Bari is the capital of Puglia, a beautiful sunny town full of tradition and charm that leans over the Adriatic Sea. You enter into its historic quarters guided by the scent of “Friselle” sprinkled with fragrant olive oil and sun-ripened red tomatoes or the substantial smell of traditional “Panzerotti”. Only these culinary suggestions in themselves are good reasons to visit this town, but what are the best things to see in Bari? Let’s go to discover the 5 top-rated attractions of the town.
1. The “Lungomare” and the Port If you have a weakness for sunsets over the sea and you are in Bari, walk towards the Lungomare and enjoy this fantastic view, especially at sunset. The Bari waterfront was inaugurated in 1927 and today is one of the most famous walks in the town and a unique opportunity to admire a series of buildings in late Liberty style, and at the same time breathe the atmosphere of Bari, between green parks and an unparalleled panorama of the Adriatic Sea. The most famous part of the promenade includes Via Imperatore Augusto, Via Araldo di Corollalanza and Via Nazario Sauro, from the new port to the old port. In the Molo San Nicola every day dozens of fishermen, sea conditions permitting, sell their fish. Cuttlefish, octopus, sea urchins, mussels and many other delicacies of the local gastronomy represent the scenery of this suggestive corner of Bari with a view of the Margherita Theater, an art nouveau theater of the early 1900s. The people of Bari love this place, so much so that they frequent it regardless of the purchase of the fish, also because it is one of the meeting places of the town nightlife, especially during the summer.
2. Teatro Petruzzelli It is the largest theater in Bari and the fourth largest in Italy. The works for its construction began in 1886 and the inauguration took place in 1903 and since then almost all the most important cultural events of the town have passed through this theater. The artistic and cultural primacy of Teatro Petruzzelli suffered a severe blow in 1991with a fire that destroyed much of the structure. Since 2009, however, the theater has resumed its activity and its place in the “heart” of the town. Visiting it, therefore, goes beyond the passion for opera and dance: there are a hundred-year-old history and tradition that have come back to life after being hit almost to death.
3. Norman-Suevian Castle Built on the previous castle built by Roger the Norman in 1131 this building was completely destroyed in 1156 and rebuilt according to the will of Frederick II of Swabia in 1223. Today, like a thousand years ago, the Norman Suevian Castle stands on the old town of Bari, protecting its main entrance, and from here dominates the sea. The building is composed of two distinct parts: the one reconstructed by Frederick II which includes two of the original towers, while the other part includes the bastions and other towers added in 1500. A bridge over the moat welcomes visitors at the entrance: on the inside, there is a Gothic portal and a Renaissance courtyard.
4. Basilica of San Nicola The remains of the famous Saint born in Turkey rest in the crypt of this basilica, a place of pilgrimage by Catholic and Russian Orthodox believers: it is one of the few places of worship in Italy where the functions of both rituals are celebrated. The Basilica of San Nicola was built just to preserve the remains of the saint, in 1089: today it is one of the most visited places in Puglia and one of the best things to see in Bari. It is an admirable example of Romanesque style and inside you can admire the ceilings in gilded wood with paintings of the ‘600, the silver altar, and the Chair of Elia, one of the most representative Romanesque sculptures of Puglia. The treasure of St. Nicholas, which continues to grow thanks to the gifts and votive offerings of the faithful, is kept in the Museo Nicolaiano adjacent to the Basilica and collects, among other things, silverware, illuminated codices and precious parchments.
5. “Bari Vecchia”, the old town The district of San Nicola, Bari Vecchia (Old Bari) for the people of Bari, stretches between the two ports of Bari, the old and the new, overlooking the waterfront. It is the historic center of the town and definitely one of the best things to see in Bari. The core of Bari Vecchia dates back to the Middle Ages, it is enclosed within the walls and dominated by the Norman-Suevian Castle. Entering this maze of alleys it seems that little has changed from then to today: on the doors, the women prepare the famous orecchiette on the pastry boards provided only with water, flour and knives; the houses lean against each other and at every corner, there are churches, monuments and views of the sea. The Basilica of San Nicola is located precisely in this area, as is the evocative Cathedral of San Sabino, which dates back to 1,100. Do not miss also the Fort of Sant’Antonio Abate, built in 1.300 for defensive purposes. Bari Vecchia is also the center of nightlife in the evening: young people, but also families, come for an evening stroll along the wall.
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