The essence of Bari is the sea
Bari is the Puglia region’s largest city and capital of the Province of Bari located along the Adriatic coast. Coastal towns in the province, such as Polignano a Mare, invite vacationers and locals alike to enjoy the beaches, cliffside cafes, and sea views. The sea also provides Bari’s fishermen abundant supply for providing fresh seafood at markets along the waterfront for homes and restaurants making Bari an important fishing area of Puglia and therefore of Italy.
Mr. TWS and I were fortunate to be introduced to a few highlights of the Bari coastline and way of life by Carlo Romano, our cheerful and enthusiastic guide during our Puglia road trip. On the way to our last night’s accommodations at the Sheraton Nicolaus Bari, Carlo drove us along the waterfront of his hometown of Triggiano, near the city of Bari. He pointed out sights along the way and the scenes of everyday life away from the tourist attractions. This took us past small beaches in residential neighborhoods and the commercial fishing harbor to get a first-hand look at the importance of fishing to the area.
We passed local fishermen tenderizing the octopuses by slinging them on the rocks. During the process, they dip them into the sea water and when they see foam, they know they’re ready.
During our visit to Puglia, Carlo’s knowledge about and pride in the region was evident. Now, in his own neighborhood amongst friends who greeted him with waves as we went by, those traits were even more apparent. We stopped at Pescheria dal Nonno, a pescheria (fish market) where Carlo goes about every other day to buy fresh fish since it is close to his home.
Everyone knows Carlo around here and we met a few of his friends at the pescheria which was a scene of diverse and plentiful fresh seafood just caught within a stone’s throw of the market. In the photo above the market owner is holding a large scampi with a lobster-like claw that is common to the area.
Black mussels were often served at the meals we enjoyed in Puglia. We were amazed at the number of them here at the market being cleaned in the photo above. We were also impressed at the speed and skill with which they are opened.
Carlo sampled raw black mussels, closing his eyes while savoring the flavor. However, he cautioned seafood lover, Mr. TWS, not to join him since he wasn’t used to it and could have an adverse reaction. Mr. TWS knew better than to go against such experienced advice.
I thought that the scorfano (red scorpionfish) shown above (surrounded by smaller mullets) looked a little scary, but Mr. TWS was imagining how delicious it would be cooked and served with a nice pasta.
The photos below show more of the seafood for sale at the market — octopus, red shrimp, sea bass, baby shark, salmon, squid, calamari, swordfish, clams, crabs, and more. How many varieties can you identify?
If you like seafood, the fresher the better, you would love visiting this area of Italy. Many seafood specialties are served fresh (raw and cooked) and in large portions at restaurants throughout Puglia, such as the one at Balnearea Beach that we posted about previously.
When I asked Carlo what kind of fish he likes best, he said, “I like to eat all kinds of fish, but I don’t like fish with lots of bones. I eat raw mussels, octopus, clams, baby squid, calamari. In this region, many of the Barese people like to eat the raw stuff.”
What are your favorite types of seafood?
If you go:
Bari province is located in central Puglia on the eastern coast of the “heel of the boot”. The area is served by Bari/Palese International Airport about seven miles west of the city of Bari.
Pescheria dal Nonno:
Via Della Marina, 25
San Giorgio (BA)
Tel. +39 080.5491228 – Fax 080.5491780
We’re linking this post to Marcia Mayne’s “Foodie Tuesday” series this week. Check out more gastronomic articles at Inside Journeys. We’re also contributing this post to Nancie McKinnon’s Budget Traveler’s Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday and Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Discovery Travel Photo Monday series. Enjoy other links to photos and stories on their sites, too.