So you’ve decided you want to go to Italy. Great! But Italy can be expensive, touristy, and some-what overwhelming. My first trip to Italy was to visit/meet my husband’s family. We spent almost two weeks (including travel time) taking a train all around Italy, leaving for a different town every two days. Now, I wouldn’t recommend doing that. In one week we went to Milan, Verona, Venice, Rimini and Naples. I had the flu the ENTIRE trip. It wasn’t pleasant, to say the least. However, by going to all these different places, I was able to experience how vastly different every city/town/village in Italy is. Our entire second week of the trip was spent with my husband’s grandma in Brindisi.
Verona was the most beautiful place we went, with an active coliseum and amazing food that relied heavily on fats and hearty meats. But it was also extremely expensive. This was true of most Northern cities and towns. That is why, especially if you are on a budget, you should go to Brindisi.
Brindisi is a popular beach town on the heel of the boot. It’s a small-ish city rich in history and culture. You will be hard-pressed to find many locals who speak English, but don’t let that scare you off. Even with the language barrier, they will try to help you as best they can. Download an app like duolingo to help you get a grasp of the basics and then take advantage of being surrounded by your target language!
- The food. The food is absolutely incredible! There is amazing seafood dishes like calamari, sword fish carpaccio and sea urchin. If you’re not into seafood, head to Romanelli’s and get yourself deep-fried pizza. Not into fried foods? That’s okay too. Duck into any of the establishments called “bars.” It’s misleading, but they typically serve espresso, pastries, pizza, and many have their own lunch offerings that include healthy options. But who are we kidding? You’re in Italy to eat! So wake up early and head to a pastry shop for a rustico!
- The beaches. Although they aren’t white sand, palm tree lines beaches- they sure are beautiful! The water is extremely warm, though not by Italian standards. If you’re not a swimmer, many of the beaches have large sections where there are extremely rough rocks that collect both salt and little creatures. On colder days, my husband and I go searching for urchin. We’re a bit strange.
- The markets. There are two markets every morning; one is close to downtown and the other is a bit further out-of-the-way. The one that is downtown is extremely cute but you won’t find the best prices. The other market is where you can get extremely good prices – it’s bigger, so there is a lot more competition. This is great because you can get about 1 week worth of groceries for a little under 15 euros. On Thursdays, there is a large market that not only has food vendors, but clothing, household and misc. item vendors as well.
- The people. The people of Brindisi are extremely warm. It’s probably in part due to the fact that they wear parka’s when it’s 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but they’re also really friendly. No, it’s not the American type of friendly where they greet random strangers on the street. Most of Europe finds that odd. But if you’re staying in an airbnb, as you should, your neighbors will be curious. Even if you don’t speak the language, try your best to communicate with them! They are extremely hospitable, and Brindisi doesn’t get many tourists from countries that aren’t European.
So go to Brindisi! Eat a rustico! See the start of the Appian way! Prepare to lose you luggage (a story for another time)!