Puglia stands as a beacon of Italian culture and heritage. Today, it’s one of Italy’s most visited regions, thanks to its pristine beaches, architectural wonders, and natural parks. The simple yet flavorful Puglian cuisine, where seafood dishes alternate with land-based ones, is tied together with the golden thread of extra virgin olive oil. As we journey through this region, the province of Bari, with its rich history and vibrant culture, beckons us to explore further. Situated between the wild landscapes of the Gargano National Park to the north and the beautiful beaches of Salentoto the south, the Terra di Bari emerges as a central jewel in the crown of Puglia.
Bari: A Dive into History
Bari, with its old town known as Bari Vecchia, is a treasure trove of history and culture. The narrow alleys, where the scent of Bari focaccia fills the air, lead to the majestic Cattedrale di San Sabino. This cathedral, a testament to the city’s rich past, stands tall amidst the historic structures, offering a glimpse into Bari’s soul. The streets of Bari Vecchia, with their age-old charm, invite visitors to take a step back in time and immerse themselves in the city’s storied past.
Monopoli and Polignano a Mare: Coastal Gems
Monopoli, a charming city in the province of Bari, overlooks the Adriatic Sea. It enchants its visitors with that typical Puglian beauty that mixes the blue of the sea with the white of the houses. Nearby is Polignano a Mare, a truly evocative town that attracts numerous visitors every summer for its beautiful beaches. The landscape of stone houses overlooking turquoise sea waters creates a truly suggestive environment.
The Trulli of Alberobello
The Trulli are unique rural constructions, peasant houses, cylindrical in shape, with conical roofs covered with dry stone. The term “trullo” comes from the Greek τρούλος, meaning dome. They are widespread throughout Puglia, but the Valle d’Itria is the best place to discover these very special houses.
The Castellana Caves
Along the characteristic country roads connecting the fascinating villages like Cisternino and Locorotondo, you can admire the typical trulli. But another gem of this region is the Castellana Caves, a spectacular complex of karstic cavities discovered in 1938 in the territory of Castellana, about 40km from Bari, with a breathtaking underground path that stretches for three thousand meters.
The Enchanting Inland Towns of Puglia
Venturing just a bit inland from Bari, one is greeted by a tapestry of enchanting towns that capture the essence of Puglia’s hinterland. Ostuni, often referred to as the ‘White City’ due to its characteristic whitewashed buildings, offers panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea from its hilltop position. Locorotondo, with its circular structure, is a labyrinth of historic charm and architectural beauty, while Martina Franca stands out with its baroque architecture and the famous Festival della Valle d’Itria. Each of these towns, with their unique allure, showcases the rich diversity and cultural depth of the province of Bari, making them must-visit destinations for anyone exploring the heart of Puglia.
Not far from these towns, the ancient city of Matera, with its iconic Sassi (stone-carved dwellings), beckons. Although technically in the neighboring region of Basilicata, Matera’s proximity makes it an essential stop for travelers in the area.
For those traveling with family, a visit to the Zoo Safari in Fasano is a must. It offers a unique opportunity to observe animals in semi-wild conditions and promises an unforgettable experience for both adults and children. Each of these destinations, with their unique allure, showcases the rich diversity and cultural depth of the province of Bari and its surroundings, making them must-visit spots for anyone exploring the heart of Puglia.
The province of Bari offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the bustling streets of Bari Vecchia to the serene landscapes of Monopoli and Polignano a Mare, from the unique architecture of the Trulli to the mesmerizing depths of the Castellana Caves, this region promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler