Bari is the capital of the province of the same name and also of the region Apulia (Puglia, in Italian). With well over 300,000 inhabitants, it is also the biggest and most important city on the southern part of the Adriatic coast.
Bari travel guide
The IAT Infopoint Turistico is located at the Piazza del Ferrarese, 29 – Bari (Phone: +39 080 5242244). The address of the town hall Palazzo di Città , Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 84 – 70122 Bari.
How to get there
By car: The E55 connects Bari to Barletta and Foggia in the north, and to Lecce and Brindisi in the south.
By plane: Bari has its own airport, called Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport. There is a direct train connection to the main railway station.
By train: Bari is on the Adriatic railway line between Ancona and Lecce. It is also the beginning point of the Bari-Taranto line.
What to see
Bari’s three main tourist attractions are all located in the old town, known as Bari Vecchia.
The first one of these is the castle, which was built by the Normans, and later restored and enlarged by first the House of Anjou and then the Spaniards.
The Cathedral of the city is dedicated to San Sabino. It was built in the 12th century.
The most important church however is the Basilica of San Nicola (St. Nicholas). It was constructed in order to house the remains of the saint himself. These had been brought back from Myra, on the southern coast of what is now Turkey. The church is a renowned destination of pilgrimages.
A brief history of Bari
The territory where Bari is located was already inhabited in prehistoric times. Before the 3rd century BC, what is now the province of Bari was known as Leucezia. Barium was only a not very important settlement at the time.
After the conquest by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, the city became important as both a port and a road junction. After the decline of Rome, Bari became part of the Eastern Empire. Later, it was first conquered by the Saracens and then the Byzantines.
The Normans took over in the 7th century. Bari became a central city to the slave trade. Captured slaves from the Balkans and central eastern Europe and were brought to Bari, to be sold to the Muslim states around the Mediterranean.
In the 13th century, Frederic II reconstructed enlarged the castle, which had been built by the Normans. The castle had been destroyed in the 12th century, by the King of Sicily, William I (also known as William the Wicked, Guglielmo il Malo).
Hereafter the history of Bari was that of most of the area. The town was first subjected to the House of Anjou, then to the House of Aragon and in the 18th century to the Hapsburg and the Bourbob rules.
In the early 19th century, during Napoleon’s rule, the city expanded rapidly.