At the beginning of May, I togehther with my friends did an exciting excursion to the heel of the Italian boot. We started with a walk in Bari and after we continued exploring almost the whole Puglia area and a bit of the Basilica. Let me share with you my impressions of Bari.
In a few words, I can describe it as a seaside town with a massive castle, an interesting historical center, two cathedrals and a lot of colors – ink blue from the sea, light blue from the azure sky, predominantly white and pale yellow in buildings and bright shades along the old streets.
Bari is the administrative center of the Puglia region, one of the 20 administrative districts in Italy, and one of the biggest Italian ports on the Adriatic coast. It is located in Southern Italy. You can reach it by car, ferry or airplane.
Top things to see in Bari
This section is dedicated to the most interesting places and things we saw in Bari. While we were traveling to the city center by the car we rented at the airport, I was impressed by the few olive-tree gardens inside the city. In the center we parked on a large parking lot near the castle. The parking fee was 1 euro per hour.
The Norman castle
Our first landmark in Bari was the Norman castle “Svevo” that was built in the first half of the 12th century. Nowadays the castle is used mainly for exhibitions. We have not entered it so I do not have impressions from inside of the castle. In front of it there were interesting statues of peppers, they formed a whole composition.
We stood a little in front of the castle and after we entered the Old town trough a small arch just opposite the castle gates.
Near the small arch in a small shop, two women manually kneaded pasta and shaped it like mussels. The pasta was of two types of dough – gray and white.
Something we saw on this and on the other streets was the colorful laundry hanging from the balconies covered with nylons as a precaution against the damp air here.
Other things that impressed me were different colorful motifs on the balconies, most of which hand made – colorful decorations, pots, different objects.
The third thing was the souvenir shops with colorful showcases. Many of their tourist magnets boards were dominated by different Bari pictures that were put inside large black mussels – as a symbol of one of the traditional local foods.
The cathedral of Saint Sabine
The next site in Bari we visited was the great Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Sabine, which style, as we were explained, was typical for the region of Puglia.
A very interesting decoration of the cathedral’s facade is the statues of St. Nicholas, St. Mary and St. Sabin, as well as the exquisite rosette. On the side of the cathedral there is a large brick building, and behind it stands the magnificent tower – the bell tower of the cathedral, the highest building in the whole city of Bari.
The church of St. Nicholas
Another site was the church of St. Nicholas, near the promenade. It is very beautiful, both inside and outside.
On the main altar there is an impressive statue of St. Nicholas in very expensive 18th-century clothes. St. Nicholas is the patron of Bari.
It is also interesting to go down to the crypt, where you can see a stone coffin with relics of saint Nicholas.
After that we walked to the nearby promenade which stretched to the remains of the fortress walls of the city. The entire alley is about 9 km long and is one of the longest in Italy.
Longer is only the Trieste alley. Below the promenade and under the walls there is a large boulevard. Until recently, the sea washed the fortress walls. This coastal street has been grabbed by the sea using concrete. It happened during Mussolini times.
We continued the walk along the promenade to the yacht harbor and nearby theater. There was a Ferris wheel on the other side.
The Piazza del Ferazere
Near the theater there is a large square – Piazza del Ferazere, which is nice-looking, but quite crowded. It actually separates the Old town from the new part of the city.
This square was one of the last places in our walk. We wanted to buy ice cream somewhere around the square, but there were big tails, so we went back to the labyrinth of old and narrow streets of the historical center of Bari and found a quiet little ice cream store . The ice cream was really delicious. It is definitely one of the things to try there.