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Travel Guide: Southern Italy

travel guideIt’s summer which means that you are probably going to be traveling on vacation. It is a great time to go to Italy and see Rome, Venice, Florence, and Naples. One place we know you need to stop is Bari, Italy. It’s where our family is from and we are so proud to be offering authentic flavors from this magical place. Bari is located in Southern Italy, which is at the heel of the “Boot”. Bari is known for its Mediterranean feel and incredible landscape. When you go, here are some tips you need to know about traveling in Southern Italy.

Things to Do

Southern Italy is well known for its relaxing lifestyle, (very similar to the South Bay) everyone takes their time and no one seems to be in a rush. Unlike other parts of Italy where you are rushing from one tourist site to another, Bari gives you the atmosphere to just sit back and be still. However, they still have plenty to do. When you go to Bari, you need to try some of the following activities:

Fishing

Bari is a town that is well known for its fishing. It is the largest transportation port in the world. If you enjoy fishing, consider renting a charter with a local fisherman and going out onto the Mediterranean. It is absolutely beautiful, and you may get the chance to catch something fresh.

Basilica di San Nicola

This basilica is one of the most beautiful churches in Southern Italy. It is a place of pilgrimage for both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. It is filled with beautiful mosaics, frescos, and a gorgeous gilded ceiling. The basilica is well known for its incredible architecture.

Prosciutto Factory

As an authentic Italian deli, you know that we have to geek out over the meat. If you go to Bari, you MUST do a tour of the prosciutto factory. You get the chance to see how prosciutto is made, by curing and aging the meat. It will also give you the chance to try the authentic flavors of Italy.

Shopping

Just like anywhere in Italy, you need to go shopping in Bari, there are so many stores with beautiful items that you just will not be able to find anywhere else. Whether you are looking for clothing, antiques, or other priceless items, you can find it in Bari.

Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is a fun activity for anyone who loves relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine. Italian wine is delightful. Wine tasting gives you the ability to enjoy the beautiful Italian countryside while drinking some wine and incredible Italian food.

Things to Eat

Speaking of Italian food, Italian restaurants function very differently than they do in America. Although many restaurants in Italy have menus like you’re used to, many have a homestyle feel and you eat what they cook – no questions asked. Sometimes you feel like you’re right in their home!

Southern Italian cuisine is very different than Northern Italian cuisine. Northern Italian food is known for its thick cream sauces and rich tomato sauces. Southern Italy is known for its fresher flavors. The tomato sauces are much thinner. This comes from the tradition that the area used to be poor, so the people did not have the money to afford tomatoes so they needed to thin down their sauce. While the people are no longer poor, the tradition has remained.

Also, as mentioned before, the area is well known for its fishing. Most of the cooking is done with seafood. So you will likely have a number of dishes with fish or shrimp. It is likely that the fish will have just been caught, so it is extremely fresh. Because of this, Southern Italian food is known to be very healthy.

If you do get the chance, here are two dishes that you need to try:

Antipasto Plate

Antipasto is meant to be eaten before the main course of the meal. Most Italian restaurants will serve their own unique plate. An antipasto platter usually consists of:

  • Italian meats – Imported Salami, Imported Pepperoni, Mortadella, Capicola
  • Cheeses – Imported Provolone and Imported Romano
  • Olives
  • Marinated mushrooms
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Pepperoncini
  • Fresh Fruit

It is commonly served with breadsticks or cracker bread. This will create a base for the other items on the platter. Usually the antipasto plates are so good, you may forget that the main course is coming, and you get so stuffed you may not want to eat anything else! Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. This is a dish that is fairly easy to make, and you can definitely try on your own when you come back home from your trip.

Orecchiette

Nothing is more fun than watching pasta being made. Then you get to eat it once it’s made! The name originated from the Italian word for “ear” which is “orecchio”, because that is what the pasta resembles. The fresh pasta is absolutely delicious and it pairs well with any of the sauces that are common in Southern Italy.

Eggplant Parmigiano

Eggplant Parmigiano is a southern Italian classic. It is a great choice for vegetarians. The crunchy breading balances out the smooth texture of the eggplant and mozzarella cheese. It works well as a side for any Italian meal, but it could also work well as a main course. It is a fairly hearty dish.

We want you to get the chance to enjoy Italian culture and its amazing food. We love Bari, Italy and what it offers to its visitors. Lose yourself in the relaxing feel of the Mediterranean.

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