Bari is a large metropolitan area of 1,2 million inhabitants and a bustling port city, standing on the Adriatic coast, on the edge of the hollow of the same name.
The city has conserved its ancient seafaring tradition over the centuries, becoming the trading centre in the southern Adriatic and Ionian areas, thanks partly to its busy port; this makes it an ideal bridge for traffic between Europe and the Middle East and favours the development of major economic events (Fiera del Levante, Expo-Levante, Expo-Mobili, etc.).
Its urban structure is typical and divides the city into three distinct parts: the old, the new, the newest.
The former, circumscribed by the ancient walls, occupies a headland between the inlets of the old and the new ports; it has maintained the characteristic appearance of the ancient Mediaeval plan and contains the most important artistic sights of the city; this was the heart of pre-roman and Roman Bari.
Once dark and unsafe at night, nowadays the old town is full of chic bars and resturants opened from dusk till dawn.
After the end of the war fierce building expansion took place in all directions following the population explosion which reached huge proportions between 1941 and 1971.