Why go to Bari?
Bari is, simply put, drop-dead gorgeous, and outstanding traditional Italian fare abounds
This is a big city with sometimes stress-inducing, frenetic traffic
Stroll both the Old Town and New Town sections seeking remarkable architecture and Italian cafes
Bari Cruise Port Facilities?
Behind the terminal area was an open seating area, somewhere quiet to sit and wait for tour buses. And, behind that was a much larger, two-story terminal with check-in desks on the lower floor and a souvenir shop, lavatories, drink machines and a newsstand on the upper level. There's no ATM, though; that's in the bank inside the docks.
Bari has the longest seafront in Italy. It's also one of the prettiest, dotted with elaborately styled, elegant, black wrought-iron street lamps and planted with palm trees.
Head left along the promenade from the dock gates, and across the road you'll see a grassed-over dry moat surrounding the old city walls, with a few restaurant and cafe tables laid out, should you need a quick drink or snack.
Good to Know?
Italian traffic can be very daunting, particularly in the narrow streets of the Old Town, where you'll need to keep your wits about you if you don't want to collide with a speeding Vespa (or, as in my case, have a near miss with a cyclist).
You'll also need to be brave in barging across zebra crossings. Italian drivers are a law unto themselves and won't stop unless you make them. (Don't walk right out in front of them, though -- do give a bit of warning for your own safety!)
As with most big cities, Bari can be a hunting ground for pickpockets, so keep bags and pockets well-buttoned, and don't carry too much cash or expensive jewelry.
Bari's Old and New Towns are easily walkable from the port. To reach the Old Town, head left along the promenade, and after about 10 minutes, you'll see a broad archway set into the old walls; this is the entrance to Bari's Old Town.
Some cruise lines provide free shuttle buses from the dock gates down to Avenue Corso Cavour, one of the main shopping streets in the "new" part of Bari. It's easy to walk from there back to the cruise terminal via the Old Town by strolling east along Corso Cavour to Piazza 4th Novembre and then walking left along the main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which divides the Old Town from the new.
If you don't want to walk or take the shuttle bus around town, you'll find mini-train tours on offer right at the dock entrance. Trenino-Tour offers 1.5-hour Bari City Tour drives around Bari's harbour, Old Town and main sights. Eventieturismo offers one-hour tours.
Taxis are also based at the dock gates. They are metered, but roundtrips to local places of interest can be negotiated separately with waiting time.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Currency is the euro; see www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for the latest conversion rates. You'll find an ATM machine right in the port where you dock. Look for the Banco Populaire di Bari, a squat cream building that lies about a two-minute walk to the left of the port entrance, within the perimeter fence.
Italian is the official language. Don't assume you'll find English-speakers, so take a phrasebook along, or at least memorize a few basic phrases like hello (buon giorno), thank you (per favore), how much (quante'e) and I don't understand (non capisco).