In 1194/96 the Swabians became the new rulers of the South in consequence of the marriage of Constance of Hauteville, who had inherited the kingdom of Sicily, and Henry VI the Swabian son of the famous Frederick “the red beard” (Barbarossa). Their son Frederick II, the greatest prince of the Middle Ages, had so much care for Brindisi that he chose its cathedral for his wedding with Jolanda of Brienne.
He also had a castle built: the Swabian Castle (Castello Svevo).
The emperor had the walls rebuilt to protect the town from attacks. He also ordered a fleet of warships which made the trip of the pilgrims to the Holy Land safer. This is the period of the Crusades when Brindisi was the most important commercial centre of the Adriatic Sea after Venice.
Here the hospitals, the Templar Knights and the seafaring republics of Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi had their own banks, warehouses, arsenals. The Pisans, for example, had their own quarter in the district of “Tor Pisana”. The people from Amalfi settled in the district of “Scala” which extended from Via Lata to the present port train-station and built their church dedicated to Madonna della Scala.
In 1266/68 the Angevins succeeded the Swabians. Their kings continued to take great care of Brindisi: Torre Cavallo was built by Charles I of Anjou to protect the town against attacks. He also had two turrets built along the channel inside the harbour , linked by a chain. Charles II built the church and the convent of Magdalene and he also restored the harbour. Robert built the Church of Saint Paul and the Church of S. Maria del Casale where in 1310 the Templar Knights were tried for heresy and idolatry, victims of the hate of kings and princes who were afraid of their growing power.
Joan I supported the rise of sea commerce which gave the town a great economical boost, in a period of great poverty caused by the plague and the terrible fights to rule the town between the two families Ripa and Cavalerio.