Bari is a city of over 320,000 inhabitants, the capital of the Puglia Region and the Metropolitan City of the same name. It is the ninth Italian city by population, and the third in the South after Naples and Palermo. Its metropolitan area is the sixth largest in Italy with over 1.3 million inhabitants. The city of Bari stretches along the Adriatic coast for over 40 km with the longest waterfront in Italy. Including the metropolitan waterfront, the coastline is 80 km long with urban beaches, coasts and bathing establishments.
Its airport is one of the main Italian and European hubs and the port is the most important passenger port on the Adriatic Sea. The city of Bari is the seat of the secretariat of the pan-European corridor. Bari has a long mercantile and entrepreneurial tradition and has always been a hub in trade trade hub and of importance in political-cultural relations with the Middle East.
Bari is among the top 5 destinations in Europe according to Lonely Planet and is the second destination in Puglia for the number of arrivals and tourists. Bari is also known for being the city where the relics of San Nicola rest. This feature has made Bari, with its Basilica, one of the best known centres of the Orthodox Church in the West and also an important interconfessional hub between the Orthodox and Catholic religions.
Within the metropolitan area of Bari there are 3 universities, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute, 11 national research centres, 1 Academy of Fine Arts, 1 Music Conservatory, 10 production districts and the second largest industrial area of the Adriatic.
Bari is active in international and cross-border cooperation between cities, in particular in EU investment programs such as URBACT, Interreg Greece-Italy, Adrion, Med, See and Horizon. In recent years the city has hosted a number of prestigious international events including the Mediterranean Games, the Bilateral Italy – Russia Summit, the National Assembly of the ANCI (National Association of Italian Municipalities), the G7 Finance Meeting and the ecumenical prayer meeting promoted by Pope Francis for peace in the Middle East.