Barletta has a rich history. Ask locals to tell you stories about the Colossus, La Disfida ("the Challenge"), or the castle.
Unless you are driving, you will likely arrive by train. From the station, go straight out the main exit and the municipal gardens are one block away. The gardens border Corso Garibaldi, a major thoroughfare. Take it towards the sea (right) to get to the Centro Storico. Before you get there, near the intersection with Corso Cavour, you'll find Barletta's tourist office (0883 33 13 31, Corso Garibaldi 202; 9-1, 5-7 M-F and 9-1 Sat). They have maps and information.
Walking will be faster than any local bus. You can also catch a taxi from the train station.
The Colossus is the most famous monument in Barletta. It is a statue of a Byzantine Emperor and it is on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. He is 6 metres tall and weighs 160 kg. The legend says that he was a Barlettan citizen and he was chased away because he was so tall. When the Byzantines arrived in Barletta, he went to the city gate and cried. When the Byzantines asked him why he was crying, he told a lie. He said that he was chased away because he was too short.
Barletta's castle is a monument from the epoch of Federico II. It has four corners at the phosphate and around a garden with green space. The castle is an enormous monument. In the castle there is a library, a statue of Federico II, and a cinema at the library. Barletta's castle is a very significant monument for the history of the city.
Pinacoteca Giuseppe de Nittis, [www.pinacotecadenittis.it], Via Cialdini 75, 0883 57 86 15, contains a comprehensive selection of the artist's work. de Nittis is one of the few internationally known Italian impressionists and one of Barletta's historical favorite sons.
Barletta is a few minutes drive from Canne della Battaglia, the site of the Battle of Cannae, a terrible engagement during the Second Punic War. Little sign of the battle remains, but the ancient town of Cannae is slowly being excavated. The site and the antiquarium, containing finds from the necropolis, can both be visited (0883 51 09 93, 8:30-7:30).
Many of the locals spend much of their free time during the summer at the beach. Join them. Avoid spots near the sometimes smelly port.
For supermarket needs, Ipercoop cannot be beat. It is a five minute walk past the castle along Corso Cavour (which becomes Via Trani).
Brigantino is a popular restaurant of Barletta. The specialty of the house is seafood, but all the food is very good. It is a very welcoming and beautiful place.
Santa Croce is one of the most important pizzerias in Barletta. It is a very old restaurant. It was owned by the rich nobleman Santa (Saint) Croce. The city of Barletta later took possession of the building. Today this is one of the most important historical buildings in Barletta.
St. Patrick is a famous restaurant in Barletta. The restaurant is very big and many people and many tourists go there. St. Patrick is an Irish Pub and here can you eat roast beef, turkey, and sausages and drink draft Guiness. St. Patrick does excellent pizza and the restaurant is very popular.
Crepes A' Porter is a great little shop selling French crepes, mostly to go. Most options are sweet, although there are a few savory offerings. It is located in the Centro Storico (old town), at the far end of Via Duomo.
Caffè Con Vista, which thrives during the warmer months, spreads dozens of tables out at the far end of Via Duomo, with excellent views of both the cathedral and the castle. The food selection is limited, but grabbing a drink and enjoying the view is well worth it. The cafe itself has a bathroom and a second story with a few tables to get away from the churning social scene below.