The origins of Bari are uncertain; archaeological finds suggest the existence of a Bronze Age settlement. Inhabited by the Peucezi people, it became important following the Roman conquest in the III century B.C. and developed further with the building of the via Traiana.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was contested by the Ostrogoths and the Longobards, until its brief domination by the Berbers (from 847 to 871) when it was the capital of a small emirate. After it returned to the domination of the Byzantines, in 1002 it suffered a long siege by the Saracens, which the city overcame thanks to the intervention of the Venetian fleet.
Under the Norman domination, which began in 1071, the relics of Saint Nicola, bishop of Myre, arrived in Bari and in 1089 construction of the Basilica of Saint Nicola began. Razed to the ground by William I called the Malo, Bari was rebuilt in the Swabian period under Frederic II, but with the Angevin domination, a long period of decline began: In addition to the already-mentioned Basilica of San Nicola other important buildings in the city are the Cathedral of Saint Sabino and the Castle of Frederic II.