Bari lies in the heel of the famous Italian boot, it is the capital city of the Puglia region. The city is a still relatively little-known holiday destination but one that is highly recommended. In Bari, you will find most of the sights in the wonderful old district of Bari Vechhia.
Bari Vecchia is the oldest part of the town and also where most of Bari’s sights are located, such as Castello Normanno Bari and the fort of Sant’Antonio Abate (Anthony the Great). Bari Vecchia is on the peninsula between Bari’s old and new harbours. You can wander around the narrow streets, alleyways and old inner courtyards that are so typical to Italy. It is in stark contrast to the modern Bari that has a striking rectangular street layout.
The ancient Basilica of Saint Nicholas is one of the most famous sights in Bari. The basilica was built in the 11 and 12th century and is dedicated to the one and only St. Nicholas, or as the Dutch know him, Sinterklaas. The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is built in a Romanesque style which is clearly apparent in the characteristic facade. The body of the saintly Sinterklaas lies in the basilica’s crypt. And on the square by the entrance of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas is an almost completely bronze statue of the saint. Only the mitre is missing.
If you like Medieval castles then you must visit Castello Normanno-Svevo, on the outskirts of Bari Vecchia. The castle was built in the 12th century by the Norman King Roger II. A century later the castle was in the hands of the Sforza family and then passed to Bona, Queen of Poland. It also served time as a prison. Do make sure you visit Castello Normanno-Svevo during the evening as you will see it wonderfully lit up.
Bari’s archaeological museum is from 1875. Since then it has housed a wide variety of archaeological finds. More than 140 years later, the museum’s collection has grown to include about 30,000 objects. For example, work tools from prehistoric times, stone sculptures, weapons, jewellery, gemstones, Greek vases, glass and coins. The archaeological museum contains the most complete collection of archaeological finds in the Puglia region!
The impressive Teatro Petruzzelli is located on the Corso Cavour. The theatre was opened in about 1903 and it could seat 2,200 visitors. This number has now been reduced to 1,480 for safety reasons. Teatro Petruzzelli was completely rebuilt and reopened after a major fire in 1991. The interior contains a lot of gold, red velvet, decorative ornaments and painted ceiling murals. You will not believe your eyes! Besides opera, the theatre also regularly holds ballet performances and concerts. Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Luciano Pavarotti are just a few of the stars who have performed there at some point.