Old and New Splendour
With around 330,000 inhabitants, Bari, which was also called the "Gateway to the Orient" in ancient times, is the largest city in the Puglia region. The large port is served not only by container ships, but also by ferries to the opposite coast of the Adriatic, for example to the cities of Dubrovnik, Kefalonia, Corfu, or Durres. The city is also a popular destination for cruise ships. In the new town, with its chessboard-like streets, you will find splendid town houses and elegant shops. The historic town centre with its narrow streets, small stores, bars - and incomparable flair - is located on the peninsula extending into the sea at the harbour.
Walk Through the Old Town
There are more than 30 churches in Bari Vecchia, the old town district. The most famous of these are also two important pilgrimage sites: the Cattedrale di San Sabino, in whose crypt Saint Sabinus, Bishop of Canusin, is buried, and the magnificent Basilica San Nicola, which houses the relics of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. A striking feature of the old town are the many arches that stretch across the streets. The most famous is the Arco Meraviglia, named after a Milanese family of that name who built the arch to connect their two homes. For a short espresso break, it's worth taking a detour to the large Piazza Mercantile on the edge of the old town.
Pasta Makes you Happy
The morning is a very busy time on Via Arco Basso, Bari's pasta street. Here you can watch orecchiette being made. These are the little ear-shaped pasta that Bari is famous for. Those who have a holiday flat can buy fresh pasta to make at their accommodation. After all, they need to be consumed quickly, as they are not dried. This makes them less than suitable as souvenirs - unless you buy them the day before your flight home. However, the many restaurants in the old town, for example the Cantina dello Zio in Strada Palazzo di Città 51, are happy to provide fresh orecchiette dishes to all visitors who have worked up an appetite.
From the Castello to the City Beach
Not to be overlooked is the Castello Normanno-Svevo di Bari fortress at the harbour, which is the city's landmark. The castle, whose origins date back to the 12th century, was extensively restored in 2017 and now houses a museum dedicated to the history of the fortress. Also worth seeing is the Gipsoteca, an exhibition of plaster castings of famous sculptures from Puglia. Some of the halls of the fortress are reserved for temporary exhibitions, often including modern art. Here’s a tip for your subsequent walk to the city beach Pane e Pomodoro: a detour to Antica Gelateria Gentile at Piazza Federico II di Svevia 33. This ice cream parlour is also very popular with the locals, as is the city's beautiful and clean beach.
Gourmet Indulgence in the New Town
When evening comes, a trip to the new town is always a good idea. A tip for fine dining in the new town is the Ristorante Opera at 151 Via Niccolò Piccinni. The antipasti menu here is exceptional - from beef tartar with black salt, chocolate and stracciatella, to tacos with fried tuna and vegetables. The main dishes are also stylish, especially the oven-roasted rockfish, or the grilled shrimp on black Venus rice. The nightlife in Bari is not limited to the countless bars in the old town, but also around the Piazza del Ferrarese in the new town. Students from the city's university, locals, and tourists like to meet here to drink, party, dance - or just sit back and enjoy the view.
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