Most people who travel to Italy will probably start with Rome, and then likely continue to Florence and then Venice. While these cities are absolutely incredible, often other amazing cities in Italy are overlooked, which is truly a shame. Bari is the capital of the Puglia region, and is the second largest city in southern Italy after Naples.
This coastal city has so much to offer including beautiful views, a rich history, and of course, delicious local eats. One particular street is truly remarkable and will give you a truly unique look into life in this incredible city.
One of the main attractions of Bari is the Basilica San Nicola, the main church that’s right in the middle of Bari Vecchia, or old town Bari. This church houses the 12th century remains of St. Nicholas, who is better known to most of us as Santa Claus, after they were brought from what is now modern-day Turkey in 1087. The church’s interior is absolutely breathtaking, and if you want to visit, make sure to keep in mind that most churches in Italy require modest dress in order to go in.
Speaking of Bari Vecchia, or Old Town, this is the heart of what makes the city so special. The winding alleyways and cobbled streets are perfect for wandering around, getting lost, and getting a sense of the history that made Bari what it is. Get yourself a delicious, strong coffee and take time to take in the piazzas and do some people watching.
To get a true sense of the area, you must sample the local cuisine, and if you really want to go authentic, you absolutely need to visit the grandmas. Specifically, you should head to Via Arco Basso, which is unofficially known as Strada delle Orecchiette. Here you’ll find ladies sitting in their doorways, making orecchiette pasta by hand all along the alley. Best of all, you can even buy the pasta directly from them. You’ll get a taste of the old world while also getting to enjoy delicious, freshly made pasta.
While you’re at it you can also try the taralli that they make, which are seriously tasty crackers that are made with flour, olive oil, white wine, and salt.
If you are looking to enjoy a unique restaurant, you can visit Maria delle Sgagliozze. This place might look unassuming, and it might be odd that there’s no menu. However, you’ll soon be greeted with plates of food made by Maria herself, the matriarch of the family who does all the cooking herself.
Here you can sample local dishes including riso patate e cozze, which is rice with mussels and potatoes, pure di fave e cicorielle, which is a fava bean puree made with chicory, sgagliozze, which is fried polenta, and of course, orecchiette.