Fascinating capital of the Puglia region and city with a great mercantile and entrepreneurial tradition, Bari is particularly famous in the Eastern and Orthodox world thanks to its numerous political-cultural contacts with the Middle East. In fact, the Basilica of San Nicola, which preserves the relics of the saint, has made the city a center of communication between different religious confessions.

Bari experienced its period of greatest splendor in the twenty years of fascism. It is no coincidence that in those years the monumental seafront was built, becoming one of the most recognizable points of the city, and the very important “Fiera del Levante” was inaugurated for the first time, an exhibition about eastern cultures now in its 87th edition and which has allowed the Apulian capital to be recognized as the Gateway to the East.
In fact, from Bari there are various routes and fundamental junctions, essential both in the ancient world and in the present day. Among these, the Cammino Materano route is the one that has experienced a notable redevelopment in recent years.

You could decide to spend a weekend in Bari or discover it in joining one of our tours:

 The whole Via Francigena del Sud: from Rome to Leuca

 Cycling holidays in Italy: Unesco tour

⇒ Puglia on Gravel bike: from Bari to Matera

⇒ Discover Matera and the north of Puglia

Discover Matera and the north of Puglia

What to see in Bari

We have prepared a list with the things not to be missed in Bari to enjoy the beauty of the fascinating Apulian capital, a melting pot of ethnic groups and peoples overlooking the sea. Why not decide to dedicate a day to discover the beauties of Bari?

  • Basilica di San Nicola;
  • Cattedrale di San Sabino;
  • Teatro Petruzzelli;
  • Piazza Ferrarese;
  • Castello Normanno-Svevo.

And now let's start together to discover the most suggestive places in Bari!

 Basilica di San Nicola

The Basilica of San Nicola is located in the beating heart of the Old City and perfectly represents the very famous Apulian Romanesque style present in many of the architectures scattered throughout the region.
The church was built around the year 1087 to preserve the relics of Saint Nicholas which were stolen from Turkey, and which are still found inside the church.
The façade is simple and austere, but the position, a few steps from the sea, makes the entire structure particularly evocative.
Inside, the oldest ciborium in the entire Region stands out, built before 1150, composed of four marble columns supporting a majestic canopy.
The most fascinating part of the basilica is certainly the crypt, adorned with an altar decorated with a mosaic and an apse intended for Orthodox worship, inside which the body of Saint Nicholas rests.

Cattedrale di San Sabino

The cathedral of San Sabino represents the typical example of Apulian Romanesque. It was built between the 12th and 13th centuries on the ruins of the ancient Byzantine cathedral of which it is still possible to see part of the remains and it is the historic cathedral of the city.
Both outside and inside it is very simple because it has been stripped of all its baroque statues, but it is so large and solemn that it leaves every visitor stunned.
Its peculiarity is that different styles coexist inside: the Romanesque of the façade alternates with the Baroque of some decorations, the backdrop is formed by the remains of the old cathedral from the Byzantine era. Furthermore, still inside, it is possible to admire a beautiful mosaic, the remains of some streets and even a very important fresco from the Byzantine era.

Teatro Petruzzelli 

Built between 1898 and 1903, it is the largest theater in Bari and the fourth largest in Italy. Almost destroyed by arson on the night between 26 and 27 October 1991, it was finally renovated and opened to the public only in 2009, thus returning to host numerous opera seasons of great importance.
Its importance is such that in 1954 it was declared a "Monument of historical and artistic interest". This is above all thanks to the beauty of the frescoes that embellish all the prestigious rooms and the gold elements that decorate them. 

Piazza del Ferrarese

Piazza del Ferrarese is undoubtedly the hotspot of Bari. Located in front of the emperor Augustus seafront, it opens to the public surrounded by its ancient and characteristic buildings, as well as the characteristic little bars that enliven the square during the day, but especially at night.
Main center of all the celebrations and festivals that take place within the city, such as the very famous Feast of San Nicola, the square represents one of the access points to the old city: once here you will feel all the true warmth of Bari.

Castello Normanno-Svevo

The Norman-Swabian Castle is one of the most important and recognized symbols of the city.
Probably dating back to around 1132, it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, which is why it contains multiple architectural styles.
Today the castle is surrounded by a moat only on three sides (because the fourth was bathed by the sea) and by a city wall from the Aragonese era.

What to do in Bari - the Slow Active Tours proposal

Once you have discovered the wonders hidden among the narrow streets of Bari, the time has come to get to the heart of the sounds and smells of this very important Mediterranean port. For this reason, we have prepared a list of things to do in Bari that you absolutely cannot miss!

  • Visit the old city of Bari

    One of the most characteristic activities not to be missed is walking through the streets of Bari Vecchia: the ancient part of the city, bordered by the two ports, Porto Vecchio and Porto Nuovo, mainly characterized by medieval urban architecture. Here, walking through the streets that branch off, you can admire numerous churches and monuments of different architecture ranging from Romanesque to medieval and you can feel totally immersed in the atmosphere of the past.

  • Bari seafront

    Walking through the streets of Bari you cannot help but reach the city's seafront. This, in fact, built in the fascist era, runs through almost the entire city and is the junction point between Bari and the sea. Precisely in this area it is possible to attend four historical-popular markets that are named after the four names of the areas of Bari Vecchia, as well as being able to enjoy a beautiful walk, perhaps accompanied by one of the many confectionery products that can be purchased along the street.

  • La via delle orecchiette

    If you love tradition and typical products, you absolutely cannot miss out on a walk along the "Via delle orecchiette" in Bari Vecchia. It is one of the attractions that strikes adults and children alike, thanks to the naturalness with which numerous Apulian women pour out of their homes to prepare handmade orecchiette. In this street, in fact, it is possible to witness the true technique of making orecchiette and, if you are lucky, absorb its secrets and taste some of them. An unmissable stop!

  • Cammino Materano

    However, if you are a lover of trekking and walking you absolutely cannot miss the Matera route. A journey full of adventure within the Mediterranean scrub that will take you on foot from Bari to Matera, savoring the traditions and smells of the southern Italian countryside.

Popular festivals and celebrations of Bari

Bari is a city rich in local cultures and traditions which, like all the great southern capitals, enliven it all over the year. In fact, around the 12th of September it is possible to attend the Feast of the SS. Name of Mary Immaculate, a religious festival in which it is possible to experience numerous processions and blessings always accompanied by the many torches that adorn the city.
But the most important is certainly the patronal festival dedicated to San Nicola, the patron saint of the city which is celebrated in the days around May 8th. During this period Bari is filled with lights and stalls that brighten up the characteristic streets of the historic center.
Not to be missed is the delicious fried fish festival. The festival takes place during the first days of August and is a unique opportunity to taste the fish delicacies that the city has to offer in a festive and joyful atmosphere.

Bari is waiting for you!