Bari, Italy

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Bari is a town with two halves: the old and the new. 

The old town is a maze of winding, cobbled streets and then suddenly you turn and are greeted by the wide, open streets of the new.

Hannah and I arrived late and somehow, between broken Italian and limited English, managed to find a taxi. We were staying in the old town, at Rifugio Degli Svevi, where 'Miss Lily' greeted us and showed us to our room. In my best Italian, I asked the most important question 'where is the nearest pizzeria?' Looking back, I can see why Miss Lily looked slightly confused, I had actually asked her for directions to her cousin's pizzeria! 

Either way, we found one. Still unsure whether it was Miss Lily's cousin's...
We were up bright and early the next morning to explore. Our first stop was arguably the most crucial: breakfast. Every morning we had coffees and croissants at a little cafe around the corner from our apartment. It was so Italian: local men came to the cafe to sit, smoke and read their papers. Other stopped and shouted at each other before continuing on with their day. Hannah and I watched the world go by as we sipped our cappuccinos and pretended like we could understand what everyone was saying.

We wound our way through the narrow streets, exploring the twists and turns. I'm normally quite good with directions but Bari stumped me. Not that I minded getting lost in these streets.
We always seemed to end up by Basilica di San Nicola, and, luckily, I knew where I was from there. Basilica di San Nicola was also the perfect place to pause with an ice cream and watch the wedding parties spill out into the square.
Strolling through the streets we passed women sitting in their doorways, chatting as they made food that they left outside their front doors when they went inside the escape the midday heat.
You have to be careful walking through the streets of Bari, mopeds fly around the corner, and they take no prisoners! Luckily, there are plenty of people looking out for you...including Padre Pio.

We made sure that we kept hydrated...

and tried the local delicacies.

At night the streets were lit up, basking everything in a golden light. It made you feel as though you were constantly on a movie set...but also meant you couldn't take a good picture at night! We did stumble upon a concert in a square though.
On our last evening in Bari, we went to the opera. Despite not understanding a word that was said, it was wonderful.
If you are looking for a weekend trip, I would recommend Bari. It feels slightly off the beaten track compared with the major cities or Italian Riveria but with great wine, great food and sunshine, what's not to love? 

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