Bari Culture & history

Our most recommended Bari Culture & history

Castel del Monte 1-Hour Guided Tour

1. Castel del Monte 1-Hour Guided Tour

Discover the most significant medieval monument in southern Italy on a 1-hour guided tour of Castel del Monte. Situated in Andria in the Puglia region, the citadel and castle is a national treasure and beauty to behold. Built on top of a hill with commanding views of the Puglia region, Castel del Monte is the most important building built by the Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen of Swabia. Explore the monument’s myths and legends, including the meaning of the number 8. After years of neglect, when the castle was stripped of its furniture and marble decorations to become a refuge for shepherds, brigands and political refugees, Castel del Monte was bought and restored by the Italian state in 1876. Almost a century later, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the perfection of its shape and harmonious union of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Islamic world, and classical antiquity. Explore the castle’s façades and interior, and learn the historical context in which it was built.

Bari: Norman-Swabian Castle Tour with a Guide

2. Bari: Norman-Swabian Castle Tour with a Guide

It is impossible to miss one of the most emblematic symbols of the city of Bari, the Norman-Swabian Castle, an imposing fortress dating back to the 13th century, now turned into a museum. With its extensive moat it overlooks the gates of Bari Vecchia, flanking the perimeter of the city, which was defended by it since the Roman times. To the defensive function, the Normans added the monitoring of the territory. Afterwards, as the seat of the court of Isabella of Aragon, the Castle acquired a Renaissance style and was completed with the defensive wall, the corner bastions, the drawbridge and the quadrangular courtyard. The complete tour of the Castle (inside and outside) comes with the access to the Gipsoteca, an interesting collection of Romanesque sculptures and plaster casts, which reflect the details of the most important monuments of Puglia, from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century.

Bari: Simi Palace and Byzantine Church Guided Tour

3. Bari: Simi Palace and Byzantine Church Guided Tour

Discover the ruins within Palazzo Simi, one of the most important museums in Bari. Dating back to the 16th century, it hosts inside a permanent archaeological exhibition useful to get an idea of the history of the city, and of the many cultures that have distinguished it. The display of the artifacts on the ground floor will lead you till the early history. They range from a model of an original settlement to fragments of prehistoric pottery and rare examples of Italian-Mycenaean ceramics which prove the breadth of the city's commercial network in the Mediterranean. The fascinating underground itinerary will lead you to the remains of a marvelous Byzantine church dating back to the IX-X century, where the three apses, part of the altar and some fragments of a fresco can still be distinguished. In addition to the remains of the Byzantine church, in the underground you can see the remains of a Roman house discovered during the restoration work. Even deeper, there is the archaeological area accessed through the staircase running along the ancient oven of the noble palace.

Bari: St. Nicholas Basilica and Crypt Guided Tour

4. Bari: St. Nicholas Basilica and Crypt Guided Tour

Discover every detail of the most important church in Bari, one of the most remarkable examples of Romanesque in the world, the first large Norman church in the South. Its grandeur is highlighted by the wide limestone facade and by multiple ornamental details, such as the Porta dei Leoni on the north side, decorated with bass relieves portraying chivalry scenes. Inside, large transverse arches and laboriously carved capitals will capture your attention, transforming themselves into the perfect frame of a fascinating journey into the cult of Saint Nicholas, between history and devotion. The tour ends with a visit to the famous crypt, which contains the relics of the Saint, and which inspired a legend telling the story of the spear of Longinus, a Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus on the Cross.

Frequently asked questions about Bari

What top attractions are a must-see in Bari?

The must-see attractions in Bari are:

What are the best inexpensive tours in Bari?

Other Sightseeing Options in Bari

Want to discover all there is to do in Bari? Click here for a full list.