On your first visit to Bari, explore the narrow lanes of Bari Vecchia (Old Bari) to find austere Norman churches and lively piazzas packed with locals. Go shopping along elegant Via Sparano on return visits to Bari. Then take a tour of Puglia's unusual trulli whitewashed round houses with conical roofs in the Itria Valley nearby.
You'll best appreciate Bari's contrasting mix of medieval alleys and ordered plan of modern streets on foot. A walk through the city takes you from the teeming medieval backstreets of Bari Vecchia, home to Bari's churches and monuments, to avenues like pedestrianised Via Sparano and shop-lined Corso Cavour in Bari's new town. If you're in Bari to catch a ferry to Greece, Croatia, Montenegro or Albania, head to the ferry terminal overlooking the western edge of Old Bari, not far from Bari's massive 13th-century Swabian Castle.
Seek out the market on Piazza del Ferrarese square to pick up picnic provisions. Then follow the curving seaside promenade, the Lungomare, with its palm trees and moored fishing boats. Admire the sturdy Puglian-Romanesque style of the Norman Basilica of St Nicholas and visit the crypt to see where the relics of St Nicholas are housed. Take a tour of Frederick II's imposing twin-towered Swabian Castle, on the edge of Bari Vecchia. Then choose a local trattoria traditional restaurant specialising in freshly caught seafood and the region's tiny ear-shaped pasta, orecchiette.
Relax with locals on busy piazzas in Bari Vecchia and explore some of the 40 churches squeezed into its tiny backstreets and squares. Visit the gleaming-white, 12th-century Cathedral to see its magnificent rose window then leave the winding backstreets to shop on elegant Corso Cavour in Bari's new town. Take a tour to the nearby Itria Valley to visit towns like Alberobello filled with strange beehive-shaped, whitewashed houses called trulli.