Cosmopolitan cool in a Mediterranean climate, Bari has blossomed in recent years to become one of the most prosperous cities in Southern Italy. This historic city oozes edgy charisma, while also maintaining the distinctly Italian charm of the ‘Old Town’ section of the city.
Bari is one of southern Italy's most interesting cities. Whatever your budget, nearly all the accommodation is based in the charming Old Town, which wraps around Bari's palm tree-lined port. Boscolo Bari (Lungomare Nazario Sauro 7) oozes up-to-the-minute, colourful style right on the shorefront, while Palazzo Caló's (Strada Lamberti 8) use of old exposed stonework and designer furnishings marries Bari's ancient history with contemporary luxury. For friendly service and prime position near the beach, mid-range seekers should head to Villa Dafne (Strada Sant’Anna 15), while budget travellers will love quirkily colourful Viasparano (Via Viasparano 149).
The Old Town is the place to head if you want to browse the huge range of Puglia's famed pottery or wickerwork. After you've finished eyeing up what's available, head to the local markets to get the best deals. Bari's Monday morning market (Via Tommaso Fiore) hosts a huge amount of stalls displaying ceramics and other craftwork. This is also a great place to look for cheap clothing and leather ware. For food gifts such as olive oil and typical Italian preserved goods, the daily market on Corso Mazzini is a good place to start.
Seafood is the star of Puglian cuisine. This region combines the fresh tastes of the land and the sea to fine effect. For special occasions you can't go wrong with the romantic vibe of intimate PerBacco (Via Abbrescia 99), while the grand interior at Alberosole (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 13) is matched by a menu of perfectly executed Italian classics. To get a taste of south
La Festa di San Nicola
St Nicholas' remains were transported from Myra (in modern-day Turkey) to Bari in 1087 where they still are kept in the city's basilica. This religious festival celebrates the saint's arrival on their shore with a colourful flotilla of boats re-enacting the arrival, flocks of pilgrims and plenty of fireworks.
Bari International Music Festival
The prime event for culture lovers on Bari's calendar is this two-week programme of classical music, set around a defining theme which changes annually. It features opera, orchestral groups and chamber music concerts, all performed amid stunning historic venues throughout the Old Town.
Mediterranean Music Festival
Bringing the diverse music and song of the Mediterranean to the city, this festival honours the history and culture of the many countries that border the Med.
Levante International Film Festival
Focusing on new breakout work by young directors and cinema offerings from the Eastern European region, this film festival hosts cinema screenings, discussions and a range of film-centric workshops.
A fantastic chance to catch local folk and rock bands, this festival hosts a wealth of alternative contemporary music at venues throughout the city.