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Bari is the capital with the province with the same name and it is the most important city in Apulia (Puglia). The oldest part of the city is located in the north on a peninsula between the old and the new port. There is, among other things, the splendid Saint Nicholas basilica in the typical Roman style of Apulia. In the 11th century the remains of Saint Nicholas were transported in secret from Myra in Turkey to Bari. Svevo castle is now the centre of the city's nightlife. To the south of the old city there is a more modern part with shopping streets (for instance the luxurious Via Sparano) and a beautiful boulevard (Lungomare) along the sea, where many cultural events are organised.
The population of Bari itself is decreasing. More and more people move to the suburbs. The city has 320,000 inhabitants, but in the urban area there are more than a million people. The people of Bari are considered progressive, or at least less Catholic-conservative than many other regions in the south of Italy.
Bari is located in South-Italy on the Adriatic. If we picture Italy as a boot, Bari is located in the heel of that boot. On the other side of the sea lies Albania. Many Albanians have crossed the Adriatic to settle in Italy (often illegally). Foggia is located to the north-west of Bari, Brindisi to the south-west.
The city is an important economic centre of South-Italy. The modern port plays an important role, with its oil refineries and machine industry, to name two activities. Products from the interior (olives, grapes, grains, almonds, figs and tobacco) are shipped via the port. In addition, there is a great deal of fishery. There is a large food-processing industry, which processes vegetables, fruit and fish. It is also an important wine region.
The international airport of Bari lies 11 kilometres to the north-west of the city, near Palese. It was named after Pope John Paul II: Karol Wojtyla Airport. There are two bus connections to the airport: a regular bus (Amtab line 16), which makes lots of stops, for instance at the Via Capitaneo, Via Ranieri and Via Diaz, and a shuttle bus (Tempesta) which drives straight to the city centre (Piazza Aldo Moro).
By road, the airport can be reached from the circular road around Bari: from the north you head for Foggia, from the south you follow the SP 271.
The central bus station is located at the Piazza Aldo Moro, which was named after a Christian-Democratic prime minister who was murdered by the Red Brigades in 1978. Here you not only find the yellow city buses, but also inter local buses.
Bari is connected to the rest of Italy by excellent motorways, for instance to Bologna in the north. Much of this road follows the Adriatic coast. There is also an excellent road to Napels (and then on to Rome). On these roads you have to pay toll.
Around the medieval centre of Bari there is a road along the city's two ports. The newer part has a clear road pattern, which means it is not hard to find your way round there. However, since Bari is an economic centre for South-Italy, the roads can be very busy.
In blue zones (Zona Disco) you can only park using a parking disc, and only for a limited time, usually an hour at the most. That restriction is in place from Monday to Saturday between 9 am and 2.30 pm and between 4 pm and 6 pm. Parking discs can be bought at petrol stations. In green zones (Zona Verde) parking is not allowed on working days from 8 am to 9.30 am and from 2.30 pm to 4 pm. The parking spaces near the port are infamous for car break-ins. It is better not to leave your car there. This also applies to the port of Brindisi.
Most hotels are located in the newer part of he city, near the old centre. There are also several hotels near the ring road. Bari is an economic centre as well as - increasingly - a tourist centre. We strongly recommend booking your hotel room in advance.
For more information about Bari, we recommend Google, and the following sources: