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17 Enjoyable Issues to do in Bari, Italy


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There are such a lot of cool issues to do in Bari, Italy! Bari is the most important metropolis in Puglia, Italy’s heel of the boot, although it doesn’t get as a lot consideration as different standard Puglian cities like Monopoli, Lecce, Alberobello, and close by Matera.

Whereas Bari is dwelling to the most important port and busiest airport within the area, so many Puglia guests hop in and hop out with out taking time to discover the town. And truthfully, I believe that’s a mistake. Bari will not be the prettiest place in Puglia, but it surely’s completely value a fast exploration.

How a lot time do it’s good to discover Bari? A morning or a day ought to be adequate. There are many issues to do in Bari to fill a number of hours.

Bari jogs my memory lots of Naples — a metropolis that seems a bit gritty on the skin and doesn’t bend over backwards catering to vacationers. That’s why Naples is one in every of my favourite locations in Italy, and Bari has so lots of the identical vibes!

As a substitute, you’ll discover a true Puglian previous city with a wealthy historical past and vibrant meals scene, the place life right here goes on because it has for many years.

Let me present you how one can spend your time within the capital of Puglia — Bari!

This submit was printed in December 2023 and was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Riana Ang-Canning.

Old town streets in Bari, Italy, with colorful streamers hanging between the windows.
Get a style of genuine Pugliese life in previous city Bari Italy.

The Finest Issues to Do in Bari, Italy

Discover the historic middle of Bari 

Bari Vecchia, also referred to as Bari’s Outdated City, is essentially the most charming and historic a part of the town. Whereas most of Bari consists of not-that-special gridded streets, the Outdated City is stuffed with squiggly streets and slim passageways.

My favourite technique to discover Bari Vecchia is to simply get misplaced in its maze of slim streets, thirteenth century monuments, piazzas, church buildings, and retailers. You may discover the Outdated City by yourself or with a information on a Bari strolling tour from 30 EUR ($32 USD) per individual. 

Alongside the best way you’ll cease at Bari Cathedral, or Basilica Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale San Sabino, which was rebuilt in 1292 after the unique was destroyed by William the Depraved in 1156 (and sure, tantalizing tidbits like the truth that there was a dude named William the Depraved are why it’s value paying for a metropolis tour).

Don’t miss the museum beneath the Romanesque cathedral, the place excavated components of the unique church stay. 

You’ll additionally move Piazza del Ferrarese, a Seventeenth-century sq. full of bars and eating places, which ends up in Piazza Mercantile, a 14th-century sq. that many locals think about to be the beating coronary heart of Bari. 

And you’ll’t depart the Outdated City with out visiting the women who make orecchiette on the road! That is my favourite a part of exploring Bari!

Stroll via Arco Alto the place native ladies arrange tables to make do-it-yourself orecchiette each day, rolling the ear-shaped pasta and reducing it utilizing practiced motions that took a long time to good. You’ll be amazed by how rapidly these women work — and you may take a few of their recent pasta dwelling. 

An old stone castle with rounded towers on each corner.
Castello Normanno-Svevo, through Frog Dares on Shutterstock.

Discover Castello Normanno-Svevo

One of the vital vital landmarks in Bari is Castello Normanno-Svevo. This Twelfth-century fortress, also referred to as The Norman-Swabian Citadel or easy Bari Citadel, modified arms many instances in Bari’s historical past, being besieged, destroyed, and rebuilt by completely different rulers. 

The citadel’s title comes from its originator, Roger the Norman in 1131, and its thirteenth Century ruler, Frederick II of Swabia. Duchess Isabella of Aragon additionally lived within the citadel together with her daughter within the Sixteenth Century, bringing a interval of revival to Bari together with her assist of schooling, music, and literature. Thank Isabella for the tradition that runs via Puglia at present!

Lately, the citadel has been restored and is open to the general public. You may wander via the excavation areas and see the spectacular artwork assortment, together with the plaster forged gallery. 

The citadel is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM and closed on Mondays. Admission is 8 EUR ($9 USD) for full entrance, 3 EUR ($3 USD) for lowered fare, and free for guests beneath 18, in addition to many European Union college students and lecturers.

The citadel is free for everybody on the primary Sunday of each month (although I like to recommend avoiding at the present time if you wish to keep away from crowds).

An aerial shot of Bari, with churches and white stone buildings, set against the bright blue sea.
Isn’t Bari gorgeous from above? By way of Shutterstock.

Go to the picturesque Outdated Port and stroll alongside Lungomare Nazario Sauro

As a port metropolis, Bari’s Outdated Port (Porto Vecchio) is among the most conventional locations to go to. For the reason that metropolis’s founding, that is the place fishermen would moor their boats and produce of their every day catch, which they nonetheless do to at the present time. 

Porto Vecchio is a phenomenal place to witness Bari’s tradition come to life and get a style of its well-known seafood. Go to the fish market, pattern some uncooked sea urchins or mussels, and stroll off your lunch with a scenic stroll down Bari’s seafront promenade, Lungomare Nazario Sauro.  

A church ceiling with tall stone arches and golden ceiling frescoes in between.
Don’t neglect to search for at Basilica di San Nicola, through AS photograph household on Shutterstock.

See Santa Claus at Basilica di San Nicola

Basilica di San Nicola is a church positioned in Bari’s Outdated City whose patron saint is St. Nicholas. Not solely is the church devoted to him, but it surely additionally homes the stays of St. Nicholas, who chances are you’ll know higher as Santa Claus! 

St. Nick’s stays are enshrined within the basilica’s crypt within the Tomb of Saint Nicholas which Orthodox Christians (and people keen to indicate Santa how good they’ve been this yr) can go to. 

It’s possible you’ll get a bizarre look in case you carry cookies and milk to the altar. I can’t affirm or deny this.

A display case filled with ancient pots and jars.
The Archaeological Museum of Bari Italy, through forben on Shutterstock.

Go to the Archeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum of the Metropolitan Metropolis of Bari or Museo Archeologico di Santa Scolastica is housed in a Tenth-century monastery and Sixteenth-century bastion, good venues to indicate off Bari’s historical past. 

Right here you’ll be able to be taught concerning the historic peoples who occupied Bari in Roman instances, discover the Polese artwork assortment, uncover what life was like in a monastery, and witness Bari’s historic archaeology via the museum’s present restorations and San Pietro space excavations. 

The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM and Sundays from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM. It’s closed on Mondays. Admission is free to all, making this one in every of my high beneficial free issues to do in Bari!

A big plate of tiny ear-shaped orecchiette pasta in red sauce with some meat on top.
Orecchiette is the must-eat dish of Bari Italy!

Go on a meals tour of Bari, Italy

My favourite factor to do in any a part of Italy is to go on a meals tour — and Bari isn’t any exception! From effective eating and handmade pasta to recent seafood and native avenue eats, meals is severe enterprise on this metropolis.

In Puglia, you’ll be able to anticipate a number of ear-shaped orecchiette pasta, loads of recent seafood, not a ton of meat past a little bit of salume, and plenty of beans and greens.

On the Pasta Expertise Strolling Tour, you’ll dive deep into Bari’s conventional pasta making. After a stroll via the Outdated City, you’ll cease at Signora Maria’s home the place you’ll be taught to make orecchiette. End off your expertise with crimson wine and a few gelato!

Or strive the three-hour Bari Strolling Avenue Meals Tour the place you’ll discover the Outdated City whereas making stops to style focaccia, salami, cheese, Bari avenue meals, and gelato. The tour ends within the new a part of Bari, exploring the theaters and retailers.

An alternative choice is the Full Meal 5 Stops in Bari previous city meals tour the place you’ll take pleasure in focaccia, fried polenta, octopus sandwiches, avenue meals snacks, and the very best ice cream on the town. This tour ensures nice meals and nice firm.

People riding bicycles in the streets of Bari.
Bari lends itself to bike using! By way of Ratikova on Shutterstock.

Discover the Metropolis by Bike or Segway

Bari is a largely flat metropolis the place the solar shines a lot of the yr — the proper place to discover on wheels. A number of excursions can be found that let you discover by bicycle or Segway.

You may be part of this two-hour bike tour to get to know each the Outdated City landmarks and get a style of native life. Talking of style, this tour additionally consists of native product tastings, together with native cheeses and meats.

If laughing your method via a Segway journey is extra your fashion, leap on the Bari Segway Tour for a one-hour exploration of Bari Vecchia. You may as well improve your segway expertise to incorporate a pasta-making class or meals tour.

A big read theater on Bari's coastline, reflecting in the harbor.
Absorb one other view of Bari Italy — alongside the waterfront! By way of Shutterstock.

Sail Alongside the Coast of Bari

Since Bari is a port metropolis, I like to recommend getting out on a boatand seeing it from the water. Nothing beats crusing alongside the Adriatic Sea with a glass of wine in hand! 

On this half-day sailboat tour, you’ll cruise alongside the coast of the Outdated City, seeing the most important sights from the water. Native snacks will likely be served and if the climate is sweet, you’ll have a number of alternatives to swim. Costs begin at 60 EUR ($65 USD) per individual.

Simply half-hour from Bari is the city of Polignano a Mare, identified for its seashores and coastal cliffs. You may head out on a boat tour from Polignano a Mare to take pleasure in a pleasant view of the city and discover the close by grottoes, caves and cliffs. Costs begin at 35 EUR ($38 USD) per individual. 

A plate with several bite-sized pieces of focaccia topped with tomatoes.
Focaccia could also be from Liguria, however the Puglian model is a must-try in Bari.

Attempt Focaccia Barese

You may’t go to Bari with out making an attempt its most well-known snack. Whereas focaccia might have originated in Liguria, the Pugliese have put their very own spin on it in Bari.

Focaccia Barese is a bread manufactured from wheat, semolina, and potatoes, then topped with olives and tomatoes. It’s baked in a spherical tin and generously doused in olive oil whereas baking. The result’s a scrumptious, salty snack that’s generally eaten on the streets of Bari. 

And in case you’re doing a Puglia street journey, I at all times advocate individuals cease within the city of Altamura for focaccia from Antico Forno Santa Caterina. They make some FABULOUS focaccia. It’s a great cease on the best way again from Matera, in case you’re doing a day journey there.

A quiet piazza in Bari, a fountain in the middle.
Piazza Mercantile in Bari Italy, through Shutterstock.

Go to Museo Civico

One other nice wet day choice in Bari is journeying via the town’s historical past at Museo Civico. The Civic Museum of Bari was initially opened in 1913, used as a recreation middle for troopers throughout World Conflict II, transferred to its new dwelling in 1977, and reopened to the general public in 2015. 

At the moment the museum tells the historical past of the town via a few of its most well-known residents, comparable to Menotti Bianchi, a satirical caricaturist, and Liborio Antonelli Matteucci, a photographer. The museum additionally hosts quite a few occasions and visiting reveals, that are open to guests. 

Museo Civico is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 AM-1:30 PM and once more from 4:30-7:30 PM. On Sundays, it’s open from 9:30 AM-1:30 PM and it’s closed on Mondays. The complete ticket worth is 5 EUR ($5 USD) and the lowered ticket worth is 3 EUR ($3 USD).

A bright red theater with a curved arch on top. The bottom front of the theater is bright white in contrast.
Teatro Petruzzelli, through Michele Ursi on Shutterstock.

See a present at Teatro Petruzzelli

Teatro Petruzzelli is the guts of inventive tradition in Bari and a phenomenal place to catch a present when you’re on the town. 

Again within the 1800s, Bari residents have been dissatisfied with the theater that they had and known as for a brand new theater with decrease ticket costs and extra seats. After many delays, Teatro Petruzzelli was lastly inbuilt 1903 and rapidly grew to become one of many highlights of the Italian opera scene, internet hosting Italy’s most interesting singers, together with Luciano Pavarotti. 

Sadly, the constructing was burned down in 1991 however reopened in 2009 within the authentic fashion. At the moment you’ll be able to watch ballet, opera, concert events, and extra on the gorgeous theater. Examine the calendar to see what’s taking part in and to see ticket costs. 

A theater in Bari Italy set against the sunset. The theater is sand-colored and has two spindly towers.
Teatro Margherita in Bari Italy, through Shutterstock

View artwork at Teatro Margherita

Teatro Margherita, set on the ocean in Bari, is among the metropolis’s most well-known and exquisite buildings. After a hearth in 1910 destroyed the picket construction, Teatro Margherita was rebuilt on bolstered concrete pillars within the sea, making it one in every of Europe’s solely buildings on stilts. 

After a few years as a theater and cinema, Teatro Margherita was transformed into a recent artwork museum that opened in 2018. It hosts visiting reveals from photographers around the globe.

A seafood market in Bari, Italy, with paper plates covered with shrimp and lemon slices.
Visiting a meals market is a should in Bari Italy!

Take a cooking class in Bari

If the ladies making orecchiette on the road impressed you, there’s no higher technique to get to know Bari’s meals tradition than with a hands-on cooking class

In this market tour and cooking class expertise, your host will lead you on a tour of an area meals market, then again to their dwelling for a cooking class that includes native elements and three household recipes.

This small group cooking class will educate you how one can put together pasta and tiramisu, two Italian favorites, within the kitchen of an area dwelling. You’ll start with a glass of Prosecco and finish by tasting your creations.

Or on this Puglian cooking expertise you’ll be able to put collectively a full menu full with appetizers, first course, second course, and dessert in a Bari dwelling kitchen or out within the countryside.

Kate wears a red dress with an asymmetrical hemline and poses in front of the city of Matera: stone towers and homes built on top of a row of sassi (caves).
Matera is a magical day journey from Bari Italy.

Take a day journey to Matera

From Bari you’ll be able to simply discover a number of different areas in Puglia — and even jump over the border to neighboring Basilicata. One journey that I strongly advocate is Matera, a novel stone metropolis that has been a filming location for films together with The Ardour of the Christ and No Time to Die (which was filming once I was there!).

Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Website, and nowhere else appears like Matera. Generally known as the stone metropolis, individuals lived in Matera’s cliffside caves known as sassi, with out electrical energy or water, as late because the mid-Twentieth century. It was known as “Italy’s disgrace.”

At the moment, no one resides within the caves anymore — and Matera has been reinvented as a tourism hotspot, even serving as Italy’s Capital of Tradition in 2019. (You may not be stunned to be taught that lots of the sassi have been transformed into luxurious lodges.)

Whether or not you keep in a single day or simply go to for the day, Matera is nicely value exploring and photographing from each angle. It’s one in every of my private favourite Puglia day journeys.

Matera is about an hour’s drive from Bari. If you happen to’re choose to discover by tour, you’ll be able to be part of a Matera day tour from Bari.

A hand holding up an ice cream with white buildings and blue boats in the background.
Gelato and the previous harbor…my favourite mixture in Monopoli.

Take a day journey to Monopoli

One other nice day journey from Bari is to one in every of my favourite locations in Puglia: Monopoli! Monopoli is a superb little seaside city that I believe has the proper stage of tourism growth. It’s beautiful and alluring, but not fairly as overwhelmed with tourism as Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast.

Monopoli’s previous city oozes with appeal and is the proper place to take pleasure in a calming day wandering alongside the whitewashed buildings with forest inexperienced doorways and shutters. You’ll want to discover the church buildings, eat a number of gelato and panzerotti with a view of the previous port, and take a dip within the sea on the city’s seaside.

Monopoli is a few 40-minute drive or bus journey from Bari; the prepare ought to get you there in about half-hour, and it’s a 10-minute stroll to the Outdated City from the prepare station. (And in case you’d prefer to hit up two cities in at some point, Polignano a Mare is correct subsequent door and in addition has a prepare cease.)

Conical white and gray "trulli" homes with a pointy roof.
Alberobello is a enjoyable day journey to soak up the trulli of the Val d’Itria.

Take a day journey to Alberobello

All through the Puglian countryside, you’ll see white conical limestone homes known as trulli (singular: trullo). When you’ll come throughout a number of trulli right here and there, there’s a city that’s jam-packed with tons of trulli, multi functional spot: Alberobello.

The trulli of Alberobello earned UNESCO World Heritage standing. They’re not simply right here to look fairly and maintain you cool in the summertime — the trulli are additionally an engineering marvel, constructed within the 1500s with out mortar and nonetheless standing to at the present time.

Wander the city and get misplaced amongst the trulli, being attentive to the one trulli church and solely two-story trulli. At the moment, most of Alberobello’s 1500+ trulli function as retailers, eating places, museums, or lodging for guests, reasonably than as houses for native residents.  

Alberobello is within the coronary heart of the Val d’Itria area in Puglia, the place you’ll discover extra trulli, charming cities, seashores, and native produce. When you’ve got your personal automobile, I extremely advocate stopping at Locorotondo, a quiet however very fairly little city close to Alberobello with countryside views filled with trulli.

Need to go to each Alberobello and Matera from Bari in a single day? Try this tour that can take you to each UNESCO World Heritage Websites. This can be a nice choice in case you don’t have a automobile and wish to make good use of your restricted time in Italy.

Learn Extra: The Trulli of Alberobello, Italy

A bright white city in Italy perched on a hill underneath a bright blue sky.
Ostuni is a spectacular metropolis to {photograph} at golden hour. By way of Shutterstock.

Take a day journey to Ostuni

Generally known as the White Metropolis, Ostuni is among the hottest locations to go to in Puglia and a straightforward day journey from Bari. Ostuni is one in every of my favourite locations to {photograph} from afar — it’s an ideal white hill city, simply sitting within the countryside.

However when you’re on the town, it’s a stunning place to simply wander and discover. Strolling across the previous city or up on the town partitions gives you a phenomenal view of Ostuni’s structure and the town beneath. 

Ostuni is about an hour’s drive from Bari and makes a great place in case you’re visiting spots additional south within the Salento area, like Lecce. This can be a VERY standard spot for day trippers in Puglia, and visiting early or late can have a a lot quieter environment.

Whereas there’s a prepare station in Ostuni with hourlong trains from Bari, the station is definitely an extended distance from the previous city, and also you’ll in all probability have to get a taxi in case you don’t have a automobile of your personal. You may as well go to Ostuni from Bari on a day tour, comparable to this one that visits Ostuni, Cisternino, and Polignano a Mare.  

Figurines in a nativity scene on display in Bari, Italy.
I liked the nativity scenes on show in Bari, even in the summertime.

How A lot Time to Spend in Bari, Italy

Bari is a superb place to go to, however you don’t must commit lots of your restricted trip time right here. Half a day is sufficient time to see the principle sights and discover the historic middle of Bari; a full day will let you dive into extra museums and historic sights.

You may use Bari as your base to journey round Puglia, although I truthfully advocate close by Monopoli as an alternative. It’s simply as handy as Bari, you probably have a automobile, and I discover it extra charming. If you happen to do select to remain in Bari, be sure you have a plan in your automobile, because it’s not straightforward to park right here.

Whereas I strongly advocate renting a automobile to discover Puglia, in case you don’t have one, Bari makes a great place to base your self. You’ll discover essentially the most in depth bus, prepare, and tour connections in Puglia from Bari. 

A woman's hands rolling out a long skinny tube of pasta dough with her knife ready to cut it into ear-shaped pieces.
The orecchiette women within the previous city are one in every of my favourite highlights of Bari Italy.

The place to Keep in Bari, Italy

If you happen to’re going to remain in a single day in Bari, I like to recommend staying within the metropolis middle so that you’ll be inside strolling distance of a lot of the metropolis’s sights. 

Bari Vecchia, the Outdated City, is a superb space to immerse your self in Bari’s historical past and environment. Close by Murat is a area identified for buying and nightlife, whereas Quartiere Umbertino is a extra native, hipster neighborhood identified for its nice eating places. 

The entire suggestions beneath are centrally positioned and a straightforward stroll to the Outdated City.

  • Prime-Rated Luxurious Lodge in Bari, Italy: Dilman Luxury Keep affords giant trendy rooms and a scrumptious buffet breakfast only a stone’s throw from Bari’s high sights. Improve to a spa room or suite with a terrace for much more luxurious. 
  • Prime-Rated Mid-range Lodge in Bari, Italy: B&Z LUXURY boasts sea and metropolis views from their smooth rooms, Italian breakfast within the morning, and an incredible central location.  
  • Prime-Rated Finances Lodge in Bari, Italy: Mattress and Breakfast Oz is simply outdoors the town middle (20-minute stroll to Bari Vecchia) and affords easy double or twin rooms with breakfast. 
Laundry hanging on a line strung between two balconies on a quiet street in Italy.
I like to recommend visiting Puglia in spring and fall in case you can.

Finest Time to Go to Bari

Not like extra touristy components of southern Italy, Bari by no means will get overwhelmingly crowded with vacationers. The Amalfi Coast this isn’t!

That mentioned, there’s a excessive season throughout the summer season months when the town is busier. Typically cruise ships dock right here, bringing a number of shore excursions, but it surely’s nowhere on the extent of, say, what Dubrovnik was a number of years in the past.

My favourite time to go to Puglia is throughout the shoulder season — spring and fall — when the crowds are smaller and the climate remains to be good. I like to recommend visiting in early June or late September if you wish to expertise summer season climate and swimming within the sea with out the massive crowds of July and August. 

A quiet street in Bari with an altar to the Virgin Mary and some bicycles parked.
Bicycles and the Virgin Mary — the dichotomy of Bari Italy.

Is Bari value it?

I’ve at all times felt just like the vacationers who land in Bari and promptly depart for smaller villages are lacking out. Bari may not be the prettiest place to spend time in Puglia, but it surely’s an fascinating metropolis with so much to supply.

On the very least, I like to recommend spending a half day in Bari as a result of it gives you a glimpse of the Puglian life fashion that’s typically hidden from the extra touristy cities.

I hope you have got the very best time in Bari! Have some orecchiette for me.

Extra on Puglia, Italy:

Planning a Journey to Italy:

Cool Locations in Southern Italy:

Cool Locations in Northern Italy:

Have you ever been to Bari Italy? Any ideas? Share away!