The Internet's most comprehensive Travel website for Italy
Use quote marks to search for exact names eg "Hotel Florence"

Il Rotundo di Longomare, Bari
by Mario Conti

Basilica San Nicola, Bari
by Mario Conti

Chiesa San Gregorio, Bari
Guenther Wanker

Teatro Margherita, Bari

Swabian Castle, Bari

Welcome to Bari, Puglia (Apulia)
from Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 312,452 (2002)
Official site:

The capital of the Puglia region and the Province of Bari, after Naples, Bari, with a population of just over 326,000 people is the second largest city on the southern part of the talian mainland.  Another 275,000 people live in the metropolitan area, but the area is more contained than other large cities and therefore, does not present as much disconcerting sprawl.

Situated on the Adriatic Coast, the city is a major industrial city in Southern Italy, and has been a major commercial, fishing and ferry port for centuries.  First settled by  the Peuceti an ancient Italic tribe, the area has been successively dominated by Greek colonists, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, the Aragons, the Angevins, the Holy Roman Empire, then the Bourbons under Napoleon.  It was incorporated into the modern country of Italy in 1861.

Bari has three distinct parts: "old town" on a peninsula to the north , the Murattianno to the south, and the central area, which is a major shopping and office zone, in the middle area.

The old town north of the city has a collection of ancient buildings including the substantial Basilica of San Nicola (built in 1087 AD), done in the Palatine style, the Cathedral of San Sabino (built between 1035-1171 AD) and the Swabian - or Norman Castle, actually built by Frederik II, the Holy Roman Emperor, on the ruins of a Norman castle.

Notwithstanding the tone set by the dominant religious architecture, a number of trendy restaurants and nightclubs have sprung-up to foster a very vibrant nightlife.

The most dominating building in old town is the the Cattedrale di Baria (San Sabino) around which are clustered four major  piazzi - Piazza Odegitria, Piazza San  Sabino, Piazza Bisanzio and Piazza Rainaldo.  Emanating from these piazzi is a network of narrow streets and alleys, on which one finds more churches and other sacred buildings interspersed amongst the many shops, cafes and restaurants.

Proceeding along the Street of the Crusades (Strada delle Crociate) toward the "new" city's busy heart, one encounters the charming Chiesa di San Marco, which was the gravitational center for a colony of Venetian merchants who settled there in Middle Ages.

The city's busy modern heart, originally laid out on a grid plan in the 1700s experienced rapid growth in the the 1960s and 1970s features commercial offices, but also some of Bari's finest shops, mostly along the Via Argiro and Via Sparano.  The most important piazza in the area is the Piazza Maggiore, on the edge of which sits a major government building, the Palazzo di Citta.  A number of Baroque churches with impressive interiors, such as the Chiesa di Santa Chiara and Chiesa di San Gaetano were also built. Ever newer areas, with the usual glass clad office towers spread further inland from this area.

The Corso Vitorio Emanuel follows the waterfront to the Murattianno area (named after Joachim Murat, King of Naples from 1808-1815) further south.  The harbor here is fronted by a long promenade where one can while-away the hours with a good stroll, or even a jog.  A number of yacht harbors snuggle the wall, to provide the merely rich and the immensely wealth with places to tie-up for a bit of onshore fun, shopping or business.

Running parallel and sometimes on the promenade is a part of the ancient medieval wall, the Muraglia, that at one time surrounded the City. Another imposing building, 20th Century building can be found here, the Teatro Margherita, done in the Art Nouveau style.  Also of interest, the Palazzo dell' Acquedotto and the Palazzo Ateneo, home to the University.

During its long history, Bari's fortunes have waxed and waned, going through periods of immense prosperity followed by periods of crushing poverty and despair.  During the mid-20th century, it enjoyed growth and prosperity, but today, as Italians adjust to membership in the European Union and global competition, there is a certain feeling of declining spirits.

Like Pescara in Abruzzo and Ancona in The Marches, Bari is a city with a chaotic modern tempo, and an often scruffy industrial appearance, especially at various points along the waterfront and on the spreading outskirts of the city.

At first it is tough for travelers and tourists to like.  But, not too far below it's rough surfaces is a Bari, surprisingly sophisticated, and well worth taking the time to discover over the course of a few days.

Puglia Region



Lecce - km; Bari - km; Foggia - km; Taranto - km; Brindisi - km; Pescara - km.

By Car: A14 from the North from Bologna, Pescar, Termoli. E55 from the south from Brindisi and Lecce. E843 from Taranto. A16 to A14 from Naples.
Train/Bus: All major lines.
Air: Palese Airport


Un edicola votiva, Bari
by Mario Conti

Old quarter, Bari
by Mario Conti
Did you know?
Bari plays host to the Fiera del Levant every September.  This trade show is the second largest trade show in Italy after the Fair of Milan.