Reasons to see Bari, A City of Italy.
With a stunning old town, bustling traditional harbour and Italy’s best beaches nearby, the Italian port city of Bari is worth a visit.
The old harbour is just a place where life continues as it has for centuries. This is where the standard fishing boats land their catches and sell their seafood straight off their boats, where nets are repaired and raucous jokes are shared. The Old Harbour can also be the very best place to start your tour of Lungomare, the imposing seafront built by Mussolini. In true fascist style, it’s the longest and grandest seafront in Italy, but as is the way in which of the locals, that pretension is well and truly pricked by the lively bars, restaurants and cafes that line the path.
Sitting on a peninsula overlooking the old harbour, Bari Vecchio is just a labyrinth of twisting alleys, cobbled streets and small piazzas, begging to be explored. Within the thick stone walls you’ll find are 40 churches, a cathedral and the Basilica St Nicholas, built specifically to house the bones of Santa, stolen from Myra in Turkey by Barese sailors.
The beaches in Bari start along the Longomare and continue going. The south coast is dotted with countless coves and bays, each boasting gorgeous beaches, atmospheric seaside towns and dazzling blue waters. The crystal blue waters in Polignano a Mare are particularly tempting and you’re able to choose between rocky and sand beaches. Cala Porto is fabled for its smooth white pebbles. Porto Cavallo is sandy. Cala Paura is just a favourite with locals. If you’ll need a beach with all the current amenities, visit San Giovanni. It’s got showers, umbrellas, sun loungers and beach huts.
The region of Puglia is fabled for its cucina povera (literally translated as ‘food of the poor’), a cuisine that’s simple and tasty and uses only seasonal and local ingredients. The most typical – and best loved – manifestation of that philosophy is orecchiette, a uniquely Pugliese pasta. Another Bari speciality is riso, patate e cozze.
The great folk of Bari may have a reputation for being a little rough and ready, but they are really quite a cultured lot. The harbour-front Teatro Margherita, originally opened in 1914, is one of the city’s most loved and iconic buildings.