bari puglia port

Bari, a coastal gem nestled in the heart of Puglia, is a city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and culinary delights. If you find yourself with just a day to explore this charming destination, fear not – we’ve curated a guide to ensure you experience the essence of Bari. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a whirlwind tour of “Bari in a Day”.

Travelling to Bari by Car: Parking Tips

For travelers exploring Bari by car, finding convenient and secure parking is essential to ensure a hassle-free day. Two popular parking options are Piazzale Cristoforo Colombo Parking and Via Ruggiero Il Normanno. Here’s how to navigate to these parking spots:

Parcheggio Piazzale Cristoforo Colombo:

Located conveniently near the historic center, Parcheggio Piazzale Cristoforo Colombo is a well-maintained parking facility that provides easy access to the Old Bari district and many of the city’s attractions. Fee is €1 per hour

Via Ruggiero Il Normanno:

Another convenient parking option, Via Ruggiero Il Normanno is strategically located, providing easy access to the city’s main attractions. It may have designated parking areas, some of which may operate on a paid basis. Check for signage or inquire about fees and payment methods upon arrival.

General Tips for Parking in Bari:
  • ZTL Zones: Be aware of Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL) zones, restricted traffic areas, in the city center. Piazzale Cristoforo Colombo and Via Ruggiero Il Normanno are outside these zones, making them suitable parking choices.
  • Early Arrival: To secure a parking spot, especially during peak hours or tourist seasons, consider arriving early in the day.
  • Payment Methods: Carry some cash for parking fees, as not all parking facilities may accept credit cards.

1. Visit the Old Bari District

Start your day by immersing yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of the Old Bari district, known as Bari Vecchia. Wander through narrow alleys adorned with colorful laundry hanging from balconies and discover hidden piazzas where locals gather.

2. Stop at Basilica San Nicola

Dedicate some time to explore the Basilica di San Nicola. The Basilica di San Nicola stands as a testament to both architectural grandeur and profound religious significance. Nestled within the heart of Bari Vecchia, this revered church has been a beacon of spirituality for centuries. However, the true allure of the basilica lies not just in its stunning architecture but in the captivating history of the saint it is dedicated to – Saint Nicholas. Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus, rests here, making it a pilgrimage destination for many.

The Legacy of Saint Nicholas: Saint Nicholas, also known as Nikolaos of Myra, was a Christian bishop who lived during the 4th century in the city of Myra, located in present-day Turkey. He became widely known for his acts of kindness, generosity, and miracles, which earned him the reputation of a protector of children, sailors, and the less fortunate.

After his death, the relics of Saint Nicholas were believed to possess miraculous powers. In the 11th century, Italian merchants from Bari sought to safeguard these sacred remains from Muslim rule in Myra. In a daring mission, they succeeded in bringing the saint’s relics to Bari. The arrival of the relics on May 9, 1087, marked a momentous occasion, celebrated with the construction of the Basilica di San Nicola to house the revered remains.

3. Move to Cattedrale di San Sabino

Next on your itinerary is the Cattedrale di San Sabino. This grand cathedral boasts a unique blend of architectural styles, including elements of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine influences. Take a moment to appreciate the serene beauty of the cathedral and its surroundings.

san sabino

4. Castello Svevo

As you traverse the charming streets of Bari, your journey through time wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Castello Svevo, the imposing fortress that stands as a silent sentinel, guarding the city’s rich medieval history. Also known as the Swabian Castle, this architectural marvel is a captivating blend of military strength, strategic design, and a witness to the ebbs and flows of centuries.

One of the highlights of visiting Castello Svevo is the breathtaking panoramic views it offers. Ascend to the top of the towers, and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping vistas of the Adriatic Sea and the city of Bari.

5. Arco Basso towards Strada Barone

As you stroll through Arco Basso towards Strada Barone, be sure to engage your senses in the delightful aroma of handmade pasta being made by local women. Witnessing this age-old tradition is a unique and authentic experience that adds a touch of charm to your day.

Here, the tradition of handcrafted pasta, particularly the iconic orecchiette, is more than a culinary practice – it’s a cultural expression that has been passed down through generations. As you explore the narrow street, you’ll likely encounter skilled women seated on doorsteps, shaping pasta with their hands – a timeless tradition that weaves together the flavors and stories of Bari.

The tradition of handmade pasta in Bari is deeply rooted in the region’s culinary heritage, reflecting the simplicity and authenticity of Apulian cuisine. Among the various pasta shapes crafted by skilled hands, orecchiette holds a special place in the hearts of Bari’s locals. The name “orecchiette” translates to “little ears” in Italian, a fitting description for these small, concave pasta discs that are carefully shaped to resemble tiny earlobes.

6. Teatro Petruzzelli

For a touch of sophistication, head to Teatro Petruzzelli, one of the largest opera houses in Italy. Even if you don’t catch a performance, the sheer grandeur of the building is worth admiring.

teatro petruzzelli bari
Teatro Petruzzelli

7. Bari’s Seaside Stroll: Lungomare and the Adriatic Symphony

The Lungomare stretches along the Adriatic Sea, providing a panoramic view of the azure waters and the horizon beyond. This scenic coastal promenade serves as a tranquil haven for locals and visitors alike, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and cultural immersion.

Historical Highlights Along the Lungomare: As you embark on your leisurely stroll along the Lungomare, you’ll encounter several historical landmarks that add depth to Bari’s maritime narrative. Keep an eye out for:

  • Forte di Sant’Antonio: A historic fortress perched at the water’s edge, the Forte di Sant’Antonio dates back to the 16th century. It stands as a silent witness to centuries of maritime activities and serves as a scenic backdrop for your walk.
  • La Banchina di San Nicola: A charming pier extending into the Adriatic, La Banchina di San Nicola is a popular spot for locals to gather and enjoy the sea breeze. The view of the old town from this vantage point is particularly captivating.
  • Il Teatro Margherita: Along the Lungomare, you’ll find the historic Teatro Margherita, a 19th-century theater that once hosted performances and cultural events. Today, it stands as a cultural space, contributing to Bari’s vibrant arts scene.
  • N’derr’ a la lanz: This is the site of the Fishermen’s Market mentioned earlier, where the day’s catch is proudly displayed, and the air is filled with the lively banter of local fishermen. It’s an authentic glimpse into the daily life of Bari’s coastal community.

Best Places to Eat

No visit to Bari is complete without indulging in its delectable cuisine. For an authentic culinary experience, consider dining at MastroCiccio, where traditional Apulian flavors take center stage. Here you can taste the famous panzerotto. To satisfy your sweet tooth, make a pit stop at Gelateria Gentile for a scoop of their exquisite gelato.

Best tours and activities

Check some of the recommended tours to take in Bari:

Bari Street Food Tour on Segway: Explore Bari and discover picturesque and hidden corners with an expert local guide. Enjoy the ride on an eco-friendly Segway and indulge in delicious street food.

Bike-Rickshaw City Tour: Treat yourself to an outstanding tour in Bari on board an eco-friendly rickshaw. Discover an unexpected way to experience the picturesque and hidden corners of the old town with the help of a guide.

Pasta Experience Walking Tour: Explore the city with a local guide and live in a real Italian atmosphere on a walking tour around Bari. Make your own pasta, enjoy Primitivo wine, and taste homemade Italian ice cream.

Bari by boat: admire the city from the sea with Aperitivo: Take in the city from the sea on a charming vintage gozzo boat and savor the moment with aperitivo and swimming.

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