There are several places that can be reached from the city of Bari: nature spots, archaeological sites and architectural gems that are certainly worth the excursions to visit during your stay in Puglia’s capital city.
A concentration of history, energy, warmth.
The ancient city of Bari stands on a peninsula jutting out into the Adriatic Sea and it boasts an abundance of historical monuments and unexplored niches just waiting to be discovered. But its greatest character can be sampled in the alleyways and courtyards where little children play carefree while adults chat in the local dialect or prepare orecchiette (the fresh pasta shaped like “little ears” that originates right here in Bari). Speaking of food, Apulian cuisine is in fact one of the best known in Italy, characterised by lively Mediterranean flavours, which can be rich and surprising as well as light and sweet.
The city of Bari has always been connected to the most diverse cultures, so it’s no coincidence that its architecture reflects past commercial and cultural associations with various civilisations. It would be remiss to not mention the magnificent Basilica of San Nicola (12th century) which is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, or St Sabino Cathedral (12th century), an amazing example of architecture inspired by the summer solstice. Other monuments in the old city include Fortino di Sant’Antonio Abate which was built in 1300 as a fortress, and the grandiose Norman-Swabian Castle – one of the most significant Romanesque monuments in Italy – built by Roger the Norman in 1131, then completely destroyed in 1156, and rebuilt at the behest of King Frederick II of Swabia in 1223.
Another great testimonial to Apulian art and culture is the Corrado Giaquinto Art Gallery which houses paintings and items of furniture as well as sculptures and clothing from the year 1000 onwards.
Then of course there’s the younger part of the city expressing its contemporary culture. The Sala Murat located in the famous Piazza del Ferrarese, and the Teatro Margherita overlooking the sea, frequently host exhibitions and original modern art events.
And finally, for those wanting to discover the city’s rich history, Bari Underground is a night-time guided tour that traverses the old city, setting out from the basement of the Norman-Swabian Castle.
A village by the sea where poetry reigns supreme. Lama Monachile Beach, one of the best known beaches in Puglia, was formed from the bed of a stream that flowed into the sea. Today it offers a breathtaking landscape of pristine water against a stunning backdrop of ancient houses clinging to sheer rock faces.
Here you can visit the celebrated Sassi, a landscape like none other in the world. The complex of houses, churches, monasteries and hermitages are built into the natural caves of the Murgia, amid ravines, caves, and with exquisite works of art etched into the walls. The area shows evidence of occupation from the Palaeolithic period up until the 1960s, and is harmoniously integrated into the natural terrain and ecosystem.
The village of Alberobello has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The buildings that distinguish it are the Trulli, and the rustic constructions that are typical of some areas of Puglia including the Valle d’Itria which has ancient round dry-stone huts with conical roofs of limestone.
Castel del Monte is a XII century fortress built by King Frederick II of Swabia on a hill 540 metres above sea level. Its shape is geometrically perfect, with a uniquely octagonal shape and an octagonal tower at each corner which, theoretically, is an intermediate symbol between a square (representing the earth) and a circle (representing the sky).
The “white city”, regarded as the queen of the Valle d’Itria, is surrounded by ancient Aragonese defence walls, and features a sea of violets as well as alleyways vibrating with character and expression.