Bari is the hub of Puglia, the South’s second-largest city, boasting a major airport and an even busier seaport. Today, ferries from Bari carry tourists to Greece and to the Balkans, while immigrants make the opposite journey across the Adriatic and land on Bari’s shores. The city serves much the same purpose as it did hundreds of years ago, when it was considered Italy’s gateway to and from Byzantium.
Bari still thrives on commerce, some of it illegal”such as smuggled cigarettes and immigrants” and the result is an unfortunate reputation for crime. But, like most reputations soiled by a few teenaged, cocaine-sniffing mobsters, Bari hides a fascinating side that few dare to discover. For example, the modest-looking Basilica of St. Nicholas (the saint known as Santa Claus to the rest of us) holds the relics of the saint from modern-day Turkey and is an oft-cited example of Romanesque architecture.
For prospective homeowners, Bari is a good place to fly in and out of, do some shopping on Via Sparano, check out the sites near Piazza San Nicola, eat a fantastic dinner of orecchiette and raw sea urchins in fishers’ trattorie by the port, and then make your way south to more tranquil waters. Some of Italy’s most pleasant beach resorts are found on the coast between Bari and Brindisi, an ideal place for homeowners to set up shop and unwind. If you’re the adventurous type and want to give living in downtown Bari a try, you can rent a three-bedroom apartment for about ‚650 per month. Polignano a Mare and Monopoli are gleaming white coastal towns perched on the blue Adriatic. They were settled by the Greeks before seeing a renaissance under the Byzantine Empire, and later the Normans. If your idea of paradise is eating at a restaurant on a rocky beach with blue water seeping into limestone caves, this part of Puglia is Caput Mundi.
And the prices, again, are affordable. In Polignano”which, incidentally, claims to have more ice cream shops per capita than any other Italian town”you can find a rustic, 100-square-meter, pinkstone masseria on an olive grove, with an arcaded veranda, for some ‚200,000. There are countless such fixer-uppers in this area, some in pastoral surroundings and some not, but all just a short bicycle ride from the sea. Another option in the area, especially for those in search of a simple summer home, would be a similar-sized but more modern villa with the same red tile roof, for less than ‚100,000 and with less work required.
Bari Italy Photo Gallery
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