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Bari is southern Italy’s second-largest city and the gateway to all the attractions that Puglia has to offer. Though it is a highly industrialized city for the most part, Bari’s historic center with its crooked streets, churches, shrines and historic buildings preserves much of the city’s ancient medieval architecture. The Basilica di San Nicola in Bari Vecchia is a Romanesque cathedral that houses the remains of the historical St. Nicholas.
Bari Weather: Bari boasts a typically Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers.
Regional Cuisine of Bari: Durum wheat, tomatoes, artichokes, fava beans, rocket, courgettes, beans, fennel, peppers, onions, mullet, anchovies, cuttlefish, orecchiette
Regional Wine of Bari: Primitivo, Castel del Monte, Moscato di Trani
Things to Do in Bari: Bari Vecchia, Alberobello trulli, Basilica di San Nicola, Bari Cathedral, Grotte di Castellana, Castello Svevo
Where is Bari? Bari is located in the Puglia region on Italy’s southeastern coast. It is approximately 280 miles, or 450 kilometers, southeast of Rome.
I was drawn to Bari by its springtime festival, but I stayed for the charm of the medieval city.
It’s said that if Paris were by the sea, it would be like Bari. Strolling through the ancient town during the Saint Nicholas open-air festival felt like going back in time. Its labyrinthine streets open onto amazing piazzas crammed with churches and shrines.
Determined to see as much of this architectural gem as I could, I took the road along the old walls to find the Castello Svevo, an imposing Norman castle currently used as a gallery.
Overwhelmed by all the beauty surrounding me, I nearly missed Saint Nicholas’s Basilica. Under the gold ceiling of the basilica rest the holy relics of well-known saints. The sun was going down, but that didn’t stop me from visiting the cathedral. Its three portals and rose window looked truly magical in the evening light.
The pretty town of Bisceglie near Trani hosts several white sand beaches, which are very popular for their crystalline waters. Head to the beach Cala del Pantano in the south part of the town, or to the gorgeous natural spot that is the sea caves area Grotte di Ripalta, just to name a few. With beautiful clear waters and sandy shores the beaches in Bisceglie are ideal for all the family.Address: Via Vito Siciliani, 70052 Bisceglie, BT
Alberobello in Bari province is known as the trulli capital. Row upon row of these stone huts with their characteristically conical roofs can be found throughout the village. According to legend, these huts were originally built to get around stringent medieval taxation codes. Alberobello’s trulli have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Trulli are constructed entirely without mortar. When they were first erected, their builders claimed they were only designed to provide temporary shelter and therefore were exempt from the taxes imposed by the Kingdom of Naples. In fact, trulli are remarkably stable and are early examples of what we call modular architecture. Many of Bari’s trulli, first constructed in the 14th century, are still being used today as houses and shops.
Fun Fact: As a tribute to Bari’s roots as a trade post, the Fiera del Levante trade show has been running since 1930 and features a wealth of Mediterranean exhibits throughout the year.
Local Dish: Pane di Altamura is bread made from durum flour and seasoned with olive oil.
Day Trip: Trulli, traditional stone houses with conical roofs, are famous throughout the province of Bari. They are traditionally made without mortar, and some experts think this was so they could be quickly dismantled before inspectors came by.
If other areas are too crowded, head over to the beach of San Giovanni in the town of Polignano a Mare. This lovely sandy beach is just 3 kilometer away from the town. Generally, this beach is most popular in August, so plan accordingly. Those who prefer a more intimate beach setting should consider arriving before or after this month.Address: 70044 Polignano a Mare, Bari
Cavers, spelunkers and people with an interest in geology will enjoy a visit to the Grotte di Castellana. This spectacular system of limestone caves is approximately 25 miles, or 40 kilometers, outside the city of Bari.
Locals have known about the system’s main chamber, nicknamed "The Grave," since ancient times. It wasn’t until the early 20th century, however, that the complex system of tunnels and chambers beneath the Grave was thoroughly explored. These tunnels go on for 3 kilometers and are filled with calcite concretions so gravity-defying that even trained geologists find it difficult to categorize them as either stalactites or stalagmites. The walls of the final cave, nicknamed the White Cavern, shimmer with crystalline rock outcroppings.
To fully enjoy this portion of the Adriatic coast scenery, you can try out the Velo Service Bike Rental and Tours in Bari. These organized tours will capture the hearts of tourists as they pass by several scenic locations. This is the perfect activity for families to do together. Just make sure to get a large enough cart for everyone to fit in comfortably.Address: Piazzale Colombo Cristoforo, 70123 Bari
This fishing town near Bari is home to some excellent historic places to visit. The local churches are some of the nicest in Italy. The local Romanesque church is actually three churches merged together. Those who are more interested in the local industry may be lucky enough to witness local fishermen at work (octopus is a must here).Address: Piazza Duomo 76125 Trani, BT
Ranked one of the top Beach Clubs in Polignano a Mare, the Coco Beach Club has something for everyone. The stunning view of the sea makes it a perfect place to relax after a long day. The Italian hospitality will be refreshing. If interested in the restaurant, it's wise to book as early as possible. The pizza is a popular dish here.Address: Lungomare Zara 35, 70044 Polignano A Mare, Bari
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