To get there you fly into the city of Bari then a short hop on the shuttle bus takes you into the city which is situated on the port. Bari was invaded by the Germans in the 13th Century (and others over the centuries) so today you still see tall Italians with blue eyes .. something I wasn't expecting.
The city is compact and everything is within walking distance. Like most Italian cities it has the old and the new. However, until approximately ten years ago the old city was out of bounds due to gun violence. Grants were giving, the old town was restored and it is now full of life. As you would expect from southern Italy, the food is amazing. We stopped off for lunch (sitting outside in late October without heaters) in the old town at La Cecchina. The owner and the waiter speak English but this is where the locals eat. Their first question is always 'do you prefer meat or fish?' They only serve ingredients that are in season and fresh .. another reason why the food is buono.
The shopping is also good and it has the same variety as Milan but a lot cheaper. Check out the shop Donna.. this woman is like a stylist and she stocks a lot of Italian designers ..great designs without the price tag! I had just met her but on leaving gave her a big hug. I also noticed the men were impeccably dressed .. they love cashmere and quality suiting. My friend told me it's important to look smart .. my head just kept turning!
The town of Matera is only 1 hr 15 mins by train from Bari but well worth a visit. The Sassi the old town is famous for its cave dwelling. This link gives you a good insight into the town. http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/basilicata/matera.html
For me it is a great place to sit, eat, drink wine and people watch!
I'm already planning my next trip back and will take a bigger suitcase to bring back more oil, cheese and biscotti. Hmmmm .. I think I may have to diet before I go which will allow me to sample even more of the local cuisine. Buon appetito!
Fly into Bari Airport http://www.aeroportidipuglia.it/default.asp?idlingua=2&idcontenuto=25
Visit Giovanna Caivano at Donna, via Principe Amedeo 77, 70122 Bari
Le Cecchina Ristorante Pizzeria - Piazza Mercantile 31, 70121 Bari
Tel - 080 5214147