Whether you’re a history buff, a food connoisseur, or just a leisure traveler, Bari, the capital city of southern Italy’s Apulia region, promises an enriching day trip that leaves you yearning for more. Famous for its sparkling coastline, impressive historical architecture, and exquisite cuisine, this charming city serves as the perfect escape from your daily routine.
Morning: Discovering Historical Bari
Begin your day in Bari with a walk through the cobbled streets of Bari Vecchia, the city’s charming old town. Amidst the winding lanes, you’ll find the majestic Basilica di San Nicola, an important pilgrimage site housing the relics of St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus. The church’s impressive Romanesque architecture, combined with its spiritual significance, makes it a must-visit location.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Basilica is Bari’s Castle, Castello Normanno-Svevo. Dating back to the 12th century, this well-preserved fortress was commissioned by Roger II of Sicily. The castle now hosts a museum with a range of exhibits that provide an interesting peek into the city’s past.
Midday: The Tastes of Bari
No trip to Italy is complete without indulging in its world-renowned cuisine, and Bari, with its unique culinary traditions, offers a cornucopia of flavours to explore. For lunch, try a plate of orecchiette, a local pasta shape that’s named for its resemblance to ‘little ears’. Often served with cime di rapa (turnip tops), this dish is a true Apulian staple.
Post-lunch, visit a local bakery or gelateria and treat your taste buds to ‘focaccia Barese,’ a popular regional variation of focaccia that’s denser and typically topped with tomatoes, olives, and olive oil. Don’t forget to cool down with some handmade gelato, offering a multitude of flavors ranging from traditional vanilla and chocolate to local fruit favorites like fragola (strawberry) and limone (lemon).
Afternoon: Experiencing Bari’s Life and Culture
Spend the afternoon walking off your lunch along the beautiful Lungomare, Bari’s picturesque seaside promenade. The walk offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and a feel for the local life as you pass by fishermen mending their nets, children playing, and locals engaged in friendly conversation.
Next, pay a visit to the Margherita Theatre, a magnificent structure that appears to float on water. If you’re lucky, you might catch a live performance in this historical theatre.
For the art enthusiasts, the Pinacoteca Provinciale di Bari, an art gallery featuring works from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, is an absolute delight.
Evening: Sunset and Seafood
As the day winds down, head towards Pane e Pomodoro Beach. This popular spot isn’t just a great place for a late afternoon swim; it’s also the perfect location to watch a breathtaking Italian sunset.
For dinner, Bari’s seafront restaurants provide some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. Savor dishes like risotto ai frutti di mare (seafood risotto) or cozza pelosa (mussels in white wine), while enjoying views of the sea.
To wrap up the day, take a leisurely stroll through the Piazza Mercantile and the Piazza Ferrarese, squares bustling with nightlife. Here, you’ll find a variety of bars and cafes where you can sip a glass of Primitivo, a full-bodied red wine from the region,