This is an excerpt from the book “Apulia”.

Bari Vecchia
Bari Vecchia – Photo © fiordiblog

Bari is the capital of the Apulia region of Italy. It’s the mezzogiorno’s (Italy’s south) largest city after Naples, and a bustling commercial center and port.

Bari is the largest and most important city of Apulia and stands on the Adriatic coast. It’s mainly famous for being one of the exit doors of Italy, where travelers leave on ferries for neighboring countries.

The city authorities, however, have been trying to raise its tourism profile and awareness on Bari’s old town, which has retained its ancient Mediaeval plan and contains many historic buildings and sites.

The old town was the heart of pre-Roman and Roman Bari and it is now possible to find several hip bars and restaurants open “from dusk till dawn” in this once dark and unsafe zone.

Getting in

By car: You can get to Bari by the A14 highway, which runs from Bologna to Taranto following the Adriatic coast.

By train: Bari is on the Adriatic coast train line, with connections to Bologna/Venice/Milan and Naples/Rome.

By boat: Bari is the destination for ferries incoming from the Greek port of Patra. If you are traveling on a Eurorail during the low season, the cost is 16 Euro, during the mid season, 31 Euro. There are also ships to Bar and Kotor (Montenegro), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and to Durras (Albania). Ferry operators are either Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries or Azzurraline.

To See

There a lot of places to see in Bari, especially in the ancient part of the city, called Bari Vecchia by locals. It’s a beautiful mediaeval quarter in which there are a lot of important churches. The cathedral of Saint Nicolaus, for instance, has a gold ceiling and a crypt.

Bari Vecchia
Bari Vecchia – Photo © rroby777

Folklore: San Trifone

There is a small town – 20 minutes outside of Bari named “Adelfia – Montrone”. The patron saint is San Trifone. November 9 is the start of a three day celebration. On November 9 in the early evening a giant beautiful balloon is release which signifies the start of the festival. On the 10th, the statue of San Trifone is brought out of the church and paraded around the town. Bands from all over Italy come and perform on the outdoor stage.

Fireworks are displayed throughout the evening into the early morning. The different men’s club compete on which club can have the biggest, loudest and most spectacular display.

Vendors surround the town with goods, food and gifts. Last year I counted over 200 parked buses from all over southern Italy. It really is a popular celebration. (By Margie Chiechi)

Bari folklore: The Saint of the city is Saint Nicolaus who is celebrated on December 6th . The city’s main celebration, however, takes place in May 6-8th with historical reconstructions, popular music and fireworks. For this event many pilgrims come from all over the world.

Where to stay in Bari

There are hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and apartments available, check them out and make a reservation here.