Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia (or, in Italian, Puglia) region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy.
It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas. The city itself has a decreasing population of about 320,000, as of 2009, over 116 km2, while the fast-growing urban area counts 653,028 inhabitants over 203 km2. The metropolitan area counts 1 million inhabitants.
Bari is made up of four different urban sections. To the north is the closely built old town on the peninsula between two modern harbours, with the splendid Basilica of Saint Nicholas, the Cathedral of San Sabino (1035–1171) and the Swabian Castle built for Frederick II, which is now also a major nightlife district.
To the south is the Murat quarter (erected by Joachim Murat), the modern heart of the city, which is laid out on a rectangular grid-plan with a promenade on the sea and the major shopping district (the via Sparano and via Argiro).
Modern residential zones surround the centre of Bari, the result of chaotic development during the 1960s and 1970s replacing the old suburbs that had developed along roads splaying outwards from gates in the city walls. In addition, the outer suburbs have developed rapidly during the 1990s. The city has a redeveloped airport named after Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła Airport, with connections to several European cities.
Bari, cultural crossroads since ancient times, is an ideal starting point, a city where two souls meet: the old town, surrounded by an imposing wall and crossed with narrow streets that lead to the discovery of its rich heritage; and the modern city, built at the beginning of the 19th Century and having endured several changes over time. A wonderful example of Apulian Romanesque architecture is the imposing Basilica di San Nicola (Saint Nicholas's Basilica), where the holy relics of the famous saint are kept. The bright-but-sober façade, flanked by two towers of different shape and height, features three portals that give access to the interior naves that hold important works of art.
The second-most important church in Bari is the Cathedral, flanked by a tall bell tower and built on layers of previous ancient buildings. A finely decorated rose window and three portals give movement to the main façade. The interplay of volume and space, and the light seeping through the large openings and reflected off the stone walls, create an evocative atmosphere inside the church. The new town, whose project was planned by Gioacchino Murat, is criss-crossed with shopping streets like Corso Cavour, where the famous Teatro Petruzzelli is located, considered the temple of opera in Bari.
Celebrations and festivals, genuine flavors and tasty wines are at the center of ancient but never-forgotten traditions that the people of this land continue to preserve with love and abidance.
The origin of the University of Bari dates back to 1581, when the "Collegio della Compagnia del Gesù" started the University degree in Philosophy and Human Sciences. At the beginning of the 18th Century the new "illuministic ideology" pushed forward the needs in the area of physical and natural sciences: as a consequence, curricula in Medicine, Law, Chimestry, and Botanics were activated in Altamura. In 1772 the Royal College moved the Universiy activitiy from Atamura to Bari, including the very outstanding curricula in Legislation and Agriculture. At the beginning of the 19th Century, New University Schools (Licei) were activated by G. Murat in the Apulia Region. Some of these Schools were closed in 1861/2, after the creation of the Italy Nation , other Schools were moved to Naples. At the same time, in order to continue the University activity, it was taken the decision to build the "Atheneum" in Bari. The construction started on March 14, 1868. The building was ready on December 28, 1889. The University of Bari Aldo Moro was founded in 1925 and is attended today by about 60,000 students, across the Bari, Brindisi, and Taranto campuses.
The University was named after one of its most famous students, the statesman Aldo Moro. Moro taught Criminal Law at the University of Bari for several years.
It is a state-supported university which is divided into 12 faculties. Each faculty has its own set of departments that focus on the arts, sciences, mathematics, social sciences, literature, medicine, law, and education.
The university offers various courses for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students. Aside from teaching, the university is also focused on scientific research at the doctorate level. The University of Bari research centers are highly-interactive, having connections among different departments, universities, and other research centers.
Among the university's facilities include central and departmental libraries, theatres, lecture halls, job placement centers, a press office, counseling centers, and a university chapel. These facilities are open to students, faculty, and staff and can be used free of charge. Each year, the university holds different cultural and part-time activities that foster friendship among local and international students. The Erasmus/LLP program is very active in the Medical field.