Bari is the capital of Apuglia (Puglia) region in southern Italy located on the Adriatic sea coast.
It is the second most important economic center of southern Italy after Naples.
Currently, the city has a population of about 323,370 residents.
Bari is known as a major seaport, a university city and the city of Saint Nicholas.
The town blends in a wonderful way the seaside charm and historical and cultural appeal.
Bari is divided into two major districts - the historic center ( Old town) and the modern quarter ( Borgo Murattiano ) with Corso Vittorio Emanuele II street being the dividing line between them.
The best way to see the city is on foot strolling at a leisurely pace.
The most important attractions you should not miss during your visit to Bari include:
Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Bari's top attraction is located in the heart of the Old town and is dedicated to the city's patron saint. Built in 1087, the magnificent church houses the remains of Saint Nicholas as well as a number of artworks. The crypt, where the saint's tomb is kept, has beautiful mosaics. The church is an impressive example of Romanesque architecture.
San Sabino Church (The Cathedral)
Located just meters away from the basilica of Saint Nicholas in the Old town, the Bari's Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Sabinus, a bishop of Canosa, whose relics were brought here in the 9th century.
The present building was constructed between the late 12th and late 13th centuries, and was built on the site of the ruins of the Imperial Byzantine cathedral destroyed in 1156 by William I of Sicily, known as the Wicked.
The Cathedral is an impressive example of the Apulian Romanesque architecture.
The Bari Castle - Norman-Swabian Castle
Bari's iconic fortress, the Norman Swabian Castle is located in the Old town, a few steps away from the Cathedral ( San Sabino). Built by the Normans ( Norman King Roger II ) around 1132, then in 1156 was destroyed by King William I of Sicily and restored by Frederick II around 1230, the Castle currently serves as the headquarters of Puglia's Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage. Art exhibitions and events are occasionally organized in the well-preserved monument. Archaeology lovers can also admire plaster reproductions of ornamental sculptures used between the 11th and 17h centuries at the Gipsoteca (Plaster Cast Gallery).
Bari Old Town
The charming Old Town comprises a labyrinth of alleyways and narrow streets, with plenty of small shops and cafés. A number of churches and small squares as well as an impressive architecture enhance the charm of the area.
Here you will find some of the most important sites in Bari: the Basilica of St. Nicholas, the Cathedral and the Castle.
In the Old town are also situated two popular squares that have a lively ambiance and attract hundreds of visitors - Piazza Ferrarese and Piazza Mercantile.
Opposite to the old port and the seafront promenade, Piazza Ferrarese is one of the access points to the old town. Then the way goes through Piazza Mercantile up to the Normanno -Svevo castle.
This magnificent building will attract your attention while strolling along the seaside promenade. Overlooking the port, the Margherita theater is located on Piazza IV Novembre, in the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.
The beautiful red-brick building was built between 1912 and 1914 near the Old Port of Bari, on pillars, surrounded by water.
After a long closure due to the high costs of maintenance, the Theater has been renovated and is currently used as an exhibition hall. Recently, a Van Gogh exhibition dedicated to the painter's life and work, took place in the theater.
Seafront Promenade Lungomare
Being a coastal city, Bari has a remarkable, approximately 1000m long promenade just outside the historic center.
You can enjoy a beautiful sea scenery while strolling along the lively promenade lined with many food shops and cafés.
In the mornings you can see fishermen selling their fish in the small fishing harbor near the Margherita Theater.
Piccinni Theater & Prefecture (Government) Palace
Right in the city's center on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza Liberta are located two impressive buildings - the municipal theater Piccinni and the Prefecture Palace (Palazzo del Governo).
Teatro Piccinni is the oldest theater in Bari and can host more than 800 people. It was built in 1854 and named after the renowned musician from Bari, Niccolò Piccinni.
Across Teatro Piccinni is standing the imposing building of the Palazzo del Governo, the seat of the Prefecture of Bari.
On Corso Vittorio Emanuele is situated another iconic building, the cultural venue in Venetian-Gothic style Fizzarotti Palace, built in late 1800 and early 1900.
Borgo Murattiano, The Business District
Bari's principal street Corso Vittorio Emanuele II divides the old historical town and the new, modern business district of Bari. The main street in the modern area is Corso Cavour lined with beautiful administrative buildings.
Petruzzelli Theater is the most impressive sight on Corso Cavour.
The beautiful orange facade building is the largest theater in Bari and the fourth largest theater in Italy.
Inaugurated in 1903, the theater initially had a capacity for 2192 places, later it was reduced to 1482 places due to safety regulations. During the night of 26 and 27 October 1991 the theatre was completely destroyed by fire, the result of arson. It took nearly 18 years for the theatre to be rebuilt exactly as it had looked originally. In October 2009 the Teatro Petruzzelli officially reopened with a performance of the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven by the Orchestra of the Province of Bari, conducted by Fabio Mastrangelo.
On the stage of Petruzzelli have been presented great classics of Verdi and Puccini as well as new contemporary shows.
In the new, modern district of Bari are also located the University of Bari Aldo Moro, and ViaSparano, a long pedestrianized shopping street with designer boutiques, high street stores and cafés.
Bari is a great option to serve as a starting point to explore the region of Puglia.
There are many beautiful places in 1-2 hours train ride from Bari's railway station in Piazza Aldo Moro.
Alberobello, Matera, Altamura, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Martina Franca are some of the places near Bari worth visiting and can be ideal for a day trip.
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