Places to visit in Bari
Bari International Airport is situated only 8 km (5 miles) from the large port city of Bari. Bari is situated on the Adriatic coast, in the southern region of Puglia, and is the capital of this Italian region. Puglia is often referred to as the ‘heel of Italy’s boot’ as it is the relatively flat, south-easterly tip of Italy. Bari does not have a reputation for being a famous tourist location, but there still are a couple of interesting sights to see. Many visitors spend a few nights in Bari before they move on to the more popular tourist destinations.
Visitors of Bari will have a wonderful time exploring the streets of the ‘Old City’. Along the way, one can stop at one of the many local, and family-run bakeries, which offer traditional Italian style confectionaries, such as orecchiette pasta and calzoni. The best pizza in the country is also found here. The streets are an intricate maze, easily explored on foot, but perhaps be prepared to get lost during some stage of your adventure!
While you are wandering the streets of the Old City, make sure that you stop at the Basilica di San Nicola, and right next to it, the Cathedral di San Sabino. The Basilica di San Nicola is Bari’s most famous church, and it was built in the eleventh century. It is dedicated to St. Nicholas, or who is more commonly known as Santa Claus. The church was actually built to house his remains, which are still in the crypt. The church itself offers many beautiful sights, including a marble bishop’s throne, also known as the Cattedra di Elia, and an elaborate stone canopy over the alter. From the outside of the church, one can admire the carved stone doorways. The Cathedral di San Sabino has existed for more than 900 years, and even still has its original timber roof. It is also pleasant to walk the areas surrounding the churches, as there is a lovely walkway nearby that takes you along the old town walls, and has terrific views of the sea. Nice little souvenir shops can also be found in the vicinity of the churches.
What would an Italian city be without a castle, and Bari is no exception. Bari’s castle is called the Castello Svevo, or the ‘Swabian Castle’. It is rather an imposing fortress overlooking the sea, and it is open to inspection by the public. Another castle near Bari is the Castel del Monte. It was built by Emperor Frederick II in 1240, one of the 200 castles that he built. The Castel Del Monte is quite impressive. It has eight rooms on each floor, and also features eight eight-sided towers, and is actually an octagonal castle. The castle was used as a prison after the middle ages, and later abandoned.
Shopping in Bari is best done in the new town, which is mostly occupied by busy, traffic-filled streets. The best street to go to is Via Sparano, which is actually specifically for pedestrians, and features many shops with high-end brand names. Visitors may also like to take a trip to the old port, called Porto Vecchio, where one can see fisherman going about their daily tasks in small wooden boats. They sell their fish at the waterfront.
Bari has an art gallery, the Pinacoteca Provinciale ‘Corrado Giaquinto’. It can be found on the seafront of Lungomare Nazario Sauro, and features a variety of paintings and sculptures, covering a period from the eleventh to the nineteenth century. Bari’s most popular museum is the Museo Archeologico, and it is also situated in the new town. It has a fascinating collection of artifacts from the local region, including items from the Peucetic and Messapian people.
Another interesting spot to visit is the Castelana Cave. It was discovered in 1938 by Franco Anelli, and before then only used as a dumping ground. The caves are usually visited with a tour guide, and there are two different tours to choose from. One covers about 1 km of ground, while the other about 2 km. The tour begins at a huge, 60 m deep cave, called the Grave. It is also 100 m wide. The second path ends up at the white grotto, but not everyone wishes to enter, as the cave has no natural ventilation.
Whether you arrive at Bari Airport to explore Bari completely, or simply to stay overnight, your experience at the airport, hotels and tourist destinations are sure to be pleasant.