Pontificia Basilica Cattedrale

Cathedral in Brindisi

Pontificia Basilica Cattedrale Di Brindisi
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Holger Uwe Schmitt

The Cathedral of Brindisi, officially known as the Papal Basilica Cathedral of Brindisi or Duomo di Brindisi, also called the Basilica of the Visitation and Saint John the Baptist, was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1089 and completed in 1143. It holds the status of a minor basilica.

Significant damage from the 1743 earthquake necessitated its reconstruction three years later, followed by numerous restorations. Despite these changes, the basilica retains its original Romanesque layout from the Norman period (1089-1143), with a design similar to that of the Basilica of San Nicola di Bari: three naves without a transept, a cornice supported by elephant heads on the right apse, and fragments of a floor mosaic. Historical texts, including the Itinerary of John and Anselmo Adorno (1470), mention a vase believed to be one of the six hydria from the Wedding at Cana, brought to Brindisi by crusaders. Additionally, the relics of San Teodoro d’Amasea, whose ship was said to have landed in Brindisi by divine will during the Frederick era, are housed here. This event is depicted on the extraordinary reliquary ark, partly crafted by 13th-century Dalmatian goldsmiths.

The façade of the church maintains its original vertical tripartite design corresponding to the naves. In the 1920s, the façade was completed with a tympanum, which was replaced in 1957 by statues representing Saint Theodore, Saint Lawrence, Saint Leucio of Alexandria, and Saint Pius Leccese, each 2.90 meters high.

Inside, you can find fragments of the 1178 mosaic floor, showcasing figures and stylistic elements similar to the contemporary (1163-65) mosaic of Otranto by presbyter Pantaleone. Other notable features include the wooden choir from 1594, crafted by local carvers, a 16th-century baptismal font, and several 18th-century paintings. The chapel dedicated to Saint Theodore of Amasea, co-patron saint of Brindisi along with Saint Lawrence, houses the martyr’s remains. On January 6, 2010, Archbishop Rocco Talucci designated this chapel as “ecumenical,” making it a place of prayer for both Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

Adjacent to the cathedral is the bell tower, completed in 1795, and on the opposite side are the episcopal palace and the seminary building, constructed in the 18th century using materials from the demolished Basilica of San Leucio.

After undergoing restoration, the basilica was reopened for worship on November 18, 2007, in a ceremony attended by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State.

Inside the cathedral are two organs: the main organ, located on the counter-façade and built in the 1970s by the Fratelli Ruffatti company of Padua, and the choral organ, located behind the wooden choir and built in the 1990s by the Mascioni company. In 2021, restoration work began on the main organ, which will eventually be integrated with the choral organ.

The basilica closed for additional restoration work in January 2019 and reopened for the Corpus Domini celebration on June 23, 2019.

The Pontificia Basilica Cattedrale appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Brindisi!

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Visiting Pontificia Basilica Cattedrale

Address: Pontificia Basilica Cattedrale Di Brindisi, Via Duomo, Brindisi, BR, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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