With three full days to visit Bari, you’ll have time to discover the historic heart and cuisine of Puglia’s largest port city and visit cultural highlights in the region—both along the coastline and deep in the rolling countryside. Here are your options for three days in Bari.
Day 1: Bari’s Heart (Through Its Stomach)
Bari’s culture and cuisine are deeply entwined, and you’ll see how the two come together in the city’s historic center, known as Bari Vecchia. Delve into this warren of crisscrossing lanes and tiny squares with a guided tour on foot, bike, rickshaw, or Segway. Tours visit treasures like the 12th-century Basilica di San Nicola, Swabian Castle (Castello Svevo), Cathedral of St. Sabino, and the bustling Piazza Mercantile, where locals gather to sip coffee and socialize.
Follow your guide through the hidden backstreets of the old town to see neighborhood women turning out tiny orecchiette pasta at tables set up along the street, and sample the city’s famed panzerotti and sgagliozze on a street food tour. End your day with a stroll along the waterfront promenade, elbow-to-elbow with the throngs who flock here each evening for a walk, or “passeggiata,” with gelato in hand.
Day 2: Countryside and Coastline
After you’ve become acquainted with the architectural and culinary treasures of Bari Vecchia, strike out along the coastline or through the countryside. There are a number of easy excursions that take you from Bari to the surrounding region of Puglia. A day trip to the fishermen’s village of Polignano a Mare offers the opportunity to explore the town and nearby beaches or to set sail with a local skipper for a fishing expedition, followed by lunch featuring your catch.
History buffs can take in the 13th-century Castel del Monte citadel that towers over the landscape outside Bari, the picturesque medieval town of Conversano, or the ruins at Gnatia, a city that predates ancient Rome. Foodies can opt for a day in a traditional fortified farmhouse, called a “masseria,” just outside the city for an all-day cooking class to learn how to prepare some of Puglia’s most iconic dishes.
Day 3: UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Two of southern Italy’s most important cultural treasures are located within striking distance of Bari. Join a guided day trip to Alberobello, famous for its round stone cottages topped with conical roofs known as “trulli,” to learn about this unique town’s history and architecture and then spend time in a nearby winery tasting Puglian wines paired with traditional delicacies like taralli and burrata.
Alternatively, set off for the neighboring region of Basilicata to tour the Sassi of Matera, a city of ancient cave dwellings and churches, many of which are now trendy hotels, restaurants, and art galleries. Many Matera day trips pair a tour of the historic center with a food tasting, so you also can sample the specialties of the region, geographically near to Puglia but a world away in its cuisine.