Bari – south of the tracks in Picone

Picone is the district to the immediate south of the central train station. My employer usually uses two hotels both located on or near Via Capruzzi, a main road which runs parallel to the tracks on the southern side of the station. Thanks to some barmy city planning, the railway effectively cuts the city in half which is a pain for us on the wrong side.

As a relatively fit bloke I don’t mind the walk to Barivecchia or mid-town Murat (click on the names to go to separate posts) but it can be a bit edgy coming back through the station later at night.

Alternatively you could get to the other side via the underpass or the bridge marked on this Google map, which also has all the other places I mention in my posts.

Should you not care for the walk, I’m sure there is good food to be found on the south side, but the choice is much more limited. Here’s what I know:

La Tana del Blasco (Elementarty B+), 252D Via Capruzzi

A postage stamp sized bar where you can sit outside under the porticos and watch the traffic go by. It’s a good spot for a aperitif and some finger food after work. I had the misfortune to see England lose to Italy in the 2014 World Cup here surrounded by students, but don’t let that put you off.

Focacceria Fiore (Elementary B+), 232 Via Capruzzi

Bari is famous for focaccia and they make a good one here (B+). Timing is everything though. Try to catch them when the foccacia is fresh out of the oven, you’ll be able to smell it down the street when it is.

It might be an idea to ask when the next batch is due out because if  you leave it too late, there’s a good chance they’ll have sold out.

Trattoria Giulio Cesare (Intermediate B-), Piazza Giulio Cesare, about 10 mins walk from the Excelsior.

I came here with my veggie friend Mark in October 2009.  My Spaghetti Vongole was fine (B) and my vegetarian friend’s Pasta Arabbiata was good (B) until he found a large chunk of beef in it (D) and realised the sauce was a ragu rather than the more usual tomato and chilli sauce.

Lesson learned, ask the waiter about the ingredients before you eat a supposedly veggie sauce in Puglia.

In short, good food for carnivores at a reasonable price, plain decor, nothing special.

I can’t comment on the food as I haven’t been but Macelleria Signorile at 12 Via Giulio Petroni gets heaps of reviews on Trip Advisor, which is a good sign for this area of town. Reservations only apparently. Must try it next time.

Also a colleague says good things about L’Osteria di Mario at 109 Via Gioacchino Toma.

There’s a supermarket at 166 Via Capruzzi and a gym at 230.

Mercure Villa Romanazzi Carducci (High Intermediate A), 326 Via Giuseppe Capruzzi, www.accorhotels.com

A fantastic hotel with modern rooms, nice grounds and an extensive breakfast buffet. The chef will cook fresh egg dishes for you and you can squeeze your juice fresh.

The reception staff seem a bit hassled but have always been helpful.

There’s a good gym but no floor mats unfortunately.

There were a few problems with the Wi-Fi but they got fixed.

Hotel Excelsior Bari (Intermediate C), 15 Via Giulio Petroni,

Unfortunately when the Villa Romanazzi is full we end up here.

The rooms are a bit cramped but basically okay but the overall atmosphere is gloomy and faded with hardly any guests.

The breakfast is pretty desperate but the staff are nice and helpful.

The Wi-Fi is hopeless so get an ethernet cable from reception. but even this doesn’t always work either.

There’s a basic gym in the cellar but it costs €10 a day!

Inexplicably rooms cost about the same as Villa Romanazzi.

Oh well, at least you’re near the station.

We are also sometimes put up at the Grand Hotel Leon D’Oro www.grandhotelleondoro.it on the town side of the station.

I’ve not stayed there but by all accounts there’s nothing Grand about it!

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