The GoGlobal Blog

Small City Ventures: Assisi and Bari

Small City Ventures: Assisi and Bari

We started travelling this semester inside the country. I had been to Assisi previously before and so had my roommate, and we loved it and were excited to have the chance to head there again. Only a two hour train ride makes it super easy to get to.

Of course, the legendary Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi is there, looming over the path leading from the parking lot where the bus from the station to the city stopped. Near-white and standing tall above us, it looked familiar because so many of the churches in Rome had white-stone themes, but this one was more angular and square. Sadly, inside there was no picture taking allowed but it was stunning, every wall and even the ceiling filled with paintings and decor. We went downstairs to see the tomb, where there were also no pictures allowed. It had an eerie feel because it was so dark and dim, a few candles lighting. There were pews and kneelers in the cramped space for people to sit/kneel to pray or just take a break.

Once out of the church, the sun beat down on us but there was plenty of shade in the narrow streets. Shops, bakeries, hidden pathways, even a museum lined the winding streets. There were shops for so many things: souvenirs, jewelry, religious items, clothes, leather bags, baked food, even wooden kitchen utensils.

Soon enough, we found ourselves climbing even higher on the eternal hill Assisi is situated on and discovered an old, old church nestled into one of the side streets. We knew it was so old because of the uniformity of building materials, lack of decoration, and small size. Scoping out these stores was what most of our day consisted of.

Until I found a hiking trail.

I found a hiking trail, to where, I didn’t know at the time. But I started up it, in a skirt that went past my knees and a thin tee shirt, and my friends followed me also in nice clothes. It took maybe a little over an hour and a half but we made it to the top where we found a fortress, and a spectacular view for miles.

After a long tiring day at Assisi, we took the train back and relaxed for the weekend, until the next. The next weekend we had a flight and full weekend in Bari.

We got to Bari relatively early in the day and couldn’t check into our airbnb so we explored the city with our backpacks. The center looked like the center of a smaller city in the US, shops on all sides, restaurants too, side streets leading to more of both. The big difference was the government looking building in the middle that had a bunch of high school looking kids with signs. Confused, we tried to read a few, only slightly successful, but we figured out they were for a climate change protest, which was super cool. Soon enough, we found ourselves by the water and relaxed after traveling and walking.

area by the water with benches

My roommate had brought a baby present for her cousin who still lived in Bari with his family. He was so nice and showed us one of his favorite places to eat, which was insanely good (Bari seafood, guys, I’m telling you). We turned in a little early to prepare for the next day when we’d take a train and her cousin would show us around.

Bari is beautiful. I forgot to mention earlier, but it is a wonderful sight, especially if you love saltwater. My roommate’s cousin took us to a popular stoney beach where there were plenty of people, but also plenty of water that was basically see through. I immediately got into the water. I love the ocean, sea, any and all salt water I can get near. And we enjoyed ourselves, swimming, joking around, eating focaccia. The area nearby was filled with white buildings and a park from way back when.

After a few hours, we headed back to the car and went to another beach, much more sandy and less filled with people, in fact you had to pull into the parking lot of an abbey and walk a bit to the area people were. I think there were only thirteen across the whole area. The water was just as pretty here and there was a cave I swam to where residents at the abbey would use to bathe. And there was a hole in the rocks, a hole next to the cave and higher up where you could jump and swim out of it. It took about five minutes, but I jumped into the hole, which was crazy. The beach day was filled with fun, laughs, and plenty of pictures.

Our weekend at Bari was coming to a close with an early flight the next day, but my roommate and our friend weren’t ready to stay in our Airbnb when the city was still alive. We walked around the main center, talking, and we found a bar stand. I say bar stand because it was a bar but there wasn’t anywhere to sit and you had to walk the streets, which we did.

Assisi and Bari were both beautiful cities and a nice expansion of our Italian trips. The next weekend though, would be Vienna, the first out of country trip we’d go on. 

Comments are closed.