Puglia - Places to visit - Bari
Lying roughly halfway along the Adriatic coast, on the fringes of the fertile Terra di Bari, the city consists of two distinct parts, the old city, a maze of twisting lanes, which lies on a small peninsula between the bays of the old and new ports, and the modern town stretching inland as well as along the coast, built to a neatly square plan.
Probably of Illyrian origins and prosperous under the Greeks, Bari was an important Roman municipium. Conquered by the Goths, and later an object of contention by Byzantines and Lombards, it was repeatedly sacked and destroyed.
Conquered by the Saracens in 840, it passed to the Eastern Emperor in 875, who made it the seat of a governor-general. It fell into Norman hands (taken by Robert Guiscard) in 1071 and from that date shared the vicissitudes of the Kingdom of Sicily (later known as the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies). It became part of Italy in 1860.
The monuments include: the Romanesque-Pugliese Cathedral (11th century, fine works of art), the Basilica di S. Nicola (11th-12th century), Romanesque-Pugliese, with an interesting faade and housing the famous marble bishop's throne (1098); the medieval Castle, modified by Frederick II (13th century); the Romanesque church of S. Gregorio (11th century). With regards to the economy, Bari has long been an important centre of commerce which has expanded with recent industrial development.
Bari's industrial origins lie in the transformation and conservation of agricultural and fish products, but numerous other industries have developed, generally on a small or medium scale; these include engineering, petrochemicals, construction materials, printing, papermaking, textiles, garments and glass.
There is a busy port, handling domestic traffic as well as shipping with East Mediterranean countries and Africa. The annual trade fair, the Fiera del Levante, is of international importance. The city is also an important centre of culture, linked to the university, one of the foremost in Italy.
Events: Fiera del Levante (September), Festa di S. Nicola (May), Maggio di Bari (folklore, artistic productions concerts).
Famous People: Niccol dell'Arca (sculptor, 1435-1494), Nicola De Giosa (composer, 1820-1885), Giovanni Laterza (publisher, 1873-1943).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Sagarriga Visconti Volpi National Library, Ricchetti Library, Archeological Museum (ancient Pugliese culture), Museo della Basilica di S. Nicola, Museo Storico (relics of World War I), Pinacoteca provinciale (Art Gallery), the University, the Conservatory.
In the Province: Andria (rural village), Barletta (remembrance of the famous `Disfida', July), Trani (Museo delle Carrozze, Trani marble quarries), Molfetta (fishing harbour), Bisceglie (interesting environment, dolmen), Bitonto, Alberobello (the trulli), Terlizzi (floriculture), Minervino Murge (Archeological Museum), Castel del Monte (Frederick the Second's castle).