Puglia – bowling around Brindisi

I flew out to Brindisi a couple of days early in April 2017 in order to have a short break before starting work. Unfortunately I somehow managed to delete all my photos for this historic city, except for a scattering of food photos that were preserved on Instagram, so apologies if this post feels a litte text heavy.

My map with all the places below and more is here.

Restaurants:

Penny (High Intermediate A), 5 Via San Francesco, www.enotecaristorantepenny.it

I would recommend coming here just for the surroundings, a high-vaulted ceiling picked out in striking black and white stripes. Mario the owner told me the building dates back to the time of Frederick II, the Swabian king of Puglia in the thirteenth century.

Alternatively you can sit out on the terrace in the summer.

The food was also good, all B/B+. The seafood antipasti were really nice…

…but the Linguine ai Frutti di Mare took me to the the gates of heaven (A).

They make good Canoli too (B).

La Locanda del Porto (Intermediate B), 20 Via Montenegro, www.lalocandadelporto.com

A popular family restaurant recommended by my AirBnB host just opposite my apartment. The seafood antipasti were the highlight (B/B+), as they often are in Puglia.

Pizzeria Romanelli (Initial A), 3 Via Santa Lucia, www.pizzeriaromanelli.com

I think an essential Brindisi food experience is coming to Romanelli for a panzerotto (a deep fried pizza pocket) which they have been making since 1949. The photos on the walls will also take you back in time. I had a ham, mozzarella and tomato one for €5 which was excellent.

Il Botteghino (High Elementary B), 35 Corso Roma

This place is rated for its focaccia (famous in Brindisi) by some but I didn’t find it to be anything special. The cheese and mushroom one I had for €2.50 was okay (B), but not worth a special trip.

Cafes & Bars:

Bar Rosso et Nero (Elementary B+), 15 Via Santi

Also calling itself Rouge et Noir, this old school bar has won the Slow Food Association award for Best Bar in Puglia, primarily I think for its hand whipped gelato which is indeed excellent (A+). I can vouch for the Crema and Nocciola varieties.

It is also a pasticceria but going by their cornetto I would give the rest of their cakes a miss (B-). The coffee wasn’t great either (C) but the old couple who run it are nice.

Bar Betty (Intermediate A), 6 Via Regina Margherita

I’ve given this place on the waterfront an A rating solely for their Cappuccino and Cornetto di Crema which I had for breakfast one morning. The service I received was friendly and efficient. Can’t say what the food is like though as I haven’t tried it.

Spirito (Intermediate B), 16 Via Santi, spirito-the-right-one.business.site

The bartenders at Spirito mix a decent Negroni and you get lots of stuzzichini (nibbles).

Wine Market (High Elementary B), 3 Via Congregazione

A small modern wine bar with a young friendly staff. You get a glass of celery and carrot sticks and a bag of savoury and sweet nibbles with your glass of wine. I asked for the best Puglian white wine they had. What I got (for €4) was fine (B) but nothing special.

Market:

There’s a food market till 2pm every day in Piazza Mercato, near Piazza Vittoria, that’s worth a wander. I saw these unusual crabs in one of the fish shops nearby.

Museums & Sights:

The most famous monument in Bari is the Colonne Romane a column that is popularly considered to mark the end of the Appian way. In actuality, at least according to the plaque attached to the railings around it, it was just a column in a ceremonial square that happened to be near the water’s edge.

The original capital (the decorated top part of the column) was removed for safety reasons and is now housed in the Palazzo Palazzo Granafei Nervegna (see map) where you can get a much better view of its detailed carving. A copy is now at the top of the column.

I had a look round the Museo Archeologico Provinciale Ribrezzo (MAPRI) www.provincia.brindisi.it (entrance €5 in 2017. It’s housed in a building a pleasant courtyard next to the cathedral in Piazza Duomo.

Part of the complex is the Portico dei Cavalieri Templari, the which is the only remaining part of the Templar’s main church. It now houses some of the museum’s collection of capitals and other bits of stonework.

There’s not that much to see inside most of the museum however the stars of the collection are the bronze statues on the top floor which were pulled up from the bottom of the harbour in the 1970s.

There’s another museum called Collezione Archeologica S. Faldetta down on the waterfront next to the steps leading up to the Colonne Romane. It’s primarily a collection of Greek ceramics which didn’t do much for me. The custodian of the place is what we in Sheffield would call ‘a bit of a wrong un’. He was either drunk or crazy, I couldn’t work out which, as he just wandered around talking to no one in particular in a loud voice. If you don’t fancy looking at the pottery you can just go up to the top floor in the lift and get a view of the harbour and the Colonne Romane in the piazette next door.

One thing I didn’t do was go over to the art deco Monumento al Marinaio d’ Italia on the other side of the harbour. It has a good view of Brindisi but it’s hard to get over to that side.

Taranto next!

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