Hit the cobblestones and dive into the electric hum of Bari, that tucked-away treasure on the Adriatic, with Savoring Italy's Travel Guide to Bari. Get the inside track on a place where time-honored rituals shake hands with the here-and-now, all spilled out in a city that's keeping it real under the Italian sun.
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- A Brief History of Bari (and its Traditions)
- Where is Bari, Italy?
- A Map of Bari, Italy
- Bari Travel Tips
- How to Get to Bari?
- When Is the Best Time to Visit Bari, Italy?
- How Long Do You Need in Bari?
- 9 Things to Do in Bari
- The Best Places to Stay in Bari
- The Best Restaurants in Bari
- Is Bari Worth Visiting?
- Want to Read More Italian Travel Guides?
A Brief History of Bari (and its Traditions)
Oh, Bari! Now there's a place that's been through more wardrobe changes than a prima donna at La Scala. It's a city that's been passed around like a particularly fine bottle of Primitivo at an Apulian dinner party. First, you had the Peuceti, back in the days when a toga was considered the height of fashion and nobody had yet heard of a three-course meal. They were the original settlers, tilling the soil and presumably looking out to sea wondering when the next invaders would show up.
And show up they did. The Romans marched in, sandals slapping against the ancient stones, and put their stamp on the place, as they were wont to do. They were followed, in no particular order, by a veritable Who's Who of history's itinerant peoples: Goths, Byzantines, Normans, and the Bourbons, who, it must be said, had a knack for sprucing up a place.
The Murattian Quarter
Enter stage left: Gioacchino Murat, a French general with ambitions that outstripped his height. He became king, and like all good kings, he wanted to leave his mark. Hence, the Murattian Quarter, which is to Bari what a double shot of espresso is to your average Monday morning: absolutely essential.
But let's not forget the real star of the show, the Old City. This is the beating heart of Bari, where the past and present do a little dance and decide to get along famously. It's a tangle of streets where history rubs shoulders with the daily lives of the Barisians, and every corner has a story to tell. In summer, it's as lively as a wedding dance floor after the third glass of prosecco.
You can't walk or travel through Italy without running into their Saints, and Bari is no exception. In this case, it's San Nicola (or Saint Nicholas) who actually hails from Turkey and not Italy. However, it seems that the moment his bones were transferred to Puglia (Apullia for the English speakers), he became THE patron Saint of Bari because you can't escape his likeness or image - it's everywhere! From ads to logos and Baresi homes, he'll be there, somewhere, protecting. As a matter of fact, it's often referred to as the "cult" of San Nicola because of this. But it's not just Bari, you'll definitely find Nicola throughout Italy, even as far north as Venezia (Venice).
St. Nicholas Traditions
There are two BIG "festa" dates in Bari that occur on May 8 and December 06 that pay tribute to Saint Nicholas. Traditionally, the 8th marks the day of Nicholas' arrival in the city of Bari, while the 6th pays respect in honor of his death.
Speaking of tradition, there is a pilgrimage to the Basilica on December 06. This occurs around dawn or first morning lights where there's a morning mass that concludes with a community breakfast of drinking hot chocolate.
However, let's not forget about the "Feast of St. Nicholas" that happens on May 07. This is a time that includes festivals and you're bound to see tourists from all over the world in Bari.
The following day, on May 08, there's a local community procession that carries the statue of Saint Nicholas throughout the streets of the city until it reaches a port. From there, the statue is placed on a fishing boat where it's honored throughout the entire day by other boats in the port.
Peering out from any spot along Bari's waterfront, you're hit with the eye-popping spectacle of boats splashed in a riot of colors—a sight that's classic Bari. And it's on this banner day that the city scores the privilege of playing backdrop to the aerial artistry of the tricolor arrows.
Capping off this revelry, May 9th rolls out as the day to tip our hats to an epic throwback—the Translation of the relics. Picture this: back in 1087, a crew of 62 old-school mariners hustled those sacred remains all the way from Myra to Bari. And how do we wrap this historic remembrance? With a fireworks blowout that's not just a feast for the eyes but also drops the curtain on this whole seafront shindig.
Bari's Wicker Baskets
Bari's got this bittersweet postcard from the past: the art of weaving wicker baskets. It's a craft that's slipped into the annals of nostalgia, especially since the Traversa bros—the last Bari locals to keep this tradition alive—have checked out, leaving their Vallisa street shop shuttered and silent.
Despite the downer of an ending, these handcrafted baskets, once the pride of local chair-makers known as "mbagghiasègge," still play a cameo in the local seafood scene. They're the secret behind the perfect octopus curl, getting a workout as they're shimmied and shaken to tender perfection. And the "spaselle" with their skyscraper handles? They're the unsung heroes in Bari kitchens and on the pint-sized fishing skiffs, cradling loaves of bread or acting as a makeshift cooler for the day's snatch of anchovies and cuttlefish, all within their wicker embrace.
Bari and Santa Clause
The Santa Claus myth, that jolly old fellow beloved by kids worldwide, owes a hat-tip to Saint Nicholas, the ancient Greek bishop. You see, in places like Belgium, France, and Luxembourg, the big guy's feast day comes with a side of gift-giving for the "bambini".
During the days of Saint Nick's crypt construction, some sailors spotted a bubblegum-pink column doing a mermaid act in the harbor. They try to snag it, but no dice. Fast-forward to the night they park Saint Nick's bones in the crypt, and according to legend—a miracle. Saint Nick plays architect from the afterlife, with a celestial crew in tow, and plants the column himself.
Flash-forward, and Bari's single ladies used to circle this column—six times for a hubby, ten for a Mr. Moneybags. Today, that column's behind bars, literally, but some still tray and reach out for a touch of that good old-fashioned Nicholas luck.
Where is Bari, Italy?
It's not uncommon for people to refer to Italy as shaped like a "boot," so from that perspective, Bari would be located on the back of Italy's "ankle" directly along the Adriatic Sea with Albania directly across to its east. Essentially, Bari is a port city situated in the southeastern region of the country.
If you're more a visual person, then check out the map of Bari below and see for yourself Bari's location within Italy. You can also zoom in or out from the upper left hand corner to get different perspectives of its place within that region of the world.
A Map of Bari, Italy
Bari Travel Tips
Each journey is as individual as the traveler and their chosen destinations, with transportation preferences being no exception. Below are the popular methods for reaching and navigating through Bari, Italy:
How to Get to Bari?
Some of my personal recommendations for when you are traveling to Italy:
If you are planning on renting a car in Italy, it is important to do your research beforehand. There are several rental companies that offer competitive rates and good customer service. I recommend this car rental service.
If you are looking for a reliable travel insurance company, I would reccomend World Nomads Travel Insurance.
If you are looking to find a budget-friendly or even more luxury places to stay, I recommend Booking.com. My second favorite option is Airbnb.
On my Amazon storefront I also have a travel essentials section where I list everything you should pack with you for your next Italian vacation!
Flying into Bari
Bari is a superb hub if you're coming from other European airports or making a connection after you land at an airport, say Rome for example, from the United States. Generally speaking, there are around 30-40 flights (obviously fluctuating with the seasons and demand) into Bari, which means you're bound to find something that suits your schedule.
As of the latest information available, hailing a taxi from Bari's airport might set you back upwards of 30 Euros (or more - be careful!). If you're looking to pinch pennies, the bus routes are a less expensive alternative, though they do demand a bit more adventurous spirit to seek out and board. Opting for the bus could slash your travel expenses by more than half compared to a taxi ride.
For those who prefer a balance of economy and convenience, Bari's relatively recent metro service is a viable option. It whisks you into the heart of Bari and the central train station in about 20 minutes at the most budget-friendly price point.
Get to or Arrive in Bari by Car
Cruising into Bari by car? Here's how you play it smart:
Coming down the A14 from the north, hit the Bari-Sud escape hatch and let the signs for the Bari ring road be your guide as you steer towards Brindisi, then swing into the city's heart.
Rolling up from the south on the A14? Same deal: take the Bari-Sud off-ramp, chase the signs for the Bari ring road, bear towards Brindisi, and make for the center stage of the city.
Bari' has also cooked up a deal that lets you ditch your ride at the edge of the action and hitch a ride downtown on a "shuttle bus." For a cool euro (priced based on the time of this writing), you can bounce back and forth all day between your car and the city pulse.
You can park your four-wheeled friend at these spots:
If you’re on Corso Vittorio Veneto, land side, grab Navetta A to get to the last stop party at Piazza Massari.
Corso Vittorio Veneto, sea side? Same shuttle, same party.
At Pane e Pomodoro, it’s Navetta B's turn to shuttle you to Piazza Massari.
From Largo 2 Giugno, Navetta C will zip you to Corso Cavour.
And for a touch of the future, electric shuttles are zipping around, connecting the dots between the central bus terminals. So you can keep it green while you tour the scene.
Get to (or get around) Bari by Train
Personally, I'm a huge fan of traveling anywhere in the world by train. It's a great way to meet fellow travelers, maybe crack open that Steinbeck novel in your backpack or write a poem in your journal. Overall, getting to your destination has a kind of old-world charm that downshifts the gears of our frenetic lives and goes against the grain of the "modern" world idea of instant gratification. Remember, it's as much about the journey as it is about the destination.
Bari Centrale is the "center," or beating heart of the city's railroad network as a hub for FS (Italy's national railway). This is where you'll find all the links and connections that splinter like veins from southeastern Italy to other destinations that might tickle your wanderlust fantasies.
For the more adventurous at heart, I would imagine that the South Eastern Railways (FSE) would be your alternative to the proverbial "road-less-traveled" experience. That would be my choice if you're not in a hurry.
From here you can chug along to the big favorites like Alberobello and Martina Franca where you could theoretically hop out and explore for as long as you desire, or the train schedules cater.
Keep in mind that these local stations have separate ticket offices on the platforms.
PRO TIP: I can't guarantee that everyone at the station will speak English so it might come in handy to have some travel phrases written on paper (or saved in your smartphone) handy.
Common (Train Station) Travel Phrases :
Here are some common phrases (for English/American) speakers that might come in handy when you're traveling by train in Bari:
- English: Where is the station?
Italian: Dov'è la stazione?
Transliteration: Doh-veh lah stah-tsyoh-neh?
- English: One ticket to Bari Centrale, please.
Italian: Un biglietto per Bari Centrale, per favore.
Transliteration: Oon bee-lyet-toh pehr Bah-ree Chen-trah-leh, pehr fah-voh-reh.
- English: What time does the train leave?
Italian: A che ora parte il treno?
Transliteration: Ah keh oh-rah par-teh eel treh-noh?
- English: Does this train stop at Alberobello?
Italian: Questo treno ferma a Alberobello?
Transliteration: Kweh-stoh treh-noh fehr-mah ah Al-beh-roh-bel-loh?
- English: How much is the ticket?
Italian: Quanto costa il biglietto?
Transliteration: Kwan-toh coh-stah eel bee-lyet-toh?
- English: Is this the platform for Martina Franca?
Italian: È questo il binario per Martina Franca?
Transliteration: Eh kweh-stoh eel bee-nah-ryo pehr Mar-tee-nah Fran-kah?
- English: What time does the train from Rome arrive?
Italian: A che ora arriva il treno da Roma?
Transliteration: Ah keh oh-rah ah-ree-vah eel treh-noh dah Roh-mah?
- English: Where is the bathroom?
Italian: Dov'è il bagno?
Transliteration: Doh-veh eel bahn-yoh?
- English: Can I have a map of the station?
Italian: Posso avere una mappa della stazione?
Transliteration: Pohs-soh ah-veh-reh oo-nah mahp-pah dehl-lah stah-tsyoh-neh?
- English: Where is the information office?
Italian: Dov'è l'ufficio informazioni?
Transliteration: Doh-veh loo-fee-choh een-for-mah-tsyoh-nee?
- English: I missed my train.
Italian: Ho perso il mio treno.
Transliteration: Oh pehr-soh eel mee-oh treh-noh.
- English: Is there a direct train to Naples?
Italian: C'è un treno diretto per Napoli?
Transliteration: Cheh oon treh-noh dee-ret-toh pehr Nah-poh-lee?
When Is the Best Time to Visit Bari, Italy?
Ah, when to go to Bari? Or maybe when not to go? That is the question.
I don't know, I'm the kind of person who'd be content if you threw a dart blindfolded at a yearly calendar to pick a date to arrive in Italy. Bari would be no exception. Italy just makes me happy in any season.
With that honest revelation as a segue, here are the general monthly ranges of the kind of weather and ambience you'd expect to encounter in Bari if you want a visit that's as smooth as an Italian gelato:
Bari in Spring
As the earth begins to tilt and the days get warmer, the months between March and May are, how should I put it? A revelation! Spring is in the air which is as mild as an Adriatic breeze, and there's this emerging, palpable energy from the local populace as they awaken from the slumber of winter. It's the in-between season in preparation for the deluge of summer sightseers who haven't yet descended, and the countryside is a riot of floral splendor. In other words, in my experience, you have a heck of a lot more room to move about and less lines to deal with if you're visiting popular or iconic Barese tourist attractions.
Bari in Summer
However, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE summer in Italy too, when the sun climbs its summer perch, from June through August, and Bari, like the rest of the country, turns up the heat. Italians KNOW how to do summer. If you've been, you know what I'm talking about. That brewing energy you felt in the spring is now full-throttle, fifth gear, floor to the floor fun. You'll hear and jam to the latest summer music hits on the radio over and over that might not ever make the radio or satellite waves back home that lend to the cadence and vibe of the summer dolce vita.
With that said, summer in Italy can get very crowded. Like salted sardines in a Sicilian mercato wheelbarrow kind of crowded. So be forewarned, prices, I've noticed, do tend to climb with the temperature during the summer months. Therefore, while it's the season of sun and celebration, it's also the one of bustling boulevards and bulging beachfronts.
Bari in Fall
Following is the period of fog and ripe abundance, stretching from September to November, when the deep sun-kissed hues have diminished, now concealed beneath layers of light knitwear and chic coats as Bari once again wraps itself in a mantle of peace. It may not be prime beach season, but the upside is that the tourist crowds have dwindled, leaving many pondering over ways to increase their summer vacation likes on Instagram. This is the moment for leisurely discovery, to relish the city's treasures in the company of its locals.
Bari in Winter
In the winter months, from December to February, Bari is quiet and like summer, and the rest of the seasons, there is an accumulated mild pace at which things are done and the crowds are even more sparse than its seasonal predecessor.
How Long Do You Need in Bari?
Ultimately, how much time you want to stay in a great city like Bari hinges on your level of appetite for adventure and discovery. For some, the dial remains at a low simmer, while others, free as birds, embrace open-ended tickets to extend the savoring and immersion in their spontaneous experiences.
The Quick-Getaway Enthusiast
If you're the type of individual who gets antsy if they sit too long at the local cafe, sipping their cappuccino, while others watch the world amble by them without a care in the world, then a long weekend, 2-3 days, is recommended for you. It's just enough to scratch the surface, but a few days in Bari would allow you plenty of time to visit the major tourist hot spots, and perhaps, if you didn't overdo your itinerary, give you enough time to take a leisurely stroll along the seaside promenade, maybe with a gelato in hand.
Now, if you're the more intrepid sort, and something about Bari just clicks with you, then a stay of around 5 days might be your ticket. What this does is give you the runway to do the "tourist thing" and still set aside time of maybe a day or two for a spontaneous adventure recommended by a local, or a no-destination-in-mind walk around the city. Naturally, tread carefully down streets that aren't in your average tourist guide. But with that said, I discovered some of my favorite gastronomic treasures when I chose to turn left after someone told me to turn right.
The Cultural Immersionist
If you belong to the group that advocates for slow travel—a deeper immersion into the rhythms of local Barese life—a solid week (or more!) comes highly recommended. This way, you can be that tourist who taught themselves how to blend in with the locals after ordering cappuccino in the local dialect. You'll also have plenty of time to hop on a train and explore the gorgeous surrounding Puglian countryside, partake in an Italian cooking class, sample some ancient olives or, heck, just wing it and live a little!
9 Things to Do in Bari
There are hundreds, and I do mean literally hundreds, of things to do in Bari, Italy. Therefore, the following is a handpicked selection of some of Savoring Italy's favorite attractions. If we're missing anything, please feel free to let us know in the comments at the end. Buon viaggio!
1) Journey to Città Vecchia
Going to Bari and not visiting the Città Vecchia, the historic city center, is like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum. For the Baresi (the locals), it's the city's pulsating core, the heart, if you will, and a veritable patchwork quilt of the past where you're walking on four thousand years of history!
Here you'll find the grand palaces and buildings Italy is known for, and you'll discover an inspiration where you can nod your head in appreciation of the fact that art, culture, and traditions are preserved as a living, breathing part of Barese life.
Yes, modern life is visible too, but, for me, that adds to the charm, the unyielding and vibrant soul of Bari, and the rest of Italy, for that matter, where the gloss of a red Alfa Romeo will seamlessly blend into the ancient piazza landscape. Bari's spirito is in the air, I tell you! And to miss the Città Vecchia means missing the heartbeat of the city itself.
2) Go and See an Opera or Show in the Teatro Petruzzelli!
If you haven't picked up on it yet, when it comes to traveling, I'm 100% for an immersive experience and The Petruzzelli Theatre of Bari offers one magical gateway for such a trip. From the outside it's a sight to pause and behold, a truly grand edifice that's washed in this striking hue of red, and an interior that's a study in the power of understated elegance.
In this case, the Petruzelli is life imitating art, because on the fateful night of October 27, 1991, this icon suffered a tragic and brutal fire, which brought the dome to its ruin. I don't intend to be overly dramatic, but I think that's worth applying the theater as a metaphor for a phoenix rising from the ashes after it was carefully pieced together by artisans who did their best (and it shows!) to utilize the same materials and techniques of the past for maximum authenticity and the public's delight.
Okay, so fortunately, I also got the opportunity of a lifetime to see an opera there one evening, and as the first notes of La Traviata soared to the rafters, I felt myself being swept up in a wave of emotion along with a visceral journey that honestly gave me goosebumps and left a mark on my soul.
3) Biking in Apulia: Discovering Bari's Hidden Gems on Two Wheels
It was our third day in Bari with my family (the four of us: me, hubby, daughter and son), and on a whim, my husband said one morning, "Affittiamo delle biciclette e facciamo un giro in città." Roughly translated: let's rent bikes and explore the town.
I loved the idea but suggested we take a guided tour of Bari on bikes instead. On the day of the ride, our experience began with a very Italian (warm) welcome from an expert guide who was multilingual and deeply knowledgeable about the city. He had a window into the soul of Bari, sharing insights and stories that brought the streets and landmarks to life.
The tour itself was easy, and I might be laying it on dramatically thick here, but I'd say "enchanting," as we rode through the heart of Bari, peddling past the amazing Basilica of Saint Nicholas and the Cathedral of San Sabino, each site brimming with historical significance and architectural beauty. We also saw the Swabian Castle which stood as a strong reminder to the city's past, while the theaters and main squares pulsed with contemporary, or modern, life.
I’ve been told that Bari is the "Gateway to the East,” a city with an oriental significance that combines with the Mediterranean spirit, and in the very heart and soul of the historic center, the most characteristic symbol of this great city, is the Basilica of San Nicola - a convergence of East and West and between the Catholic and Orthodox world, all thanks to the remains of Saint Nicholas.
As mentioned, the Basilica San Nicola in Bari is renown as the keeper of bones fo Saint Nicholas, but the bonus is the structure itself (the exact construction is uncertain as it was built on previous buildings.) in which those remains are housed that deserves equal consideration. For me, it’s majestic compared to the heart of Bari Vecchia, with its Romanesque style - beautiful, elegant and essential - along with Norman styles and characteristics. I wasn’t alone as those around me were also certainly captivated.
I’ve always heard about it growing up, but when I finally got to see it, it truly took my breath away because of how grand, beautiful, immense it is, and also that it is so close to the mare (the ocean). Overall, it’s truly wonderful; and, I can’t believing I’m about to describe the crypt this way, but that was also stunning.
5) Cruise Around Bari on a Bike-Rickshaw (Tour Included!)
By the fifth day in Bari, I had thought ahead and surprised my husband. We needed a break from moving around so much and I had booked in advance a guided tour of Bari by rickshaw for just the two of us! At the time of this writing, I paid just under $100 for me and my husband.
As we sat back comfortably, we were whisked around through the heart of this ancient city and got to see a few key attraction including women who made homemade pasta, kids playing and we even stopped for a gelato tasting.
6) Go to Il Succorpo della Cattedrale di Bari
The moment you step into the Cathedral of Bari, you realize that you're totally on this ancient Roman road, and when you imagine it, you can almost hear the sound of sandals slapping against stone and see togas fluttering in the Adriatic breeze of southern Italy. I could easily picture them, these ancient Romans (maybe relatives?), and maybe griping about the latest from Caesar or bemoaning the cost of olives in the market…definitely my relatives then.
Our guide told us that there wasn't just one, not two, but three basilicas underneath our feet, and each one was incredibly perched or stacked, one on top of the other, like pages in a history book; and the overall experience of the Succorpo's stratification, I found to be profoundly moving.
7) Check out the Piazza del Ferrarese
I've been to hundreds of piazzas in my lifetime. Basically, every Italian city or town has one, so naturally, Bari's no different. Situated by the seafront is Piazza del Ferrarese - it's a square that's flanked to the right by this 1840-built former fish market building and the entrance ramp to Via Venezia. I was told that the Piazza, along with Sala Murat (previously used as a food storage place), has been the gateway into the city - the historic part, that is.
Due to renovation efforts that went beyond the square to adjacent buildings and structures, revealed a part of the ancient Via Appia. But today, this piazza has that modern Italian buzz and vibe that includes popular clubs if you're looking to have fun at night. During the day, you can totally find a place that's also lively and if you're in the mood, grab some delicious focaccia or fried panzerotti with mozzarella and tomato! Oh
Oh, and one last tip, try La Tana del Polpo, a restaurant in a small alley near the piazza. If you can't see it, just ask someone to point it out.
8) Go to Porto Vecchio (the Old Port)
I haven't been to the old port of Bari and the area around it in years. Unfortunately, in the past (many years ago) it wasn't as clean, but according to the locals, a series of new and forward-thinking administrations made changes that left me wonderfully surprised. For the most part, they managed to clean up the place and make it more inviting for tourists, like myself. I noticed a lot more foreigners, especially folks from Spain and the States too.
From my memory alone I would have recommended it, but now that I've returned it's a definite must-see in my book, especially during sunset hours. If you go at the right time, you're sure to see the local fish market with their fresh catch, the sight of boats anchored at the pier, seagulls basking in the sun's mild warmth, and the Margherita theater set against this backdrop. There'll be locals there, engaged in conversations, Italian hand gestures and all.
9) Visit the Mercato Coperto Santa Scolastica
Growing up in the States, most of my fellow Americans went to the supermarket which was pretty stock standard: indoors, air-conditioned and it had everything to stock up in your kitchen.
But in Italy, it was different.
The Italians, you see, had special stores or areas for specific types of product. You went to the port for fish; the meat market for your protein; the baker for bread and so on. As time went on, Italy became more like us - in the West. And so, supermarkets just like ours started popping up too which put pressure on mom-and-pop family markets.
Such was the case in Bari too, and the locals told me that a few vibrant street markets disappeared, but I was so excited to learn that there was this covered market called Santa Scolastica with a diverse offering of Apulian dairy and cheeses, a variety of local fruits and vegetables, and an abundance of Adriatic fish. If you want an Italian experience, go check it out!
The Best Places to Stay in Bari
These are some of my favorite places to stay when I'm in Bari, Italy:
1) Vis Urban Suite & Spa
I found this residence by chance online and I strongly recommend it for both short and long periods. Everything was perfect. The hotel is located in the center of Bari in a period building, completely renovated and suitable for a modern, elegant, and functional accommodation facility. All the staff, from reception to the spa and at the bar, are very professional and helpful.
The breakfast is abundant and truly varied, both savory and sweet, and almost entirely homemade. Finally, the hotel is in a strategic position for the areas of interest in the city. In short, a truly lucky random discovery! Absolutely recommended.
2) Dilman Luxury Stay
Dilman Luxury Stay is conveniently a stone's throw from the old city and just one minute from the Petruzzelli Theatre, overlooking a quiet secondary street. The large rooms, tastefully furnished and very clean, offer a peaceful atmosphere equipped with every comfort, including a free minibar service which is much appreciated. Everything in this hotel is extremely clean, with attention to detail that makes you almost feel at home.
A special thank you goes to Norberto at reception, who welcomed us with enormous professionalism and kindness. For breakfast, guests are served in the adjacent lounge bar, set in a very pleasant environment. The structure's location is perfect, not only close to the Petruzzelli Theatre but also a stone's throw from the sea, allowing for easy exploration of the city center on foot.
We are looking forward to returning to Dilman with great pleasure and definitely recommend it. While the bathroom is somewhat small in comparison to the room, it is nonetheless equipped with all the available comforts.
3) Hi Hotel Bari
I highly recommend this modern and well-kept hotel that features spacious and comfortable rooms, well soundproofed, ensuring that we slept well... and on excellent pillows too. Our room included a free minibar, with water (that's always a bonus when you're traveling!) and a small set of tea and instant coffee.
Okay, so on the ground floor, there was also this small coffee/tea area with free fresh flavored water and a 24-hour coffee machine offering cappuccinos, hot tea, chocolate, etc. Again, this helped us save a few euros and trips outside to get our caffeine fix.
To our surprise, there was an outdoor swimming pool! It was small but, nonetheless, well-equipped with a very relaxing hydromassage and waterfall. There's also a fitness room with adjoining spa, a conference room, and a breakfast room that seems to be in a winter garden.
The Best Restaurants in Bari
The following are three of my favorite restaurants in Bari:
1) Sapori Solari - La Bisteccheria Bari
Ask most diners and they'll tell you that a great restaurant experience involves three factors: good food (naturally!); a warm, welcoming and comfortable ambience; and helpful staff. In my experience, Sapori Solari has all three which translate into a wonderful dining experience from start to finish.
Here you'll find fantastic food with a modern interpretation of traditional Bari dishes. Since Salori is a Bisteccheria or steakhouse, I opted for the grilled steak (when in Rome....err Bari, right?). It was perfect: tender, juicy and prepared precisely how I asked. Overall, Italy's not known for its steak but I'd go as far as to say it was one of the best I've ever enjoyed in my life.
Finally, I want to give special thanks for her welcoming vibe to the owner, Miky: Grazie!
2) Gola Gourmet Kitchen
Me and my husband also scored big by discovering Gola, another Bari restaurant that I'd highly recommend. It's definitely in the category of "cozy" Italian restaurant. But Gola has a blend of subtle charm and southern-Italian cheerfulness packed into a somewhat small but incredibly welcoming bistro with an atmosphere that's complemented by professional service staff, adding to the overall great dining experience. I tried their famous spaghetti all'assassina, and it lived up to the hype – one of the best in the city, without a doubt.
My husband (a chef!) had their signature dish called the “Nel blu dipinto di blu” dish. As an Italian-American, I immediately recognized the name as an homage to Puglia's very own Domenico Modugno who was born in Polignano a Mare. The dish was tagliolini with squid ink which was absolutely delicious.
I'd say, considering the quality, that the pricing is fair, making Gola a place that offers great value. For us, another highlight of the evening was their extensive wine list that offered the perfect pairing with our dishes. Lastly, I believe that Maurizio, our host, deserves a special mention since his ability to welcome and provide us recommendations made our night all the more enjoyable.
3) Tuccio - Cucina E Caffè
And last but not least (on our last night in Bari!) one of my favorite restaurant experiences was at Tuccio - Cucina E Caffè - a wonderful restaurant that stood out for us because the menu included traditional Apulian dishes while the young, and talented chef, gave the recipes a refreshing spin for the modern palate.
I was impressed by the quality and creativity on display; the customer service and staff were warm, attentive, and friendly; and, of course, the tiramisu was to die for!
Is Bari Worth Visiting?
Yes! If you're thumbing through your dog-eared travel guides looking for the next big thing, you definitely want to pencil in Bari, Italy. Bari's this picturesque harbor slice on the Adriatic, doling out postcard views with great beaches, and a foodie scene that’ll have you loosening the belt. It's a gem in Puglia’s crown with a city vibe that's got more hustle than its sleepy Puglian neighbors, with grand avenues, a scene that keeps the lights on past your bedtime, and enough culture to fill a university lecture hall or an opera house.
Mixing it up, Bari's got one foot in the ancient world and the other in a pair of flashy Italian boots, serving up a cocktail of history with a twist of the 21st century.
For the trailblazers and map redrawers, Bari is the road less traveled but still paved with stories. If you're a rookie to Italy, it's not your standard freshman year itinerary. But for the Italy alum, Bari's your next chapter.
You've got questions about Bari? We totally get it. People who have never been to Bari often ask these frequently asked questions. If you feel we haven't covered what you want to know, feel free to give us a shout out below in the comment section.
Quanto mi costerà?
Swinging through Bari, Italy, is a financial rollercoaster—it can be a champagne and caviar ride or a beer and pizza jaunt. If you're rolling deep, a ritzy week for two can bleed your wallet of $3,000 to $9,000. Translation: you're shelling out $500 to $1,500 daily for top-shelf grub, travel, and eye candy tours, not to mention flying first-class and snoozing in swanky digs if that's your thing.
On the flip side, for the wallet-watchers, a week's adventure in Bari could ding you about $900 each. That’s a neat bundle that covers your eats, wheels around town, and your share of "oohs" and "aahs" at local sights. Double up, and a duo can get by on about $2,000 for the week.
As for shacking up, a double room will hit you up for an average of $175 a night. But you can play the price is right and hunt down a deal—average spots go for $80, while the penny pinchers can bunk down for $60, the middle of the roaders for $90, and the high-rollers can crash in the lap of luxury starting around about $140 a night.
Bari è una città percorribile a piedi?
Yes! Hitting the streets of Bari on foot is like stepping into a live-action maze – especially in the Old Town, Bari Vecchia, where the real action is. It's a spaghetti bowl of alleys and byways that are prime for pedestrian exploration. Safety's been getting a tune-up too in recent years (but still use common sense!), making Bari a mostly no-sweat spot for tourists to pound the pavement worry-free.
Quanti giorni si dovrebbero trascorrere a Bari, Italia?
If you're eyeballing Bari for a quick zip or a deep dive, here's how to time your play: Got only one day to spare? No sweat, because you can still take a big bite out of Bari’s juiciest spots—think ancient digs and great food! Or, you can double down with a 48-hour stretch, and you're in for more than a sneak peek by getting your feet sandy on the coast, and let the city's beach life slow your roll.
But if you're gunning for the full monty, block out a three-day stint, which, in our opinion, is your golden ticket to really savor the eats and the beats of Bari, minus the rush job. And, finally, for the wanderlust crew aiming to milk the Puglia region for all it’s worth, consider setting up camp for a week or two.
Parlano inglese a Bari?
Yes. For the most part. This is a common question people ask me before going to Italy. Over the years, in my experience of traveling and living throughout Italy, you'll find most people, especially those in the tourism or hospitality industry, speak English quite well. As a matter of fact, in the bigger Italian cities, like Genoa, Rome or big tourist attractions like Portofino or Santa Margherita, people speak more than two languages! Those other languages usually tend to be either French, German, and sometimes Spanish.
Pro Tip: It's still a good idea to carry around a translator or a handy phrase notebook, just in case.
Per cosa è più famosa Bari?
Like most of Italy, Bari is famous for its rich and very diverse history. Architecturally-wise, this southern city, notably its Old Town, is famous for the Basilica di San Nicola, a major pilgrimage destination for Catholics, Orthodox and your run-of-the-mill sightseers. Again, like other major cities in Italy, Bari happens to be located on the Adriatic Sea and it has a major port that facilitates trade and transportation. Finally, Bari has great food, and I would say its most popular dishes include seafood or pasta like "orechiette."
Bari è sicura per le viaggiatrici sole?
I'm a female whose been up and down Italy throughout my entire life. During these occasions, I've found the country, including Bari, to be a very safe city for other female visitors like myself. As a matter of fact, Bari has ranked 23rd in the world for women's travel safety. That being noted, you should always be aware of your surroundings; keep your wits about you, and if you didn't grow up in a city, you should definitely know a thing or two, before you travel anywhere, how to watch your back. The important takeaway is that you should always trust your instincts. So while some women are totally comfortable walking alone at night, others might prefer to walk in a group or just tuck in early.
Want to Read More Italian Travel Guides?
Did you enjoy reading our travel guide about Bari, Italy? Great! If you're seriously considering traveling to Italy, then you'll definitely enjoy some of our other deep dives into our favorite Italian cities and towns...ummm, who are we kidding? We LOVE them all!
Molte grazie from the Savoring Italy team!