A maze of endless passages
A beautiful Basilica
A lively street life

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An ancient city just waiting to be discovered

It’s worth doing an excursion just to wander around the old city of Bari, an entrancing jumble of streets that are possibly the most mind-bending place to walk around on your Mediterranean cruises to southern Italy.

Situated at the far end of Corso Cavour, its labyrinth of seemingly endless passages, weaving through courtyards and under arches, were originally designed to spare the inhabitants from the wind and throw invaders into a state of confusion. Here, life is lived very much outdoors, and on summer evenings it’s full of people sitting outside their kitchen doors.

On arriving in the heart of Bari’s old city, you find the Basilica di San Nicola, consecrated in 1197 to house the relics of the saint plundered a century earlier from southern Turkey via Mediterranean Sea. The real beauty of the church lies in its stonework, but best of all is the twelfth-century episcopal throne behind the altar, a superb piece of work supported by small figures wheezing beneath its weight. 

Leaving the coast, curious-looking trulli are dotted throughout the Murge area of Puglia. Cylindrical, whitewashed buildings with grey conical roofs tapering out to a point or sphere, they are often adorned with painted symbols. The thick walls insulate equally against the cold in winter and the summer heat, while local limestone is used to make the two-layered roofs watertight.

Seventy kilometres inland, Matera, situated on the edge of a ravine at the eastern end of Basilicata, dates from the Middle Ages when monks built rock-hewn churches and monasteries into what are now called the Sassi an intricate series of terraced caves. Later, farmers, seeking safety from invasions, also settled in the Sassi, fashioning their homes, stables and shops out of the rock, creating one of Italy’s oddest townscapes and its most significant troglodyte settlement. 

Must see places in Bari

  • Matera: Sassi area and Cathedral

    Matera: Sassi area and Cathedral

  • Polignano a Mare

    Polignano a Mare

  • The 12th century Basilica in the old town

    The 12th century Basilica in the old town

Discover our excursions

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    This interesting tour of Bari gives you a chance to take a leisurely walk around the historical quarter of “Bari Vecchia” and its medieval architecture. A visit to the Basilica of St. Nicholas, built in honour of Bari’s patron saint, is included. Founded towards the end of the 11th century A.D., the basilica has now been an important religious pilgrimage site for nearly a millennium. An exterior viewing of Bari’s old Norman castle is also on the tour itinerary. You will have some free time to spend as you wish before the tour ends with a quick trip around the city’s modern district. The tour ends with your returnto the ship. Please note: a helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level

      • Duration
        4 h

      • Adults$62.00Price per person

      • Children$45.00Price per person




      Leave the port of Bari for a scenic 1-hour coach ride through the Italian countryside to Alberobello, a town in the Apulia region that forms the top of the “heel” of the boot of Italy. Thanks to its distinctive mortarless round stone houses with conical roofs, known as “trulli”, the town was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1996. Your tour includes a guided walk through the delightful streets of this most unusual village – plus a visit to St. Antonio, the only “trullo” church in the world. Many of these “trullo” houses are topped by a so-called “pinnacolo” – a sort of white cap or sphere – and all of them have curious symbols, possibly good-luck charms, painted on the roofs. If there is time, you will also go on a short sightseeing tour of Bari by coach before you return to the port and your ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair.
      • Best seller

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level

      • Duration
        4:30 h

      • Adults$75.00Price per person

      • Children$59.00Price per person




      Leave the port for an hour’s drive to the Caves of Castellana where we will meet our guide for a fantastic subterranean journey through the cave complex. The caves were first explored in 1938, although their existence had been known since the XVIII century. At 60 metres deep, marvel at the cave chambers and the myriad of alabaster stalagmites and stalactites encrusted with calcite crystals. Back above ground we will travel on to Polignano a Mare, a lovely town perched high on a rock with wonderful views over the sea. You may choose a guided tour of the village or to explore the whitewashed streets on your own, meandering under the flowered arches and enjoying the hillside terrace that overlook the sea. Please note: excursion not recommended for guests who are claustrophobic or with walking difficulties. The itinerary inside the caves is on uneven, slippery path.
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adults$72.00Price per person

        • Children$52.00Price per person




        Enjoy a 1-hour drive to Matera, the city of the weird and wonderful “Sassi”, caves and the first town in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. These caves were inhabited from the Neolithic times right up until 1952. Perhaps because of its unique and tangible history, the atmosphere here is extraordinary and the place exudes a mystic air. We will either visit a furnished Sassi cave museum house and one rocky church that are symbol of the local culture. Many film directors have chosen to set films in Matera, as it is such an evocative place and Mel Gibson’s controversial film, “The Passion of the Christ”, was shot here. Please note: guests will mette guides in Matera; the bus drive is unguided. This tour is not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair; long periods of walking.
          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level

          • Duration
            4 h

          • Adults$75.00Price per person

          • Children$59.00Price per person




          About a 1-hour coach drive up the coast from the port of Bari lies the pretty harbour town of Trani, your destination on this enjoyable tour, which combines a sightseeing leg with a chance to sample some of the delicious locally produced olive oil. Trani’s long and rich history, which dates back to its 9th-century foundation, is still prominent in the town to this day. As you make your way around the town’s history trail, your first stop will be Svevo Castle, an imposing 13th-century fortification of highly rectilinear construction that overlooks the sea. You will have some time to spend at your leisure before you continue on to the 11th-/12th-century Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino. Built in honour of San Nicola the Pilgrim, this magnificent Romanesque-style building is a real treasure, with the stunning stained-glass windows, the remains of a 12th-century mosaic floor and the transversal crypt dedicated to San Nicola particularly worthy of mention. The sightseeing leg of the tour ends with a refreshing walk along the seafront promenade before the coach then takes you to an old oil mill for an informative visit and a chance to tantalise your taste buds with some of the wonderful locally produced olive oil and other typically Puglian delicacies. Your return to the port and your ship ends the tour. Please note: a helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
          • Tasting included

          • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

          • Limited seats

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level

          • Duration
            4:30 h

          • Adults$62.00Price per person

          • Children$45.00Price per person

        The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
        Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.


        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        Reach the port

        Port of Bari

        This section contains information on how to reach the port.

        Cruise Terminal:

        Nuovo Terminal Crociere porto di Bari
        Corso De Tullio Antonio, 1

        Reach the port by

        • Car

          From the north, take the Bari Nord motorway exit. From the south, take the Bari Sud exit. 
          From either exit, take the Bari bypass (Circonvallazione di Bari) in the direction signposted "Fiera/Porto". Follow the bypass to the end, turning left for "Fiera/Porto" at exit (uscita) 4, which goes to Via Napoli. 
          Take Via Napoli to the intersection with Via Brigata Regina, then turn left into Corso Vittorio Veneto. Follow the coast until you reach the port.

          Parking Information

          PARKING & TOUR
          Tel. +39 3920580913
          • Outdoor parking 
          • Valet service 
          • Reach the luggage drop off zone of the cruise terminal and the staff of the parking will take care of your car
          • The parking is just a few minutes from the cruise terminal
          Book your parking with MSC



          DAYS RATES
          Car 8 € 70,00
          Car 13 € 140,00
          Car 15 € 140,00
          Suv 8 € 70,00
          Suv 13 € 140,00
          Suv 15 € 140,00
          Minivan 8 € 70,00
          Minivan 13 € 140,00
          Minivan 15 € 140,00
        • Train

          Get off at Bari Centrale train station.
          The port is just a short taxi journey away (approx. 15 min. depending on traffic).
        • Plane

          Bari Palese Airport   
          The port is a half-hour tax journey from the airport, depending on traffic.


        History, gastronomy and fashion
        History, gastronomy and fashion

        A cruise to Italy is an emotional roller coaster. Rome is a tremendous city quite unlike any other, and in terms of historical sights outstrips everywhere else in the country by some way.
        Liguria, the small coastal province along the north-west coast, has long been known as the “Italian Riviera” and is accordingly crowded with sun-seekers for much of the summer.
        In Veneto the main focus of interest is, of course, Venice: a unique city, and every bit as beautiful as its reputation would suggest. Tuscany in central Italy represents perhaps the most commonly perceived image of the country, with its classic rolling countryside and the art-packed towns of Florence and Pisa.

        The south proper begins with the region of Campania. Its capital, Naples, is a unique, unforgettable city, the spiritual heart of the Italian south. Puglia, the “heel” of Italy, has underrated pleasures, too, notably the landscape of its Gargano peninsula and the souk-like qualities of its capital, Bari.

        As for Sicily, the island is really a place apart, with a wide mixture of attractions ranging from some of the finest preserved Hellenistic treasures in Europe, to a couple of Italy’s most appealing Mediterranean beach resorts in Taormina and Cefalù, not to mention some gorgeous upland scenery.

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