Brindisi

Brindisi

[brin-duh-zee; It. breen-dee-zee]
Brindisi, Latin Brundisium, city (1991 pop. 95,383), capital of Brindisi prov., in Apulia, S Italy. A modern port on the Adriatic Sea, it has been noted since ancient times for its traffic with Greece and the E Mediterranean. Manufactures include petrochemicals, plastics, and food products. Its excellent harbor was a Roman naval station, a chief embarkation point for the Crusaders (12th-13th cent.), and an important Italian naval base in World War I. One of the two columns marking the terminus of the Appian Way still stands; Brindisi also has Romanesque churches, a fine cloister, and a castle built (13th cent.) by Emperor Frederick II.
Brindisi can also refer to a song in which a company is exhorted to drink, such as the "Tea-Cup Brindisi" in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Sorcerer", or the duet "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" in Verdi's "La Traviata".
For the Argentine actor see Rodolfo Brindisi.

Brindisi (Brentèsion or Vrindhision; Brundisium; Messapian: Brention) is an ancient city in the Italian region of Apulia, the capital of the province of Brindisi.

History

Ancient times

There are several traditions concerning its founders; one of them claims that it was founded by the legendary hero Diomedes.

Brindisi was probably an Illyrian settlement predating the Roman expansion. The Latin name Brundisium, through the Greek Brentesion, is a corruption of the Messapian Brention meaning "deer's head" (cf. Albanian bri, brî "horn") and probably refers to the shape of the natural harbor. As a Messapic center, Brindisi was in conflict with Taranto and in friendly relations with Thurii. In 267 BCE (245 BCE, according to other sources) it was conquered by the Romans. 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 BCE (Bell. Civ. i.) and was again attacked in 42 and 40 BCE.

The poet Pacuvius was born here about 220 BCE, and here the famous poet Virgil died in 19 BCE. 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.

Middle Ages and modern times

Later Brindisi was conquered by Ostrogoths, and reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century CE. 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. Again a Byzantine possession, it was captured by the Normans in 1070, and subsequently became part of the Kingdom of Naples under its various dynasties. 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, respectively.

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 capital of Italy.

Brindisi is also noteworthy because it hosted King Vittorio Emanuele III, Pietro Badoglio and a part of the Italian army 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 naval 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.

Main sights

  • The Castello Svevo or Castello Grande ("Hohenstaufen Castle" or "Large Castle"), built by emperor Frederick II. It has a trapezoid plan with massive square towers. The Aragonese added four towers to the original 13th century structure. After centuries of being abandon, in 1813 Joachim Murat turned it into a penitentiary; after 1909 it is used by the Italian Navy. During World War II, it was briefly the residence of King Victor Emmanuel III.
  • The Aragonese Castle, best known as Forte a Mare ("Sea Fort"). I was built by King Ferdinand I of Naples in 1491 on the S. Andrea island facing the port. It is divided into two section: the "Red Castle" (from the color of its bricks) and the more recent Fort.
  • Two ancient Roman columns, symbols of Brindisi. They were once thought to be mark the ending points of the Appian Way, instead they were used as a port reference for the antique mariners. Only one of the two, standing at 18.74 m, is now visible. The other crumbled in 1582, and only the basement survives.
  • the Duomo (Cathedral), built in Romanesque style in the 11th-12th centuries. What is visible today is the 18th century reconstruction, after the original was desotryed by an earthquake on February 20 1743. Parts of the original mosaic pavement can be seen in the interior.
  • Church of Santa Maria del Casale (c. 1300), in Gothic-Romanesque style. The notable façade has a geometrical pattern of gray and yellow stones, with an entrance cusp-covered portico. The interior has notable early-14th century frescoes.
  • Portico of the Templars (13th century). Despite the name, it was in reality the loggia of the bishop's palace. It is now the entrance to the Museo Ribezzo.
  • the Fontana Grande (Grand Fountain), built by the Romans on the Appian Way. It was restored in 1192 by Tancred of Lecce.
  • Piazza della Vittoria (Victory Square). It has a 17th century fountain.
  • Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (1609).
  • Church of the Holy Heart.
  • Church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro, with circular plan, dating from the 12th century.
  • Church of the Santissima Trinità (or Santa Lucia, 14th century). It has a late 12th century crypt.
  • Natural preserve of Torre Guaceto
  • the Monument to Italian Sailors

Transportation

Brindisi is home to the Papola-Casale Airport, located 6 km outside the city's center. Brindisi is also a major ferry port, with routes to Greece and elsewhere.

See also

External links

References


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