How to see Brindisi from Above
The Italian Sailor Monument in Brindisi
For years we have been looking at Monumento al Marinaio or the Italian Sailor Monument in Brindisi with the intention of going up there, but something always got in the way. This time we were determined and finally made it.
Monumento al Marinaio or the Italian Sailor Monument is a square set, rudder shaped, 54 m high tower across the harbour from the end of via appia. It was built in 1933 in the typical larger than life fascist manner with massive walls, steps, bombastic arches and an Amazon Madonna on top. The dimensions alone should daunt possible enemies, but even from a distance it’s obvious, that the view from the top of the structure must be amazing.
Find a Ferry
To get to the monument you have to take the traghetto water bus, which has become kind of homeless over the past few years. There are no stop signs or timetables, but walking along the quay we found a small boat that could be a ferry, and the captain confirmed he would sail us across at the ticket price of 1 euro each.
The traghetto used to stop by the monument, but this time it went to the fishing harbour at the end of Via Sta. Maria del Casale, where fishermen were busy darning their nets. The promenade by the waterfront was blocked for renovation, but the captain reassured us that we could walk the streets to the monument in 5-6 minutes, so we set out in the blazing sun.
Internal and External Beauty
It is free to enter the Italian Sailor Monument, though there’s is a caretaker at the foot of the tower. She warned us that there were six floors to the top. An unbelievably stuffy and slow moving elevator will take you as far as the fourth floor, and then you can walk the rest of the way along the harmonious oblong staircase. The tower had a few of these surprisingly beautiful architectural elements.
From the tiny platform at the top, we could see Brindisi airport to the north of the city. The navy area in the inner harbour. The old town and the ferries to Corfu and Greece that have been transferred to the outer harbour.
We took the stairs all the way down and thanked the caretaker for the visit, which induced her to ask if we wanted to see the crypt as well. Her husband was entrusted with a key that unlocked a modest looking door at the harbour-side of the building. It opened up to a built-in modern church with pointed arches and the engraved names of the 6.000 Italian sailors fallen during the first war world. An appropriate reminder of why the Italian Sailor Monument in Brindisi was originally erected.
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That’s one amazing staircase and the monument itself looks pretty impressive, too. I think it’s Brindisi where they also have a commemoration of St. Nicholas isn’t it? Not sure in what form, though. A link – if a bit of a hot potato – between Turkey and Italy, anyway. ;)
St. Nicholas’ tomb is in Bari about 100 km north of Brindisi, but you are right about the hot potato.