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Italy : Bari - February 2008

Country Code: Dial ++39 for Italy

Puglia’s capital Bari has very little in common with the sleepy villages it presides over. Fashionable and cosmopolitan, it’s got the youngest population of any major Italian city. And then there’s the weather – in stark contrast to Northern Europe, it’s bright and sunny, even in February. Nigel Wilson goes exploring

Getting around

Bari International Airport

Bus: The Amtab Bus No. 16 offers a service to the city centre and runs every hour. The journey takes 40 minutes. The Tempesta Bus links with the central railway station and takes 30 minutes. Tickets cost €4,15.
Taxi: Taxis are available outside the arrivals hall. It costs €25 and takes about 15 minutes to get to the historic centre of Bari.
Tourist information: The main tourist office is at 33/a Piazza Aldo Moro, near the railway station (tel. 080 5242361, www.pugliaturismo.com.

SAN NICOLA

Teeming with local character, this quarter gently transports you from modern day hustle and bustle to the city’s illustrious past.

Culture vultures – Ex Convento Santa Teresa dei Maschi (4 Strada Lamberti) was built in 1671 and has at turns played host to nuns, soldiers and now a wonderful collection of art and literature. Its doors are always open and it has established itself as a popular meeting place for those who have an ardent interest in Bari’s past.

Must eat – Ai Due Archi (29 Via Corridoni Filippo, tel. 0805 238341) is best known for its beautiful vaulted ceilings and antique copper tables, but one shouldn’t forget that the traditional dishes here are the main attraction. The pasta buried under mounds of mussels and clams is simply divine.

LUNGOMARE

Turquoise waters, restaurants weighed down with locally caught fresh fish and a laid back atmosphere make Lungomare the ideal place to take a long and lavish lunch.

Must eat – La Muraya (14 Via Re Manfredi, tel. 0805 214241) is housed within the walls of an ancient fish storing facility, but don’t let its not-so-glamorous past deceive you. Today Muraya overflows with sophistication and happens to serve some of the freshest seafood you are ever likely to sample.

Must drink – Santa Lucia (9 Lungo Mare Starita) is Bari’s best known cocktail bar. With its blends of local liqueurs and fruit juices, it’s easy to see why it has never gone out of fashion.

SPARANO

Sparano is very ‘new Bari’. Cool wine bars are hemmed in by designer boutiques full of upwardly mobile youths putting their parents’ credit cards to good use.

Sleep soundly – H Scandic (15 Via Don Luigi Guanella, tel. 0805 026815, www.scandic-hotels.com, rooms from €240) is an excellent hotel set in the heart of Bari’s shopping district. The slightly austere interior is offset by the warm welcome from the friendly staff.

Shop til you drop – Les Trois Marches (14 Viale Maggio) is Bari’s first concept shop. Set in a loft overlooking the town, it sells just about everything that could be loosely called cool. Clothes, records and imported fragrances all vie for your attention and there’s even a lounge bar if all the variety becomes a little too much.

POLIGNANO A MARE

Polignano is picture-postcard pretty, and only a short drive from the centre of Bari.

Sleep soundly – Don’t let the bedand-breakfast billing of Santo Stefano (Vico Santa Stefano, tel. 0805 657214, www.santostefano.info, rooms from €70) fool you. This is a boutique hotel of the highest standard. Think exposed stone walls, local art and obscenely comfortable beds.Built within the walls of an ancient sea cave, Grotta Palazzese (59 Via Narciso, tel. 0804 240677, www.grottapalazzese.it, rooms from €200 ) is one of the island’s most stunning boltholes. The restaurant serves fantastic seafood but doesn’t open until May, so for now you’ll have to console yourself with the amazing views. and polished service.



Compiled by Nigel Wilson

Previous issues for Bari
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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