DO & SEE
An old-time destination that overlooks the Mediterranean sea, Bari has been rediscovered in the last few years and has now become an attractive city for tourists again. It’s the perfect place to spend a long weekend or just a couple of days exploring the street food, UNESCO heritage spots, beaches and local life.
A WALK IN BARI
Start your visit arriving or parking at the train station and then walk to the modern trade district of Bari. Among the new Art Deco buildings you can shop in the most famous Italian retail stores, local shops and luxury boutiques. The locals are very fashionable people, especially the men, and you will understand by stopping and watching them while they are walking or when they are having an aperitif at Jérôme Cafè. One of the best shops in the district is Dante 7, Anna Dello Russo’s personal boutique.
At the end of via Sparano you will end up at Piazza del Ferrarese. This square is one of the most impressive in the city. Overlooking the wall, it offers an incredible view of the sea. In certain spots the pavement is the original Via Appia Traiana. Just stop here, grab some drinks and enjoy your time.
And now get ready for an incredible experience. Once unavailable, now Bari Vecchia (the old city of Bari) is an incredibly beautiful neighborhood to explore in all of its narrow streets. Full of local life, it is here that you come in the evening to drink and it’s always here that you can meet the queens of the Scagliozze.
Scagliozze are made by salty fried polenta and is a typical street food in Bari. If you want to try some there is only one way: to enter the house of the women who cook them. In all of Bari Vecchia, you will see doors of open houses with a delicious fried aroma coming from inside. Stop here and ask for a bit of scagiozze (there’s always a line but it’s worth it). With a few euros, you can go on this way for hours. Our favorite is from Mrs. Maria delle Scagliozze (Address: Str. Delle Crociate, 13).
Here in the old city you will see one ot the most beautiful and suggestive churches in Italy, the San Nicola’s Basilica. Inside this church are preserved ruins of the patron saint of the city “San Nicola”, the same saint who has given birth to Santa Claus. Even though Lapland is a bit distant, try to leave your letter to St. Nicholas; your wishes may come true. Remember to see the treasure of the saint before you leave. It continues to grow year after year thanks to the gifts of the faithful that are particularly attached to him.
Hungry for some Scarcella? Bari has amazing food traditions. Start with some pasta and here not many thing are important as the orecchiette, a fresh pasta hand made with durum wheat semolina. There is only one place to taste and buy them: the orecchietta’s street. This place is run by a group of women. From morning until night, every day (Sunday included), you can see them in the street while chatting and making orecchiette and fresh pasta.
If you’d like to have some fish instead, walk through Lungomare Nazario Sauro where you can also admire the typical lamps along the seafront and arrive at Molo San Nicola Fish Market.
Freshly caught fish will be displayed alongside fishermen who are always ready to open urchins and mussels. Eat it while drinking a fresh beer. If you are not ready to eat freshy caught fish, buy some at the fishmonger’s along with a tasty aperitivo.
Pinacoteca metropolitana di Bari
This museum is a painting gallery founded in the 1928 in the old Government Palace. Focused on the art from and connected to Puglia region, here you can see a medieval section, Venerian paintings, a selection of Corrado Giaquinto’s paintings and even artwork from Tintoretto, Dechirico and Morandid.
ADDRESS: Via Spalato, 19
The Teatro Petruzzelli is the largest theatre of Bari and the fourth Italian theatre by size. Completely destroyed by a fire in the early 90’s, it was rebuilt exactly like it was and now all its ancient splendor shines again. With opera, theater performances and concerts throughout the year, this theater is an iconic place in Bari to be visited at least once.
ADDRESS: Corso Cavour, 12
The Nicolaiano Museum is located in the historic center of Bari, close to the Basilica of St. Nicholas. It preserves artistic works linked to the secular history of the Basilica of St. Nicholas and the worship of the faithful. Featuring multimedia and a screening room, the museum also hosts contemporary exhibitions throughout the year.
ADDRESS: Strada Vanese, 3
The Planetarium Sky-Skan
Thi Planetarium is a real hidden gem in Southern Italy. The large dome, 15 meters in diameter, hosts shows for up to 150 people. Featuring the most sophisticated technology in Europe, it is used for studies and research for many international universities.
ADDRESS: Fiera Del Levante, Lungomare Starita, 4
Pane e Pomodoro
Not really the best beach in Apulia, Pane e Pomodoro (literally “Bread and tomato”) is a good spot for a quick sunbath and some relaxation. Frequented only by locals, here you can rent a cot and relax before or after a long barese lunch.
Capitolo beach with its cliffs is a bit of natural paradise among the many coastal towns. The sea is blue as a swimming pool and the never-too-crowded beaches beckon you for a day of total relaxation not far from Bari and its nightlife.
Monopoli, the city with the same name as the game, has numerous beaches ready to welcome you. They are frequented by “lidi” lovers, which are very common facilities in Italy that allow you to rent sun loungers and umbrellas for maximum comfort and privacy even if you are just a stone’s throw from the sea.
Bari is the perfect place if you want to discover all the beauty of Apulia. Unesco sites, incredible beaches and unique castles will take you to places you would never have thought of seeing.
Just 30 minutes away from Bari, Altamura is the city of bread. This bread, sold everywhere in Italy but never tastier than what you can eat here, is one of the reason why people want to visit the city. Along with the bread, the focaccia is another thing you must try. Go to Panificio di Gesù and get a “ruota di focaccia”: the taste will drive you wild. Altamura is also famous all around the world for the Altamura man, the oldest skeleton in the world discovered in a nearby limestone cave.
Polignano a mare
Existing since prehistoric time, Polignano a Mare is a dream place. With its Romanic bridge where the Via Traiana passed by, this small town is perched on cliffs overlooking the sea. The town is always full of life and the historic district is unique in its own way. But what makes Polignano really special is its beach town, Cala Porto. Here on a bed of stones, you can bathe in crystal clear water and swim in the caves hidden along the coast. Do not forget to try the delicious seafood in one of the many restaurants in the city.
A little further away, Grottaglie is a small town renowned around the world for its pottery. After visiting the old town, go to the ceramics district where dozens of workshops are open to the public. Vases, dishes, furnishings and local items can be bought to bring home a unique piece of local art. If you want to buy something really typical, get a “pumo”. These ceramic pine cones indicate prosperity and wealth. You can see pumi everywhere around Apulia.
Nightlife in Bari is vibrant as ever. During summertime the city may look empty, In fact, in the summer people move to nearby cities close to the sea. But during other seasons Bari has plenty of fun bars and clubs. There are some big gay monthly parties in the main dance clubs and weekly gay nights in the city. But if you are not up for dancing, just go to one of the many bars in the main squares to have a drink with the locals.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Bari is well connected thanks to the International City Airport. But if you are visiting other regions in Italy you can get here with one of the super speed trains.
There are not too many festivals here, but the most important one is “Fiera del Levante”. During this event Bari is full of fun things to do. During Christmas time, the old city of Bari Vecchia is decorated with amazing and trad
Is Bari a gay friendly city?
Safety: Bari, like Naples, lives with the rumors that long ago discredited the image of the city. In fact Bari is a very cozy city, although it may not seem too open. Over the past few years many Gay Pride events have been organized that have made gay life much easier in the city. 7/10
Gay Life: The gay community is very large even though it has just begun to open up. Still not entirely mainstream, gay life in Bari is active in the off-summer seasons. Local bars, saunas and clubs are present in nearby towns and villages. 7/10
Gay only: Bari is not famous for gay-only clubs but it’s easy to find saunas and cruising spots all around the city. Gay beaches are located between Polignano a Mare and Capitolo. 6/10
Being open in Bari is pretty safe and you won’t have any problems in the hotels or B&Bs. You will easily detect other gay people in the city center where you will spend most of your time. 7/10