St. Nicholas’ Cathedral
Mercantile Square and the infamous column
View of the city
Fort of St. Anthony the Abbot
Interior of the Cathedral
Church of San Sabino
The monumental seafront from the fascist era is jokingly likened to the Malecón of Havana in Cuba, but it is actually located in Bari, the densely populated capital of Puglia, whereas the shape of the city has been likened to that of an eagle with outstretched wings overlooking the Adriatic Sea for about 40 miles and to a depth of 13 kilometres. It is an important religious and commercial centre which has been defined "the door to the East" and presents a particularly important ancient town center in terms of historical and urban heritage.
Bari has a mild climate that along with the many tourist and cultural attractions and numerous beaches makes it a very popular destination and point of departure for hikes to the plateau of the Murgia in order to reach the Itria Valley and the famous town of Alberobello, a UNESCO site characterized by the typical houses in the shape of a cone: the trulli.
The city has ancient origins and takes its name from the Greek Barion; it was a Roman municipality taken over in later times by Byzantines and Swabians which became the heart of Italian orthodox Catholicism and a place of pilgrimage for the three monotheistic religions during the Middle Ages. One of its many symbols is in fact the Basilica di San Nicola (St. Nicholas) which was erected in the heart of the old city in Romanesque style towards the end of 1200 in order to house the relics of St. Nicholas, which according to tradition were stolen by devout sailors from the city of Myra (now Turkey) and brought to Bari in 1087. Another Romanesque style building showing a majestic rose window is the Cathedral of San Sabino, whereas different styles characterize the following impressive buildings: the Palace of the Apulian aqueduct, the Palazzo Mincuzzi, both in an eclectic style, the Palazzo Fizzarotti whose three floors are in Venetian style, and the nineteenth century neoclassical Palazzo de Gemmis.
The coast around Bari is dotted with several medieval towers built for defensive purposes against the Saracen pirates, but the most important defensive construction is still that of the Norman-Swabian castle and its long wall surrounding the old city which dates back to the twelfth century.
A complete opera and symphonic repertoire can be enjoyed in the city’s major theatres throughout the season: The Teatro Petruzzelli, the cultural hearth of Bari and one of the largest Italian theatres together with the Teatro Piccinni, and the Teatro Margherita with its distinctive Art Nouveau structure.
History, art and archaeology lovers can admire the ceramic and bronze finds in the “Museo Archeologico” (Archaeological Museum) and works by Tintoretto, Bellini and Veronese along with those by modern artists such as De Chirico and Morandi in the Pinacoteca (Provincial Art Gallery).
Evenings are given over to strolling along the promenade in the mild climate, followed by a visit to one of the many restaurants in the city centre offering local dishes of raw fish and “poor” cuisine centred on orecchiette pasta. Alternatively try one of the many places offering a typical aperitif accompanied by tarallucci (savoury round pretzels) and Friselle (a ring-shaped hard bread which requires dipping in water) with tomatoes while sitting comfortably in areas amply covered by WI-FI.
How to get there
Bari may be reached by motorway, national, foreign and low-cost company airline links, rail and sea links.
Aeroporti di Puglia Spa (Apulia Airports) - www.aeroportidipuglia.it
For road, motorway and traffic information visit the websites
Autorità Portuale di Bari (Bari Port Authority) - www.porto.bari.it