I've been living in Bari all my life. It's still quite a "new" destination for foreign visitors, but I'm pleased to see the number of tourists increasing day after day and that's why I decided to write down some tips about possible safety issues in Bari.
Generally speaking, Bari is quite safe. There are unsafe neighborhoods (for instance San Paolo, San Pio-Enziteto, Fesca) and a few bad areas (some streets of Japigia, Libertà, Madonnella neighborhoods) but they do not have anything interesting to offer to tourists, hence you have no reason to go there!
Of course, it's a city with a population of over 325.000, therefore common sense should always prevail; i.e. a little bit of extra care by night and always stay in well-lit areas, don't walk around flashing expensive jewelry, sum of money or valuables, keep your purse/bags/backpacks close and you should be fine. In most cases, pickpocketing or bag-snatching is the worst thing that can happen.
The Old City, which apparently still has some bad rep, used to be dangerous in the past, but in the last 15 years the situation improved dramatically: now, the neighborhood is literally full of popular bars and restaurants and it's the main place-to-be for Bari's nightlife. Besides, it borders with the city center, with its shops, restaurants and bars, another quite safe area where aforementioned tips are still valid.
Overall, don't be silly and just enjoy Bari and Puglia! :)
P.S. I read a funny little thing concerning the Colonna della Giustizia (aka Colonna Infame), the column guarded by a lion in the beautiful Piazza Mercantile: the review says that the column is used as "public flogging for debtors" and even warned people to be sure to afford the hotel/restaurant (in order to avoid flogging, I presume). I guess the reviewer was being ironic, because yes, in the past the column used to be the pillory of the city... but I can assure that we no longer punish people by flogging them! Even Bari welcomed the 21st century! :)
Make Sure You Can Afford Your Hotel/Bar Bill!
On the Pallazo Collonna you'll notice this column guarded by its not particularly fierce-looking lion. This is the "Colonna della Giustizia" and is used as a public flogging post for debtors and other miscreants.
You have been warned!
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
quite a safe place
Actually i read some comments on certain turistic guides pointing out how the old town of Bari could be dangerous and so on.. Far from being true!! The worst thing that can happen is meeting some local trying to buy you drinks...
There are dozens of bars/pubs /pizzeria in the old town and nowadays most of the nightlife starts there, then locals drive out of town to the large clubs.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Women's Travel
- Study Abroad
I can give you only an advice: in the Old town,it's useful and sufficient to keep one's eyes open,during the day;during the night,maybe it could be better to stay on the borders next to the Borgo Murattiano,full of life and bar/pizzerie/restaurants,or however not to penetrate too much in not popular areas.In the Borgo Murattiano,there aren't any problems.
If you drive in the city,you have to pay attention too,because the Bari's citizens aren't often so polite on the road...
Just too chicken
I had plenty of time as I was proceeding from the train station to the ferry station and I would dearly have liked to have had a quick look at the old quarter and sit down at a cafe and have a cafe.
BUT - before I left Rome I read a guide book (was it Lonely Planet?) and it terrified the life out of me saying that women should only go into the old quarter in pairs during daylight, and never go in at night at all!
It looked so quiet and peaceful as I peered in that I am sure if I hadn't read the guide book I would have not thought twice about it.
What on earth goes on in there? Does anyone know?
Women and children first
The Sveti Stefan ferry, which runs from Bar, Montenegro to Bari, Italy and back, has a few lifeboats. However, there most certainly were not enough lifeboats considering there were hundreds of passengers on the ship we took over from Bari to Bar.
Of course, the Titanic came instantly to mind.
Bari is famous for...
Bari is famous for pickpockets and drug dealers, but I'm not sure why. We were all geared up for menace and danger when we stepped off the train but it seemed like any other big city. Don't walk around looking flashy and showing big wads of money and you'll be OK. Also, one is warned against going into the old city after dark. That warning actually seems legitimate as the old city is a confusing labyrinth of dark narrow alleys. Also, it's so crowded that even entering in the daytime you feel like an intruder walking through people's living rooms, so if only to give the poor people some peace, stay out at night.