PHOTO : AROGANES...
PHOTO : AROGANES CASTLE...
Approching to Brindisi from the sea, you definate will see the Aroganes Castle, better known as Sea Fortress which was built in 15th Century on the the Island opposite the port. The Aroganes act as a defensive Castle for the Brindisi city, aginst possible sea attack.
A trip back to the 16th...
A trip back to the 16th century....
A Polish tourist visiting Bari will always think of BONA SFORZA - Queen of Poland and Dutchess of Bari - the beloved queen. She became wife of the Polish king Sigismund the Old in 1517. In the 16th century, Cracow was under the influence of Italian culture which was further reinforced by the king's marriage. However, we owe something else to her. She enriched our monotonous diet introducing cauliflower, celery, leeks, asparagus, lettuce, and artichokes into cultivation. Hence, the Polish word for 'vegetables' - 'wloszczyzna' - means... 'of Italian origin'.
"Hourbour town in Italy"
First stop on the cruise line. Bari is a mid size city 700.000 people approx.
Mainly a harbour city.
You have the old town and a newer part. The old town was very nice to see.
Rent a cab and go around for an hour. Stop at a coffee shop for some nice espresso and a beer.
This is not a city I would go to for holiday or pleasure, but nice to have seen.
Brindisi - and some words about "cicoria"
Brindisi has its own airport (the IATA code is BDS, while you may be confused by BRI, which stays for Bari), though it lies just 100 km South of Bari's one. It's an important city of Apulia and it is also the main connecting point to/from Greece. The harbour of Brindisi has been wonderfully shaped by nature: I attached a picture taken by www.brindisiweb.com which gives you the idea idea of its Y-like shape.
Brindisi is also the terminating point of the Roman "via Appia": it is marked by a column, just a few metres away from the sea front. The city itself has a very nice ancient centre, closed between the two arms of the harbour, with a lovely Duomo place, and the very peculiar Arches of the Templars just beside it.
There's a lovely restaurant I would recommend, a few metres before reaching Duomo place, in via Tarantini 14 - La Lanterna (0831 564026 fax 0831 524950 - closed on Sundays - 25 Euros, including wine - all cards). It is situated in a Gothic palace of the XV century, which has been very well restaurated, taking care of all details, the
space is now very pleasant, illuminated and fresh, in sumemrtime, an open space is available for dining outside. The menu is strictly a regional one, that means it varies depending on the season; in springtime I had very much pleasure in experiencing:
Sea urchins - there's nothing to describe as they will be served open, I found those in Brindisi especially large and fat. In the case you have some doubt, remember you're supposed to eat the red/orange parts, that is the eggs. Urchins are ermaphrodite, but not all the species are equally appropriate for eating.
Tubetti a cascimpò - small cylinder-shape pasta, with pieces of octopus, moscardini and mussels;
Zuppa di fava - Fava beans soup, sided by with fried green peppers, "cicoria (see the note below)", diced white onion, fried diced bread, olive oil.
Then you may be safe enough if you ask for the fish of the day, which will be served grilled, or "al sale" and it will most likely satisfy you, just add a few drop of olive oil to make it perfect.
In Apulia, lots of vegetables and sea-food is eaten without cooking, it's a habit which is not uncommon to other part of Italy, but I think it is peculiarly common there. As for "cicoria (cheekouhryah)", it is worth spending a couple of words of explanation, as you may be faced with several different "cicoria's" while in Italy. There's a cicoria you may be offered as a fresh green salad, cut in thin slices, quite bitter: it may be found wild in the fields at the end of the winter, when it sprouts. The
final product would be a yellow flower and then a sphere of small flying umbrellas, the botanical name is Tarassacum and a good honey is also made by the bees from its nectar. Then you have another ccicoria, which is also known as "catalogna": this is much more common in Southern Italy and it is completely different. It has itself two main shapes: the first one has long green leafes, eaten after having been boiled; the second variety is grown after cutting the main sprout in
order to obtain several whitish sprouts which grow fatter and tender: they may be eaten raw are boiled; in Roma (and only there) the small leaflets from the white trunks are separated, thinly cut along their axe, dipped in ice-cold water and eaten with oil and anchovy paste under the specific name of "puntarelle".
Do you want a hotel in Brindisi to enjoy some rest after the great dinner? Try the Hotel Regina - via Cavour 5 - 0831 562001, fax 0831 563883, it's a few metres beside the central modern place with a fountain - I can't remember the name, but everybody will know it.