The history and the fate of Brindisi are strictly linked with its harbour and geographical position, for which it’s been contended for centuries.
Let aside all the legends, Brindisi was founded by the Messapics in the VIII century B.C. They called the town “Brunda” which in their own language means “head of deer” and which refers to the shape of the harbour itself.
During the Bronze Age (the metal alloy that changed the history of mankind) B. became one of the first industrial communities in Europe. It was the capital of Salento under the Messapics dominion, but in 244 b.C. Brindisi was conquered by the Romans who turned it into a great commercial and military centre between the Eastern world and the West. Since its importance grew more and more, it was finally connected to Rome by two roads: Via Traiana and Via Appia, the latter is marked by the two Roman columns near the harbour.
Brindisi fought on the Romans’ side in the war against Carthage and it was rewarded with privileges and honour as well. The Romans allowed Brindisi to have its own laws and judges as well as its own money without the name of Rome.
Brindisi was a crowded, well known town. It boasted statues, baths, academies, schools, military quarters, fleets, an arsenal, an aqueduct, a mint, a theatre and an amphitheatre. Marco Pacuvio, the father of the Latin tragic poetry, was born in Brindisi. He spent here the last period of his life and died in a house next to the columns, where he had been writing his most beautiful pages of The Aeneid, The Bucolics and The Georgics.