What to do in Bari March 31st, 2021 • by Matt Holmes Bari is the capital city of Puglia and where we begin our Discovering Puglia tour. Much of it is an industrial port town, but the historic center has it’s own charm. The only way, really, to explore Bari’s Old Town is on foot. Wandering along the winding roads and down narrow alleys you’re sure to come across some hidden gems. If you want to spend some time at one of the beaches, you’ll want to take a taxi, as those are a bit further from the center of town. Head to the Tourist Office for maps and information on events and walking tours. THINGS TO DO Basilica San Nicola The plain exterior of this 11th-century church belies the impressive mosaics, sculptures, and architectural details inside. As the resting place of some of St. Nicholas’ remains (yes, Santa Claus), it is an important pilgrimage destination for both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers. Cathedral of San Sabino This 12th-century Romanesque church is the city’s official cathedral and home to several saints’ relics. The crypt is beautifully decorated. Castello Svevo Built in the 1100s by a Norman king, destroyed by a Sicilian king, and rebuilt by a Holy Roman emperor, the castle has gone through many transformations during it’s fascinating history that includes the Sforza family, a king of Naples, and even St. Francis of Assisi. Once used as a prison and barracks, complete with a moat-turned-lawn, it is now a wonderful museum with rotating exhibits. Bari City Museum This small museum housed in an ancient palace exhibits the story of Bari through artifacts and photos. Palazzo Fizzarotti This lavish, Venetian-style palace features historical artwork and ornate architecture. Tours are by appointment only. Old Port It’s worth heading to this seafront area around the historic Teatro Margherita. In the mornings, you will see fishermen landing in small wooden boats with their catch. They sell it directly on the waterfront—a great way to experience the coastal culture of the city. Piazza del Ferrarese & Piazza Mercantile Both of these squares are good places for lunch or to stop for a drink. There are restaurants and cafes with outside tables and sea views. Velo Service Offers bike, segway, walking, or rickshaw city tours, as well as independent bike rentals.