwest to southeast that is 2,628 metres (8,622 ft) long, and the other northeast to southwest that is 1,970 metres (6,460 ft) long. Their characteristics allow the landing of large transport aircraft such as the Antonov An-124. The placement of the airport in the Mediterranean area, along with its natural potential for multimodal (the port is a few kilometers away) operations, have made it a base of strategic importance for both national defense and NATO. For the same strategic reasons, the airport was chosen as the main worldwide logistics base by the United Nations to support its peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations around the globe. From the UN base in Brindisi, food and humanitarian aid is directed to the most remote and devastated regions in Africa and Eastern Europe.
The Public Transport Company of Brindisi provides public transport in the city, and is the link with the other municipalities in the province. Moreover, the company provides transport service by sea into inland waters of the port of Brindisi. Brindisi is also a major ferry port, with routes to Greece and elsewhere.
Brindisi is home to the following consulates:
Football Brindisi 1912 has played in six championship series. Their football strip colours recall those of the province, white and blue. The club plays in the stadium named after the president of the historical association on the Adriatic shore, Commander Franco Fanuzzi Stadium. ASD Appia Brindisi plays in the Regional Championship of the “First Category”.
The main basketball team in the city and in the wider region of Apulia is New Basket Brindisi, which has played for basketball championships in the top of A1 championships in League 2. Their colours are the same as that of all sports associations in the city, white and blue. The club plays their home games in the sports hall "Elio Pentassuglia".