The capital of Puglia
The capital and commercial hub of Puglia famous for its port and university, and is southern Italy’s second-most important economic center, after Naples might not be first place tourists flock to, but it is certainly worth a visit. And being Puglia’s most connected city with an airport, port, and train line, it is easy to get in and out.
A typical example of a southern Italian capital, Bari gained a reputation some years ago for being an area to avoid. However, rest assured that a radical transformation has since occurred turning this city into a buzzing weaving area of pedestrian-friendly cafes, bars and restaurants.
History enthusiasts will also get a buzz out of Bari. Under the Roman Empire, it rose to one of the most important towns on the Adriatic. This was confirmed in 109AD when Emperor Trajan set the infrastructure responsible for Bari becoming Puglia’s capital. Then under 500 years of Byzantine rule following the collapse of the Roman Empire, Bari’s port became linked to the slave trade connecting Europe to Turkey and the Middle East. This was all before later becoming a port of departure for the Crusades.
Bari went on to experience various occupations including the Levant, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Normans. Take a stroll or a tour through the Old Town (Bari Vecchia) to witness these influences in Bari’s ancient monuments and architecture. Most notably is the San Nicola Basilica.
Attractions in Bari
San Nicola Basilica
A fine example of twelfth century Romanesque architecture in the heart of Bari. This basilica is reached by thousands of pilgrims a year including many Greek and Russian Orthodox visitors.
San Sabino Cathedral
Another late twelfth century Puglian-Romanesque style church built by the Normans and inspired by San Nicola Basilica with a 69 meter bell tower and mullioned windows.
A mid nineteenth century building which was restored and reopened in 2009. It is Italy’s fourth largest opera house and worth booking in if you are staying the night in Bari.
That is of course before or after an evening stroll and meal on Bari’s long seafront promenade which extends from the old town to the modern shopping district.