Bari is the second largest city in Southern Italy and the major gateway to the beautiful Puglia region. The town of Bari is a great place for a short stay before exploring the jewels of the surrounding region. Here are 10 things to do in the Pugliese capital.
1. Stay in a traditional Italian bed and breakfast
Bari being the most populous city of the busy Puglia region, hotels are not in short supply, it is nevertheless so much cooler to stay in a small bed and breakfast, Italian style.
These small guest houses are usually located in traditional city houses which ooze architectural beauty and Italian charm. This guide recommends B&B Sant Anna, a little guest house with beautiful studio rooms located in the heart of Bari’s Old Town and close to all the main attractions.
2. Visit the Castello Svevo, the city’s main castle
The Castello Normanno-Svevo is Bari’s showpiece castle and a brilliant example of 12th century military architecture. It was built by Norman king Roger II in 1132 and later inhabited by several kings and royals. The castle is nowadays Bari’s main remaining medieval fortress and a major tourist attraction.
3. Visit the St Nicolas Basilica
The largest church in Bari is one of the main basilicas in Southern Italy and an important pilgrimage site for both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Its beautifully minimalist facade and its clear lines are the trademark architectural feat of this famous religious site.
4. Visit the Museo Diocesano
Bari has several interesting cultural institutions among which the Museo Diocesano (Via dei Duttola) plays a major role. The museum exhibits multiple collections of historical items and pieces of art from several of Bari’s historical periods and thereby offers visitors a glance into the region’s multifaceted past.
5. Visit the San Sabino Cathedral
The second church which should not be omitted when visiting Bari is the 13th century Romanesque San Sabino Cathedral which delights visitors with its marvellous façade and its well-preserved interior containing an ancient crypt.
6. Visit the ancient centre of Bari
The old centre of Bari is full of picturesque little alleys, cobbled streets and small shops selling regional goods. The ancient part of Bari is moreover home to the main cathedrals and the castle which makes it an absolute must visit area in Bari.
7. Have dinner in a traditional Pugliese osteria and try some regional specialities
Having dinner in a traditional restaurant serving specialities from the region is an absolute must when visiting Bari. This guide recommends La Uascezze (Via Corsiolo 2), a fantastic restaurant hidden in the maze of cobbled alleyways in Bari’s Old Town.
8. Walk around the old city walls
Bari’s old city wall is one of the most beautiful sights in the city and a fantastic place for a romantic seaside stroll in the evening.
9. Shop in the city’s many designer shops
The city centre is full of traditional Italian designer shops and some of these brands are very local and not very well known. On that basis, brushing up on some stylish Italian designer wear is a good idea when visiting Bari, especially if one of the shops is having saldi, sale.
10. Visit Bari’s old port
Bari’s old port is a traditional Southern Italian fisherman’s playground and offers stark contrasts to the modern ports where cruise ships and ferries dominate the scene. A walk along the old port is thereby an excellent opportunity to have a look at the small barges that are still the local fishermen’s favourite mode of transport.