How to Spend 1 Day in Bari
The largest city in Puglia and a major cruise-ship and ferry port on the Adriatic Sea, Bari has a lovely old town that testifies to its rich and varied past, as well as a vibrant waterfront nightlife anchored firmly in the present. If you only have one day to visit this bustling coastal capital, here’s how to see the main highlights.
Morning: Old Town (Bari Vecchia)
Bari is a sprawling modern port, but at its heart lies the old town, Bari Vecchia. Take a self-guided audio tour or join a walking, bike, rickshaw, or Segway tour though the historic center with a guide to learn about this city’s long history. Tours generally take in highlights like the 12th-century Basilica di San Nicola, home to the remains of Saint Nicholas—better known as Santa Claus; Swabian Castle (Castello Svevo); Cathedral of St. Sabino; and the lively Piazza Mercantile, the social focal point of the old town.
Afternoon: Bari Cuisine
No city is more proud of its local cuisine than Bari, and the city’s grandmothers (nonnas), often gather on the narrow lanes crisscrossing the old town to hand-roll fresh orecchiette pasta. Experience the deeply rooted culinary traditions of the city firsthand with a food tour and sample beloved street food like panzerotti and sgagliozze, or join a cooking class to create classic dishes on your own. Once you’ve prepared your meal, you’ll sit down to savor the fruits of your labor, washed down with Puglian wine.
Night: Quick Jaunts
Bari sits on the coast, so end the day by taking a few hours to relax on the beach. Alternatively, a number of quick excursions can be combined with a day in Bari. The towering Castel del Monte fortress is a short drive from the city, as is the charming fishermen’s village of Polignano a Mare and the medieval town of Conversano. Archaeology enthusiasts can head a bit further south to tour the ruins of the ancient city at Gnatia, where many of the artifacts now displayed in Bari’s Santa Scolastica Archaeological Museum were unearthed.