14 things to see in Bari: the best attractions and things to do

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Rich in history and culture, Bari is perfect to spend a few days in which to combine relaxation and visits. Moreover, thanks to its strategic position, you can easily move around and reach places like Alberobello, Polignano a Mare and Ostuni.

But for the moment let's stay in town and find out together what to see in Bari, the best attractions and things to do!


  1. Bari Old
  2. Basilica San Nicola
  3. Nicolaiano Museum
  4. Cathedral Basilica of San Sabino
  5. Norman-Swabian Castle
  6. Underground Bari
  7. Fortino and Pier of Sant'Antonio
  8. Lungomare Nazario Sauro and Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza
  9. Pane e Pomodoro beach
  10. Corrado Giaquinto Picture Gallery
  11. Teatro Petruzzelli
  12. Margherita Theater Museum
  13. Corso Vittorio Emanuele
  14. Castellana Grotte
  15. Other attractions to visit
  16. 5 things to do in Bari
  17. User questions and comments

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1 - Old Bari

The discovery of Bari can only start from the historic center, or Bari Vecchia, which corresponds to the district of San Nicola. It is located in the northern part of Bari, on the sea.
Perfect example of how history and social life can coexist, intertwining perfectly with each other, walking along the alleys of the old city you can meet women intent on preparing the famous orecchiette on their plateaus, to be tasted in the best restaurants, cooked according to the Apulian tradition!

Many of the main attractions are located right in Bari Vecchia, such as the Basilica of San Nicola, the Cathedral of San Sabino and the Fort of Sant'Antonio Abate. To discover its history and for a first approach to the city, this is the ideal place to take a walking tour with street food: walking along the wall, on the "chianche", and then entering the alleys of the center, will allow you to combine a historical visit to the famous culinary tradition of Bari!

Also here also develops the Bari nightlife. In the evening, the center comes alive with many clubs, bars and restaurants, and the squares are filled with young people.

Discover the Via delle Orecchiette: the official name is "via dell'Arco Basso", but it is the road that made Bari famous all over the world. Right here, in fact, the ladies of Bari in the middle of the street are intent on preparing the famous orecchiette, chili and kilos of pasta in a true triumph of tradition and authenticity. One of the best experiences to live here is that of a homemade pasta cooking class!

2 - Basilica of San Nicola

The Patron Saint of the city of Bari is Saint Nicholas of Myra, capable of attracting faithful of the Catholic and Orthodox faith to him. The one who, according to tradition, gave the origins to Santa Claus, better known as Santa Claus, he rests peacefully in the crypt of the basilica dedicated to him, within which it is possible to attend both Orthodox and Catholic religious rites. A true example of effective religious integration!

Built between 1087 and 1197, the Basilica of San Nicola is a striking example of perfect Roman architectural style and houses within its walls, in addition to the relics of the Saint, also a silver altar, an ancient ciborium (marble canopy above the altar) and the Romanesque sculpture known as the Chair of Elia. Near the Basilica there is the Museum which houses, inside, the treasure of San Nicola.

A curiosity concerns the crypt of the basilica: it seems that a "miraculous" column is able to marry the "spinsters" if these, after the dawn mass on December 6, make 3 turns around! Seeing is believing ... let us know!

Walk the Route of the Crusades: reach the square of the basilica along this picturesque alley, full of artisan shops, souvenirs, small fruit markets. Maybe too touristy, true, but the effect is super instagrammable! And enjoy the "wow" effect when, turning right on Piazzetta 62 Marinai, you will find yourself in front of the arch and the monumental square with the Basilica!

  • in Largo Abate Elia 13, in Bari Vecchia. Easily reachable on foot from all parts of the historic center, such as from the Polo Museale of Puglia (600 m, 7 min) and from the Fortino di Sant'Antonio (400 m, 5 min) - Get directions
  • lun-sab 7:00-20:30, dom 7:00-22:00
  • free

3 - Nicolaian Museum

After visiting the Basilica of San Nicola, we recommend that you visit the nearby Nicolaiano Museum, just 50 meters away. It is about a religious historical museum which houses the Treasures of San Nicola, a must for the faithful of Catholic and Orthodox beliefs, but also for lovers of art history.

The Museum is divided into three paths. The first is the Greco-Roman Route, with works that combine Christian art and Western art and culture, the most famous and important piece in the gallery is a white marble bust from Paros. The second is the Byzantine Route, which represents a journey into Byzantine culture and millenary history. In this case, the most precious work is the sculpture of the Angel who teaches. Finally, the last route is the Norman Swabian one, which retraces an important historical part of the city of Bari. Among the main works you will find the crown of Roger II and the seal of Frederick II of Swabia.

  • in Largo Papa Urbano II, in Bari Vecchia. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from the Basilica San Nicola (50 m, 1 min) - Get directions
  • every day 10: 30-18: 00
  • full € 3,00, reduced € 2,50

4 - Cathedral Basilica of San Sabino

It is the Cathedral and the bishop's seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Bari. It was built in the Apulian-Romanesque style between the th and th centuries on the rubble of the previous Byzantine Cathedral at the behest of Archbishop Rainaldo.

Curiosity: if you are in Bari during the Summer Solstice you must absolutely go to the Church. In fact, it was discovered that on 21 June, around 17:00 pm, the sun's rays project their light through the large rose window on the facade and these align perfectly with the mosaic of rose petals on the floor of the nave!

Visit it on weekdays: visits are not allowed during the celebration of Holy Mass or certain holidays and events, so we advise you to visit it during the week and not on Sundays

  • in Piazza dell'Odegitria, in Bari Vecchia. Easily reachable on foot from every point of the historic center, such as from the Basilica San Nicola (350 m, 4 min) or from the Norman Swabian Castle (250 m, 3 min) - Get directions
  • lun-sab 8:30-19:00, dom 8:00-10:00 e 11:00-19:00,
  • free

5 - Norman-Swabian Castle

One of the symbols of Bari it is the Norman-Swabian Castle, therefore impossible not to include it in a city itinerary. It is an imposing fortress built around 1131 at the behest of Roger II of Sicily, better known as Ruggero the Norman. However, the fortress was destroyed in 1156 by the people of Bari and was then rebuilt later in 1223 at the behest of Federico II of Swabia. Hence, the double Norman-Swabian name.
It marks the edge of the Barivecchia, as on one side it overlooks the sea, while the other 3 sides are protected by a moat and the castle is accessed by a drawbridge.

Today the castle can be visited, as it houses a museum and is used for temporary exhibitions and mainly cultural events. In addition, it is the seat of the Superintendence for Architectural and Historical Environmental Heritage. The Museum is divided into several rooms that exhibit objects found in Bari and its surroundings, giving an overview of the history of the city.

Start from here: for your itinerary in Bari Vecchia, we recommend that you leave from here towards opening hours, to avoid the queues, and spend the rest of the day discovering other attractions of the city

  • in Via Pier l'Eremita, in Bari Vecchia. Easily reachable on foot from every point of the historic center, such as the Cathedral Basilica of San Sabino (350 m, 4 min) and the Basilica San Nicola (600 m, 7 min) - Get directions
  • Wed-Mon 8: 30-19: 30, closed Tues
  • full € 6,00 (in case of temporary exhibitions € 9,00), reduced € 2,00 (in case of temporary exhibitions € 3,50)

6 - Bari underground

From the Norman-Swabian Castle you can take part in one of the experiences to live absolutely in Bari: this is in fact the starting point to discover the underground Bari! It's about a night visit led by expert archaeologists accredited by the Archaeological Superintendency, lasting about 1 h 45 min and spread between the Castle, the Succorpo of the Cathedral, Palazzo Simi and Santa Maria del Buon Consiglio.
The route is truly suggestive, as it allows you to discover the history of the city since its dawn. Just think that here there is even a hut dating back to the Bronze Age!

Participation possible only by reservation on the official website of Eventi d'Autore, which takes care of organizing the days dedicated to the visit.

  • departure of the tour from the Swabian Castle. Easily reachable on foot from every point of the historic center, such as the Cathedral Basilica of San Sabino (350 m, 4 min) and the Basilica San Nicola (600 m, 7 min) - Get directions
  • variable hours, by reservation only on the official website
  • 15,00 € per person

7 - Fortino and Pier of Sant'Antonio

Still in Bari Vecchia, go to the pier, where the Fortino di Sant'Antonio is located. Originally built to control and repel enemy sieges, the attraction today is considered a very important meeting point for the inhabitants of the capital, as well as a privileged vantage point: walking along the Wall you have a beautiful view of the city. It is also home to numerous events, especially in the summer.
From here the Lungomare Nazario Sauro stretches on one side, and the perimeter of the old city on the other.

Behind the Fortino di Sant'Antonio develops the homonymous pier, or the Molo di Sant'Antonio. This is the place where the fish market takes place every day. If you stay in an apartment you can buy fresh fish, caught daily, and cook it at home, otherwise you can taste some specialties directly on the spot!

From sunrise to sunset: fort and pier are to be visited early in the morning to immerse yourself in the characteristic fish market, and then at sunset to admire one of the most beautiful views of the city! Especially in the morning, come very early, because the best fish is the first to be sold!

8 - Lungomare Nazario Sauro and Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza

The Lungomare Nazario Sauro and Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza are among the most beautiful promenades in Italy! They are located in the eastern part of the city and offer wonderful views! The most distant is the Lungomare Nazario Sauro, which with its benches facing the sea and the elegant street lamps, is ideal for strolling and easily reach some of the most important monuments of the city. Approaching the center, you will find the Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza, full of bars and excellent fish restaurants!

Between the two promenades is the Rotonda del Lungomare, in Largo Luigi Giannella. Here once was the famous Ferris Wheel, which has now become a symbol on the city skyline! Currently it is in another city, but you never know that it will come back to illuminate the seafront, the people of Bari are looking forward to it!

The Corrado Giaquinto Art Gallery is located right on the seafront.

9 - Pane e Pomodoro beach

Along the Nazario Sauro promenade you get to the Pane e Pomodoro beach, the beach that all the people of Bari frequent. If you are in Bari during the beautiful station, approximately between mid-spring and early autumn, the beach is ideal for a few hours of relaxation! In the summer months it is particularly popular, especially due to its proximity to the historic center.

Characterized by golden sand and crystal clear sea, the beach is well protected and the seabed drops slowly so it is also suitable for families with small children. It is equipped with all services, such as a children's play area and several clubs and restaurants in the surrounding area. Not far away is the Veterani dello Sport Garden (every day 8: 30-21: 30) and the Torre Quetta beach, with numerous bars and clubs overlooking the sea.

Easily reachable on foot from the Lungomare Nazario Sauro. From the historic center, by train from Bari Centrali station to Bari Parco Sud (5 min) - Get directions

Come early to find a spot: it is a free beach, so in summer it is recommended to arrive very early to find a place. There are no umbrellas and deck chairs, so with children it is best to arrive in the morning and then move around at lunchtime

10 - Corrado Giaquinto Art Gallery

The Corrado Giaquinto Art Gallery is housed in the majestic Palazzo della Provincia, on the fourth floor, on the Lungomare Nazario Sauro. Here you will come into close contact and you can discover Apulian art and culture.

The works exhibited here are divided into sections ranging from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, with Venetian and Neapolitan paintings and a collection of paintings by Giaquinto, a painter from Molfetta, protagonist of the European eighteenth century, as well as being one of the best-known artists of his time and an important exponent of the Rococo style.

  • in Via Spalato 19, on the Lungomare Nazario Sauro, 27th floor, 850. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the center, such as the Petruzzelli Theater (11 m, 1,6 min) or the Pane e Pomodoro Beach (20 km, min ) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sat 9: 00-19: 00, Sun 9: 00-13: 00, closed Mon
  • full € 3,00, reduced € 0,50

11 - Petruzzelli Theater

If you are in Bari, a visit to the Petruzzelli Theater is a must the fourth largest theater in Italy. Built in 1898 and inaugurated in 1903, what we can admire today is the result of a reconstruction completed in 2009, as the theater was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1991.

Today it is possible to visit the theater inside through a guided tour, mainly on Saturdays and Sundays, with times that respect the program of events and shows. For this reason, we recommend that you check the guided tours section of the official website before your visit. To buy the ticket, just arrive at the box office 30 minutes before the tour starts. Alternatively, you can admire the beauty of the theater by watching a show: among other things, the temple of opera opens extraordinarily also at pop, rock and pop music events! Find all the info in the calendar section of the official website.

  • in Corso Cavour 12. Easily reachable on foot from Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza (350 m, 4 min) and from the Teatro Margherita Museum (300 m, 4 min) - Get directions
  • guided tours generally Sat-Sun 13:00. Consult official website
  • full guided tours € 5,00, reduced € 1,00 / shows and events variable cost, consult the official website

12 - Margherita Theater Museum

In Bari Vecchia, continuing along the Lungomare Imperatore Augusto, you can reach the beautiful Teatro Margherita. Built in the early th century, in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy who visited the city, did not have an easy life: its construction was in fact much criticized, as it obstructed the view of the Bari seafront.

But after many years of inactivity, the theater was renovated and refurbished. Today it is an art museum that hosts temporary exhibitions and events, while one floor is reserved for the Circolo della Vela di Bari.

  • in Piazza IV Novembre, in Bari Vecchia. Easily reachable on foot from any point of the historic center, such as the Cathedral Basilica of San Sabino (600 m, 8 min) and the Petruzzelli Theater (300 m, 4 min) - Get directions
  • generally every day, based on the exhibitions and events organized
  • variable according to the scheduled exhibitions

13 - Corso Vittorio Emanuele

Walking through the streets of Bari, discovering its wonderful attractions, it will happen several times to cross Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the central road that divides Bari Vecchia from the new Murattiano village. This course starts from Giardino Garibaldi, and reaches the Margherita Theater Museum on the seafront, for a length of almost 1 km. Strolling you will meet Palazzo Fizzarotti, the Town Hall of Bari, the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II Garden and the Piccinni Theater.

But this is also one of the areas where the Bari nightlife is concentrated! The avenue is in fact dotted with places where you can taste traditional dishes and then stop for a drink and thus spend the evening!

14 - Caves of Castellana

It is not located in Bari city, but in the province, in the Castellana Grotte locality (45 km from Bari). It is about a complex of caves of karst origin among the most beautiful in Italy, which attracts many visitors from all over the world!

Inside of there are two itineraries: the complete itinerary, 3 km long and lasting just under 2 hours; and the partial itinerary, 1 km long and which takes about 50 min. The most famous cave in the whole complex is the White Grotto, but the complex is extraordinarily rich: stalactites, stalagmites, tunnels, caves, even a museum and an astronomical observatory!
You go down to about 7 meters, the temperature fluctuates between 14 ° and 18 °, so we recommend suitable clothing and comfortable shoes. Visits can also be organized at night.

Outside there is the parking: if you travel by car, outside the caves there is a large paying car park (€ 4,00 per vehicle). If you do not have a car, you can easily use the train, the Castellana station is located 550 m from the entrance to the Caves (7 min)

  • in Piazza Franco Anelli, in Castellana Grotte, 45 km from Bari. Reachable by car via State Road 100 (45 min), or by direct train L1 Bari Sud-Castellana (1 h 15 min, each way € 2,90) - Get indications
  • only through guided tour, different departure times in every season, from 10:00 to 16: 00/18: 00. Consult the official website
  • complete full itinerary € 18,00, reduced € 15,00 / partial full itinerary € 15,00, reduced € 12,00 / possibility of night visit € 25,00 per person, consult the official website

Other attractions to visit

Those seen so far are the main attractions to see in Bari, the ones not to be missed! But according to the itinerary of your trip, you can also include some other stops!

For example, in the center you can find the Pugliese Public Theater, also known as the Piccinni Theater (only by attending a show, info on the official website). Walking through the streets of the center you can then come across marvelous palaces, generally open to visitors by appointment only, such as Palazzo Fizzarotti (consult the official website). From the outside you can also admire the Palazzo dell'Acquedotto Pugliese and the Palazzo Mincuzzi, now home to a Benetton store.

Finally, the city is full of wonderful green areas, all accessible for free and perfect for relaxing on hot summer days! In the center you will find, for example, Piazza Umberto I (always accessible), the Garibaldi Garden (8: 00-22: 00), the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II Garden (always accessible) and the Isabella d'Aragona Gardens (always accessible).

Finally, in Piazza Mercantile, in continuity with Piazza del Ferrarese, there is the so-called "Colonna Infame": the name derives from the fact that insolvent debtors were exposed and publicly mocked here. Today it is a symbol of the city, like the lion at the foot of the column that "guards justice".

5 things to do in Bari

  1. Homemade orecchiette lesson: put your hands in the flour and try to prepare traditional dishes, the famous orecchiette! Book a cooking class with homemade pasta, where you will be followed step by step in the preparation of fresh pasta!
  2. Sea excursion: being Bari a seaside city, you absolutely cannot miss the opportunity to participate in a half-day sailing cruise along the Apulian coast, thus admiring more areas and letting yourself be lulled by the waves
  3. Bike ride: visit the city on a bike, you will discover how the center and the promenade are equipped for a bike-friendly visit! We recommend a gastronomic tour by bicycle, where the ride will be rewarded with excellent typical dishes!
  4. Binge on food: we should say not to overdo it ... but how do you do it? Orecchiette with turnip tops, focaccia, raw seafood, panzerotti, sea urchins ... in short, forget your diet for once and ... go for it! And absolutely eat the Sgagliozze da Maria!
  5. Discover the surroundings: less than an hour by road you can reach iconic locations in the province and throughout Puglia. Alberobello (50 km), Polignano a Mare (34 km) Castel del Monte (55 km) and the aforementioned Castellana Caves (40 km)

Plan your stay in Bari: flights and hotels

Bari is a destination that fits every budget! Ideal to visit on a weekend, you can easily reach it with a flight to Bari-Karol Wojtyla International Airport (compare flights from € 30,00).

The best area to stay is definitely the center (compare the best accommodations on Booking.com - from around € 40,00 per room), both in the more modern district and in Bari Vecchia, if you are looking for a more authentic experience. Staying in the center, you can always move on foot, the best way to visit the city, also because the historic center is a ZTL. To move around you can use the car or public transport. If you are looking for nightlife, we recommend that you stay in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele area, where there are numerous bars and clubs, both traditional and more international.

If you are traveling with children, we always recommend the historic center as an area in which to stay. Here you will have all the services at your fingertips, you can easily reach the parks with play areas and reach the city beach, for a relaxing afternoon. The Pane e Pomodoro beach is in fact also perfect for children, thanks to the seabed that descends slowly towards the sea and the calm water!

If you are traveling low cost there are many experiences that you can live in the city without paying an entrance ticket: you can walk through Bari Vecchia and along the seafront, visit the fish market at Molo Sant'Antonio and admire the sunset from the Rotonda del Lungomare and relax on the free city beach .

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