Beautiful Bari, Italy!

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Travel to Bari…virtually!

As I write this it’s the middle of March 2020 and the coronavirus COVID-19 has taken the world hostage.  Schools have shut down and non-perishable goods are being stockpiled as people isolate themselves at home.  Several countries have already closed their borders, cancelled public events and seized all travel in a desperate attempt to stop the virus from spreading.

Italy was hit particularly hard where a shocking 35,713 cases and 2,978 deaths have already been recorded at the time of this post.   With tourism and travel having been brought to a dead halt, the once bustling village streets are now desolate and gripped in fear under a blanket of doom.

But, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining and just because we can’t physically spend sunny days leisurely meandering through the quaint villages and coastal towns, it doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy all the beauty Italy has to offer.

So, snuggle up in your favorite reading chair and allow me to transport your mind through the streets of beautiful Bari, Italy!

A BIT OF BARI HISTORY

Bari Port

Once a quaint fisherman’s village, Bari, the capital of Puglia, is now a bustling Mediterranean cruise port on the southern coast of Italy.  Apart from it’s obvious seaside charm it is deeply rooted in history.  Believed to have initially been Illyrian, Bari was in fact controlled by the Greeks first before the Romans later took over.

Bari’s Latin name is Barium and dates as far back as 5500 BC when the first inhabitants were a tribe of Proto-Indo-Europeans from Greece.  In the Middle Ages, Bari became a major entry port for the Slavic slave trade and it’s only once it became a haven for some of the most famous Saints of the second century, that it attracted pilgrims and the economy began to truly flourish.

BARI OLD TOWN – BARI VECCHIO

Bari Vecchio

Bari’s Old Town, also known as Bari Vecchio, sits on a peninsula and overlooks the old harbour.  Winding alleys, ancient cobbled streets and cozy piazzas tease your senses with the smell of garlicky tomatoes and freshly baked bread amidst the buzzing Vespas.

Bursts of loud chatter between the locals stationed at their front doors remind you that life in Italy is happy and simple.

Watch the women make their traditional Le orecchiette in the streets and soak up the music and Italian charm! (It’s worth watching till the end.)

BARI ATTRACTIONS

There’s so much to see in this historic city but it’s entirely possible to do it in a day.  In the walled Old Town you’ll find most of the historic attractions in Bari.  Like the Basilica di San Nicola, home of Saint Nicholas where the remains of our modern day Santa Claus is kept. (My 5th book, The Bari Bones  is all about this ancient Christian Saint and his remains! Yes, Santa is real!)

Or visit the 12th century Cathedral of San Sabino, which houses the remains of Saint Sabinus.

The Castello is an original Byzantine-Romanesque building which was converted to a prison and later a signal station in the 16th century. Now it’s a museum with copies of Apulian-Norman sculptures and temporary art exhibitions.

The magnificent Teatro Petruzzelli dates to 1903 and is the fourth largest theater in Italy. A few of the great Italian artists that have performed there include Luciano Pavarotti, Rudolf Nureyev, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, and Frank Sinatra.

Also worth visiting is the Piazza Mercantile which was where petty criminals and debtors were tied to the column in the corner of the Piazza and publicly ridiculed.  The lion now marks this historical landmark.  Thankfully it’s now a pleasant piazza lined with street cafés and restaurants where many locals meet up daily.

BARI FOOD AND TRADITIONS

And what would any trip to Italy be without food?  Because Italians are synonymous with eating, nothing quite screams Bari Adventure like a crisp Foccacia with fresh olives and tomatoes!  Prepared by local street vendors or in any of the nearby Barese restaurants, this flatbread with a texture similar to pizza is very much a Bari tradition.

Take up this free online cooking class by a (very longwinded but passionate) Bari local and make your own!

(PS:  Make sure you share your success in the comments!)

Another must-do experience is making sure you enjoy all the Adriatic has to offer.  If you walk along the harbour walls around mid morning you will find several local fishermen sell their daily catch of seafood.

And because Italians know how to enjoy life, they almost always have a glass (or three!) of vino (wine) with any and every meal.  Add to that the festive sounds of locals singing and you’re bound to join in the festivities also!

BEACHES IN BARI

And now that you’ve filled your tummy, it’s time to finally relax and unwind on one of the serene beaches in Bari!  Though there are only a few, each has something unique on offer.  Take a walk over the powdery white sand into the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic while the sun soothes your cares away.

Favorites include Cala Porto Beach, Pane e Pomodoro Beach or nearby Polignano a Mare’s Cala Paguro Beach.  Whether you like baking in the sun or strolling the shores at sunset, Bari’s all year round mild climate will ensure you leave all your worries behind.

If you want to learn more about Bari, Italy, why not download your copy of The BARI BONES where you’ll find an exclusive free Bonus content file containing all of my research and links used while I wrote the book.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or drop me an email at books@urcelia.com.

Adventure Thriller Books by Urcelia Teixeira

The Bari Bones

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