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The people of Bari love to repeat this phrase: "If Paris was on the sea, it would look like a small Bari". Obviously, this is an exaggeration, but it tells us a lot about the pride (and sense of humour) in this area. This is a city with a deep sense of history and art, with rich cultural roots and a modern business outlook. Bari was an important city under the Greeks, became a Roman municipality, and was later governed by the Saracens, the Venetians, the Normans, the Aragons and finally the Bourbons before finally becoming a part of Italy. As a link between the Greek and Middle-Eastern worlds, Bari experienced its Golden Age during the medieval period. The glories of that age are perfectly symbolised by the stupendous Cathedral and Church of San Nicola. The Emperor Augustus Promenade – the main thoroughfare in the city – is also worthy of note, as is the Nazario Sauro Promenade, which provides a magnificent walkway along the sea front, as well as superb views over the city itself. To the left, is the S. Nicola jetty where every year, on the 8th of May, the ceremony of the thaumaturgy statue takes place. The statue is taken to sea on a boat where it is worshipped by pilgrims and believers. In this area, you can sample the marvellous seafood in the working class bay area known as the “nderre a la lanze”.
Bari, a busy port city on the Adriatic coast might not be a major tourist destination but for sure a charming city that do not lack in history and culture. Bari has many stunning sites to offer, such as the Cattedrale Di San Sabino, known as one of the most important attractions in town, and the Castel Del Monte, a unique medieval manor house, 70 kilometres from the centre of Bari! Additionally, be sure to enjoy a walk in the beautiful Orto Botanico or discover the Grotte Di Castellana - the famous caves of Castellana - and visit the old town to capture some photos of the medieval buildings, take a nice stroll by the harbour, enjoy the beautiful sea view and watch fishermen at work. All the tourist highlights can easily be visited on foot.
Pugliese cuisine is usually associated with orecchiette (little-ear shaped) pasta accompanied by cime di rapa (turnip-tops), but there is much more to this region than that one dish. The fresh vegetables found here are often prepared with oil and garlic and other specialities include fish, homemade pasta and vegetable and cereal-based soups. Most dishes are served with very good bread or taralli (similar to breadsticks). The burrata (mozzarella cheese with a cream centre) should not be missed. Pugliese cuisine with its delicate flavours is generally considered to be amongst the best in Italy.
Italian people are for sure passionate about their coffee and in Bari you will find many cosy, mostly family owned café scattered all over this lovely city. You can enjoy either a crispy croissant and a cappuccino, a typical Italian breakfast, or perhaps just a good cup of strong Italian coffee after a long day of sightseeing! When in Bari, try the local pastry called Pasticciotto that is filled with creamy custard or the delicious Bocconotto, a puff pastry stuffed with various filling, an ideal dessert for lunch or dinner, either way you will have plenty of chooses when it comes to coffee and sweets in Bari.
Aperitivo venues tend to open late, at around 8:00 pm / 9:00 pm, because in Bari people usually have dinner around 9:00 pm, and if you arrive earlier you will probably find a lot of empty seats. People generally eat outside because it’s almost never cold and they like to chill-out and chat in Piazza del Ferrarese or along the old walls. They also enjoy visiting the small villages by the sea, such as Trani, Poliniano a Mare, Molfetta and Bisceglie, for a walk and a drink. In Bari, there are a few dance clubs, but for proper discos, it’s worth a trip out to the famous Divinae follie in Bisceglie, 40 km from Bari!
If you want to find Italian fashion clothing, bags, shoes and accessories, you should visit via Sparano, which is the most important shopping street in Bari. Here you can find all the famous labels such as Paciotti, Coccinelle and Furla, as well as the major chains including Sisley (which is one of the biggest chain stores in the South of Italy) and Zara. Other fashion shops, with cheaper brands, can be found in Corso Cavour and via Manzoni. The market in via Tommaso Fiore (which is open on Monday mornings) is a great place for second-hand clothes, shoes, textiles and craft items. If you want to bring home typical food and fresh vegetables, you can visit the markets in Corso Mazzini and in via Nicolai (they are open every day). Furthermore, in the Old City centre there are many pottery and straw basket shops.
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