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Puglia’s Bari is southern Italy’s second city yet, in its old town, the pace of life slows and there are plenty of unspoilt sights to take in. Just off the coast lie some equally unspoilt islands but, for many, the real draw of this area are the beehive-shaped houses which date back to the 14th Century known as trulli.
Bari (Old Town) - The narrow winding lanes of Bari’s old town are crammed with atmospheric bars and restaurants and even contain the bones of San Nicola (that’s Santa Claus to you and me). The cathedral and castle are also worth visiting but do not contain any further Christmas-related relics.
Bari (The City) - Piazza Umberto I contains fascinating shops bursting with jewellery, prints and books whilst Corso Cavour is the main shopping street for more mainstream retail therapy. There is a fascinating archaeological museum and the Pinacoteca Provinciale holds a fine collection of Italian art from the 12th to the 19th century. Catch a concert or at least drop by to admire the recently renovated opera house.
The Trémeti Islands - This small cluster of islands, sitting about 30 miles off the Gargano coast, offer delightful beaches and crystal clear waters. San Domino is the greenest choice thanks to its pine trees which offer welcome shade from the southern Italian sun.
Alberobello - This town contains the Unesco World Heritage Site known as the Zona dei Trulli. Perched on a hill to the west of the town are 1500 beehive-shaped houses whose white tips give them the incongruous appearance of being capped by snow. Made from limestone and dazzlingly white in the glare of the sun these buildings date from the 14th century and contain bars, shops, cafes and a smattering of everyday life.
Things to See in Bari and the Zona di Trulli
The labyrinthine passages, narrow streets and alleys of Bari’s old town offer a rewarding day’s sightseeing whilst a visit to the opera in the city’s recently restored opera house will provide your evening’s entertainment. Make sure you catch a glimpse of the bones of Saint Nick in the Basilica di San Nicola.
A tour to Alberobello will take you to the trulli that this area is famous for. The souvenirs available range from sublime artistic sketches to faintly ridiculous but fun mini trulli and even wooden shawls. Take a boat out to the Trémeti Islands to laze on the beach under the welcome shade of the pines.