February 18, Bari, Italy, John

From Cusano Mutri, a one night stop and in retrospect not long enough, we drove southeast to Bari on the Adriatic coast.  This was a compromise stop as I had originally intended to go in search of a favorite wine and producer, Salice Salentino by Taurasi in the Apulia area.  The added distance to Apulia did not fit with our schedule and so Bari was the default for a look at the Adriatic side of Italy.

Bari, Italy Bari, Italy

We arrived in Bari on a Sunday and could not find an on-street parking space after about an hour of searching in this large city of over 300,000.  In retrospect this proved fortuituous because the car theft rate is exceptionally high in this part of Italy.  We discovered a large underground parking garage and were second in line to enter, but as we walked out of the garage the line had formed around the block.  We were graced with good fortune to have found a secure space and close to our lodging.

We did not understand why the town was so crowded.  It looked like Carnival was in play, but soon learned that this was a typical Sunday.  People in this part of Itlay work six days a week and Sunday is a day of recreation and Bari is the best attraction with its wonderfully sophisticated retail and restaurants.  The culture also cherishes the “promenade” to see and be seen.  We found a distinctly different cultural flavor from any other part of Italy we visited and a difference in the sound of the language.

Our lodging was in a modern building virtually next to Sephora and Max Amara.  We had an indifferent meal because we were dining before the usual 7pm opening of most restaurants, but the walking about was exciting given the shops and interesting crowds.  The city is beautifully set on the very blue and clean appearing ocean with many grand 19th century buildings, but otherwise little “old city” to be seen.  Bari suffered from bombing during WWII because it was a good harbor defended by the Germans and cherised by the Allies.  The southern reaches of the city are still largely a waste-land despite being directly on the Adriatic, a puzzle that needs further investigation.

We were glad for the experience, but would not make an effort to return.