How to Visit Bari Italy and Discover the Old World

Travel to Bari Italy

Visitors to Bari Italy may get a sense of two world's existing in one location in this tiny seacoast town. There's New Bari, a university town packed with young people that keep the city hopping all night long, and the old city, a warren of tiny quaint houses on maze like crooked streets. It's funny to note that the New Bari is set up on a standard grid like pattern, full of order and structure, and old City is a hodgepodge collection of streets that seems almost whimsical.

The highlight of old City is the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, a huge gothic structure built like a fortress and the destination of thousands of pilgrims every month. Saint Nicholas is the forbearer of the myth that became Santa Claus. The relics of the Saint lie beneath the alter in the crypt. It's an impressive monument to the Saint with giant stone blocks that lift out of the street to create a formidable structure that is the heart of the old City. The Castello Svevo is also a great place to visit.

History lovers can stroll the winding streets of old city to hear locals bellowing over card games or watch women hang organic pasta up to dry. A trip to Ateneo, the provincial museum will give visitors a peek into the past, when Bari was the seat of Saracen power in the region. Bari is also the origin site of the first Holy Crusade by Peter the Hermit in medieval times. There is a museum at the University that houses pre-Hellenic art, and other works that highlight the region.

Although Bari isn't a huge tourist destination, its main draw is a jumping off point for places further east. Spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea and the rugged coastline are two draws of the region. The two ports are home to fishing fleets, with a strong crude dialect based on pidgin that dates back hundreds of years. After building an appetite exploring the rock beaches and streets of old City, visitors can stop at the Cafe Che'Ri or stroll down to the Beach Cafe. The Promenade on the Sea is a visually exciting place to visit for a nighttime walk, and shopping along the via Sparano and via Argiro.

The university population keeps the nightlife going at small dance clubs. Young bodies move and grind to techno beats under explosive strobe lights at clubs like the Habanera Club or the Scuola di Bella. After a night of dancing, a visit to a small cafe for nightcaps is in order, to cool down and have deep conversations, an Italian pastime. Not considered as romantic as the northern regions of Italy, Bari still has a charm and air that harkens back to more simple way of life and time.

Bari Italy is a great destination for an overnight trip to experience the history of a small port that holds an important place in medieval history. Bari is not the Italy you see in art history or textbooks, but that doesn't detract from the experience in visiting and soaking in the culture and local flavor.

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