What to Do in Bari, Italy in One Day

Bari is a large port city on the Adriatic Sea with a historic old town filled with delightful alleyways. It is famous for its ear-shaped pasta, orecchiette. We visited it as part of a one-week exploration of Puglia, the heel region of southeast Italy.
Things to do in Bari Italy
The alleyways of Bari are perfect for wandering, as you will find views and treats around every corner.
Part of the city’s ancient wall is still in place, delineating the old town of Bari. If you spend one day in Bari, like we did, you will spend your whole time in this area of town, designated a limited-access or limited-auto zone.
Like most towns in this area, Bari is old. It was founded in the Bronze Age, constantly raided and conquered, and was even an independent Muslim state.

Best Things to Do in Bari, Italy

Visit the Pasta-Making Nonnas

Bari what to do
This woman was happy to explain what she was doing with hand gestures and even let us video her.

Start your day by watching nonnas (Italian for grandmother) hand-making orecchiette pasta from their houses down one of the town’s cute alleyways. More nonnas are out in the morning, although you can find a few if you don’t make it here early. Head to Strada Arco Basso, better known as Strada delle Orecchiette, to see them. They sell their fresh pasta, so it is a great place to get a few souvenirs.

Visit the Castello Svevo di Bari

Things to see in Bari Italy
Walk around the castle to see the walls and grassy moat.

This castle is just a few blocks from Strada delle Orecchiette and was built in 1132 by Norman King Roger II. It is pretty and has all the structures of a historical castle, like a moat and stonework, but there is not a lot going on inside it. There is no view from the top or windows, as they are all blocked, but there are a lot of cats on the grounds if you love cats like I do.

Wander among the Alleyways

If you have the time to meander and appreciate the light, this is an excellent way to spend time in these areas. It’s even better to have a gelato in your hand.

What to eat in Bari Italy
Orecchiette is made of durum wheat and water and served with various sauces.

Time for Lunch

Now that you have seen the orecchiette being made find a restaurant to eat some for lunch. We enjoyed our meal and the experience of sitting outside, right by the stone wall on the patio of Orecchietteria San Nicola.

Basilica San Nicola

what to see in Bari Italy

This gorgeous and imposing church holds the remains of San Nicolas (St. Nicholas) or Santa Claus to us Americans. Yes, Santa was modeled after a kind saint who was said to pay pauper women’s dowries. The church doesn’t buy into the Santa aspect of their saint, but I thought it was pretty interesting. His remains are below the chapel in a beautiful crypt.

Bari things to do
The Crypt of Saint Nicholas

Even if you aren’t interested in Santa, the Romanesque church is stunning.

Via Venezia

Best things to do in Bari Italy
It is easy to access the city walls from Piazza San Nicolas.

Walk along Via Venezia, Bari’s “wall,” and enjoy views of the city and its coastline. It is flat, but there are some stairs.

The Archaeological Museum of the Metropolitan City of Bari

We spent about two hours in the museum, learning about the area’s history and archeology. The museum is housed in the medieval Benedictine monastery of S. Scolastica and the Bastion of Santa Scolastica.

what to do in Bari Italy
The museum contains artifacts from the area and even a modern art exhibit.

We were glad to start our week-long trip to Puglia in this delightful seaside town and felt that one day was a reasonable amount of time to get to know the city. After this visit, we headed to Polignano del Mare. Stay tuned for that story.

If you plan to use public transportation to explore Puglia, Bari is an ideal home base as it is a hub.

Search for a hotel in Bari.

Have you been to Bari? What was your favorite part? Leave any questions in the comments.

If we had more time in Bari, we would have tried a Bari Food Tour. You may also want to check out this Bari Walking Tour.  

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