Hotel Terranobile, Bari ****
Hotel Terranobile, Bari. Set in beautifully landscaped gardens, this Puglia spa hotel can be booked online at ahotelinitaly.com. View hotel
Double rooms from €72
Hotel Victor, Bari ****
A Puglia luxury holiday hotel, the Hotel Victor in Bari is close to the rail station and the port. Puglia hotels from ahotelinitaly.com. View hotel
Double rooms from €34
Hotel Costa, Bari ***
Bari, the second largest city in southern Italy, has a rich cultural and historical past. Under Norman rule, Bari rivalled Venice, both as a maritime centre and as a place of pilgrimage. Largely ignored for years, its fortunes were restored under Mussolini, who built the university. View hotel
Double rooms from €55
The capital of Bari province, and the administrative centre of southern Italy's Puglia region, Bari makes an excellent base for exploring Puglia's Adriatic coast, and has plenty of historic and cultural interest itself. A centre of Ancient Greece, its harbour is mentioned as early as 181BC. Bari came under Lombard, Islamic and Byzantine rule in the Middle Ages, and fell to the Normans.
This thriving industrial and university town thus has a wealth of sights cheek by jowl with its modern buildings. There is the Basilica di San Nicola (St Nicholas) founded in 1087 to contain the relics of the saint, and one of the four Palatine churches of Apulia. There is the town Cathedral of St Sabino, a fine example of Apulian Romanesque architecture, dating from 1170-78. The Petruzzelli opera house is being slowly restructured following a firebombing in the early 1990s, and there is the Norman-Hohenstaufen Castle (popularly known as the Castello Svevo, dating from the 12th century. The Russian church is from the early 20th century to welcome Russian pilgrims to the cathedral. Check out the old town of Barivecchia.
Other sights include the Teatro Margherita, Teatro Piccinni, the botanic gardens, and a number of important churches including Santa Chiara and San Marco dei Veneziani, with a fine rose window. The main Baroque church in the city is Santa Teresa dei Maschi. The nearest beach to Bari is Pane e Pomodoro.