Bari is a large seaside city with a castle and interesting old town center. Easily reached by public transportation, the city makes a good starting point for visitng the southern Italy region of Puglia, the heel of the boot.
Bari is on the southeastern coast of Italy in the Puglia region, between the Salento Peninsula and the Gargano Peninsula - see Puglia map. It's about 450 kilometers southeast of Rome and 250 kilometers east of Naples.
Bari is on the rail line running along the eastern coast from Rimini to Lecce and about four hours by train from Rome on the rail line across Italy. A private train line also stops at the station with connections to many small towns in Puglia. The train station is centrally located in the city, a short walk from the historic center and next to the bus station. Public buses run throughout the city.
From the port ferries run to the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey. City bus 20 gets you to the port. Bari-Palese airport has flights from other Italian airports and airports in Europe (find flights to Bari). Buses connect the airport to the city.
Where to Stay in Bari
In the historic center are Hotel Boston (book direct) and the Palace Hotel (book direct), Bari's biggest hotel. Grand Hotel Leon d'Oro (book direct) is well located on Pizza Aldo Moro across from the train station. I stayed here and found the room comfortable and quiet. Hotel Rondo (book direct) is a well-rated hotel in the Carrassi district outside the center.
Where to Eat and Drink
For dining and drinking, head to the historic center area. Osteria Travi Buco is a good restaurant, fairly inexpensive, on the edge of the historic center. You'll find bars and inexpensive restaurants with typical dishes in the lively area around Via Venezia and Piazza Mercantile. Try the burrata cheese, seafood, and the typical pasta dish, orecchiete con cima di rape. During nice weather there are lots of outdoor tables. Corso Cavour, one of the main streets, has several gelato shops and bars. Between the train station and the old town stop in at Baretto, a historic cafe on Via Roberto di Bari.
Weather and When to Go
Bari can be very hot in summer and rainy in winter so spring and fall are probably the best times to visit. Here's a look at Bari's climate showing average monthly rainfall and temperatures.
Bari PicturesTake a closer look with our Bari Pictures.
- Historic Center - Once enclosed by medieval walls of which part remain, the old quarter is an interesting place to wander. Inside the walls are churches, a few theaters, small squares, and narrow streets.
- Basilica di San Nicola - The Church of Saint Nicolas, the saint often associated with Christmas, is Bari's top tourist attraction. Built in 1087 to house the saint's remains, the church features several different architectural styles and houses a number of art works. The crypt, where the saint's tomb is kept, has good mosaics.
- Cathedral - Originally dating from the seventh century the current building was reconstructed in the twelfth century. Romanesque and Baroque elements can be seen in the cathedral and there are good 14th century frescoes and traces of the original mosaic floor.
- Castle - Castello Svevo was originally constructed in 1131 on the remains of Byzantine dwellings and an eleventh century religous complex and after being badly damaged, was renovated from 1233 to 1240 by Frederick II. In the sixteenth century, Isabella of Aragon made adaptations to transform the castle into a royal residence. There's an interesting Museum of Gypsum Works and an exhibition space inside.
- Seaside Promenade - The Lungomare Imperatore-Augusto, along the sea just outside the historic center walls, is a pleasant place to walk. In the morning you can see fishermen unloading and selling their fish in the small fishing harbor near the Margherita Theater.
- Shopping - Corso Cavour and Via Manzoni are good streets for shopping as is Via Sparano, a pedestrian street lined with shops that runs between Piazza Aldo Moro (by the train station) and the old town, about a ten minute walk.