Bari the Nice. (July 2012)

Bari is a port on the ‘heal’ of Italy and like most ports, it’s a place you pass through but rarely get a chance to explore.

We were on our way from Italy to Montenegro and had to go via Bari to get there, so we decided to stay a couple of days and have a look around.

Our first day we walked from the hotel into the old city and came across Bari castle which is now a museum housing an excellent collection of plaster casts. It features decorations of portals, windows, capitals, corbels, architraves and tombstones from all overt Italy.

Below an extract from the plaque outside the castle entrance.

“Bari Castle was built by Roger the Norman in 1131 and then seriously damaged by William the Bad in 1156.”

This description sums up Bari, simple and unpretentious.

Inside the old walled city life goes on. Unlike many we have seen, it’s not been turned into a tourist attraction as washing hangs from the balconies and people ignore the few tourists that do come wandering through their neighborhood.

We then went out or Bari to see the Trulli in Alberobello. These are conical shaped buildings made of limestone slabs, without the use of mortar.

The roofs of the Trulli are often decorated with symbols that are either primitive magic or religious in origin.

This drywall construction is a prehistoric building technique that’s peculiar to this region.

They were made in such a way that they could be easily pulled down, thus avoiding a housing tax, imposed by the crown during the Middle Ages.

Alberobello is a Unesco Wold Heritage site however that part where the tourist gather is very picturesque but not very photogenic.

There are too many tourists and power lines so we moved to the other side of town where there are streets of Trulli in an uncluttered environment. And like Old Bari, this is a working village where the locals just get on with life and ignore the occasional snooping tourist.

The Trulli are not just in Alberobello but are dotted all over the region and are seen in close proximity to the dry stone walls that ribbon the landscape. These walls are made from the same materials and use the same mortarless construction technique as the Trulli.

It was then back to Bari and the port to continue our journey on to Montenegro.

As it turns out, Bari was a very ‘nice’ place.

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