Megs Cucina’s Guide to Bari, Italy
I’ve had the opportunity to go to Italy before but this trip was particularly special because I went with my boyfriend and his family who are from there and still have relatives living in Italy. So I truly got a taste of the authentic Italian experience. Before leaving for Italy I had a few requests to share my reccomendations so I am putting together this guide to Italy to help inspire your next vacation there.
Our Italy adventure began in Modugno where my boyfriend’s family is from. It is a small town in Bari which is in the Puglia region – if you are trying to picture it – think the heel of the ‘Italy boot’. I was the most excited about this part of the trip because my love for food began with Italian cuisine and a fascination with a Nonna’s ability to make the perfect tomato sauce! I am lucky enough to enjoy my boyfriend’s Nonna’s food at home because she lives near us in Toronto, but in Italy I had triple the experience as we were visiting her two sisters who still live there. So essentially ALL of the magical Nonna food I could dream of (think pasta, lasagna, panzerotti, mozzarella!).
I knew I would enjoy this part of the trip but I was seriously blown away by the hospitality of my boyfriend’s family. You can totally feel the love they put into everything they do – from the food to 6 cars of family greeting us at the bus stop upon arrival and even laundry. Even with a major language barrier they made me feel completely at home.
While it would be hard to replicate this portion of the trip if you don’t have family to visit, my advice would be to try to find restaurants and regions that are off the beaten path or not considered popular tourist areas. I was so surprised by how much Bari had to offer and would definitely recommend visiting this region. Since its not your typical Italy destination, it isn’t overcrowded with tourists so you can actually enjoy popular spots and know you are among locals. Once you fly into Rome you can either take a plane, train, bus or drive to Bari.
Here are my top reccomendations for the area:
This beach was about an hour drive from Modugno but it had the most beautiful, clear water and you truly get to experience a day at the beach like the locals do. You can do a full day or half day here – it helps to bring your own umbrella and chairs.
A quaint little town in Bari known for trulli, which are whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs. We spent a few hours exploring the town, going in and out of cute little shops and had an incredible iced coffee with a sweet almond milk. I was so in the moment that I didn’t even remember to capture the name of the restaurant! But I remember it being part of a store that had a rooftop you could go up to take pictures. So I challenge you to explore until you find it ha!
This is a 9000 year old city that is known for its cave like houses, carved out of limestone, known as sassi. It is truly a spectacular area to explore and best done by foot so be sure to bring running shoes. You could easily spend a day here both exploring the sassi and then enjoying a beverage and food in the newer part of town that surrounds the old part.
Pulignano a Mare
This was my favorite place we visited in Bari and at the top of my list for most incredible places to swim in the world. We arrived just before the sun was setting and I can only describe it as swimming in a magical, peaceful haven. We ended off the swim enjoying a cocktail at a bar that overlooked the incredible view. I would 100% make a point to go back here.
The next part of our trip was the Almafi Coast, read about my guide to this region here.