Experience the Southern Italy lifestyle with a small group of 12/14 participants only! Distinctive and delightful, with crystalline seas, pretty countryside and endless sunshine, Puglia is a land of natural beauty, warm hospitality and amazing food and wine. A unique, much-loved southern region.Dramatic mountains, Byzantine rock-hewn churches, sun-baked olive groves, stunning Romanesque architecture and some of Italy’s best beaches are tempting more and more visitors to the exciting little-known regions. The high heel of the Italian boot looks and feels like nowhere else in Italy.
Colorful, exotic Puglia is the beguiling and stimulating place, with its own distinctive food, architecture and atmosphere. Its landscapes have an appealingly elemental quality – stark rocks meeting clean beaches lapped by crystal-clear water; gigantic olive trees spiraling up from dark red soil fringed by vivid wildflowers; fragrant pine forests opening onto chalk-white sands. Nature’s colors are bold in Puglia, and man-made shapes are simple – with chunky, cubic houses and conical-roofed cottages dotting the countryside. Its extensive coastline bears the marks of many conquering invaders:the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks.
Sun and sea, food, wine and quality of life – explore this diverse and captivating region with a small group tour.
We have a real passion for Puglia & Basilicata regions and look forward to sharing it with you!
A BariB LecceC OtrantoD MateraE MateraF AlberobelloG OstuniH Castel del MOnteI TraniJ Bari
Day 1: WELCOME TO BARI & POLIGNANO A MARE
We meet in BARI outside the Palace Hotel at 09.00 for a fascinating walking tour through the ancient alleys, visiting the Basilica of St. Nicholas, one of the most remarkable examples of Romanesque architecture, the exterior of the Swabian Castle built in Norman times and the fish market. Following an experience on seeing making Apulian orecchiette and a street food experience, we’ll drive to the picturesque fishing village of POLIGNANO A MARE, perched on limestone cliffs, boasting stunning views and colorful narrow streets for sightseeing and lunch on your own.Continue to the elegant town of LECCE, known as “The Florence of the South“on account of its astonishing number of baroque and Renaissance-style buildings. Spend the first three nights of your tour at the historical boutique family hotel “PALAZZO DEI DONDOLI” or similar. Dinner is included this evening in a local tavern where you’ll feel like one of the family.Eat like a local! Overnight stay in LECCE
Day 2: ELEGANT LECCE & ITS BAROQUE SPLENDORS
Southern Italians have long known historic LECCE and its glorious profusion of Baroque mansions and churches.A beautiful baroque town with a remarkable architectural confection of palaces and churches intricately sculpted from the soft local sandstone. In the morning, we take a private tour around the city with our locally born guide to have the key sights explained to us. Lecce is known for its crafts, most notably papier-mache’ figurines, and this display is dedicated to explaining the skills and artistry that go into a local product. We’ll end the morning with to an HISTORICAL PALAZZO folloed by an included light lunch in a local bistro.The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration.Dinner tonight is on your own.Overnight stay in LECCE
Day 3: THE MARVELS OF GALATINA, OTRANTO & THE SALENTO PENINSULA
This morning we depart to the town of GALATINA, an important Greek colony in the Middle Ages and nowadays renowned for its splendid church of ST CATERINA D’ALESSANDRIA which contains early 15th-century frescoes with scenes from the Old and New Testaments.A mind-blowing Giotto-like experience!Our second Galatinese gem is the local pastry, a sweet custard treat called pasticciotto Galatina which we try today. Move to CAPE OTRANTO to visit a recently restored 19th century lighthouse from where on clear days you can see the mountains of Albania. You will end the day in OTRANTO, a charming harbor town overlooking the turquoise Adriatic sea with an included lunch in a popular fishing restaurant. You’ll have time for visiting the stunning Cathedral where, in the interior you can find a remarkable 12th century mosaic floor depicting the Tree of Life balanced on the back of two elephants. The evening is all yours to head to the old town for a meal or taking in the atmosphere of the evening “stroll”-LA DOLCE VITA !!!Overnight stay in LECCE
Day 4: PRIMITIVO WINE TASTING IN MANDURIA, BREAD MAKING EXPERIENCE IN MATERA
Leaving beautiful Puglia region, we drive to nearby BASILICATA and the town of MATERA. Even for Italians, Basilicata is off the beaten track and little known, despite being portrayed as Biblical Palestine in countless film epics.Our first stop is a well-known winery located in the MANDURIA region for a tasting of their wines “Primitivo” and a visit to the wine culture museum.Continue toa local BAKERY in MATERA for hands on making bread made in old wood-burning oven. Our hotel for the next two nights is “PALAZZOTTO HOTEL” or similar, located in the heart of the Sassi district, said to be one of the world’s oldest towns, inhabited since the Paleolithic Age.This evening we’ll meet for a delicious meal in a local gourmet restaurant.Overnight stay in MATERA
Day 5: BIBLICAL MATERA & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
MATERA is a fabulous troglodyte town of prehistoric grottoes, cave tabernacles, abandoned hovels and Renaissance houses, all excavated into the luminous limestone tufa. The rock-cut cave dwellings known as the SASSI, date back to Byzantine times.With the help of a locally-grown expert, we’ll learn the stories of old and new Matera.Discover an ancient cave dwelling which tells a tale of poverty, hardship and struggle, whose history is best immortalized in writer Carlo Levi’s superb book “Christ stopped at Eboli“,comparing the Sassi to Dante’s Inferno.Today Matera contains some 3000 habitable caves.Visit a cave church-featuring medieval frescoes with their own legends that we’ll learn about.After an included lunch with local products, you’ll enjoy a non-guided visit to the stunning ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM.Rest of the day is at leisure in beautiful Matera.Overnight stay in MATERA
Day 6: TRULLI IN FAIRYTALE ALBEROBELLO & COOK WITH A LOCAL GRANNY
Today’s visit takes you to the town of ALBEROBELLO, famous for its district of Trulli, spread over the hillside to the south of the town. These square structures have conical roofs covered with “Chiancarelle”, grey-limestone roof slabs and are crowned by differently shaped pinnacles, each with a magical significance.Your expert guide will show you an 18th century small Trullo house, giving something of the atmosphere of trullo life, with sweet, rounded rooms that include a re-created bakery, bedroom and kitchen.Following this, you will be invited in the house of an Apulian granny for HANDS-ON-COOKING experience and a home-hosted lunch. Spend the next two nights in the white town of OSTUNI at the “HOTEL LA TERRA” or similar.In the evening, take a stroll with our local guide through the narrow alleys and steep stairways of picturesque OSTUNI, a town which shines like a pearly white tiara, extending across three hills with the magnificent gem of a late-Gothic 15th century cathedral.Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in OSTUNI
Day 7:OLIVE OIL FARM, WINE TASTING IN MAGICAL LOCOROTONDO & BACKROAD MARTINA FRANCA
This morning visit takes you to the small whitewashed village of LOCOROTONDO, considered one of the most picturesque ones in Italy boasting an extraordinarily beautiful and whisper-quiet pedestrianized historical center, where everything is shimmering white aside from the blood-red geraniums that tumble from the window boxes. After an included wine tasting,we’ll head on to the aristocratic and baroque town of MARTINA FRANCA to wander around its picturesque streets.Return to OSTUNI to visit a locally farm for an olive oil experience.Dinner is included in a local pizzeria.Eat like a real Italian!!Overnight stay in OSTUNI
Day 8: BURRATA CHEESE EXPERIENCE, COSMOPOLITAN MONOPOLI & UNESCO CASTEL DEL MONTE
Wide horizons, bold colors, sometimes harsh and a bit lunar.Such is the landscape of the Murgia Valley from the Imperial Puglia, dominated by the presence of Frederick II .We start the day with a demonstration of the local BURRATA CHEESE followed by a drive to the picturesque ancient town of MONOPOLI, for sightseeing and lunch on your own.Continue to the UNESCO Heritage site of CASTEL DEL MONTE, a masterpiece of medieval architecture, which dominates the countryside of Andria from its 540 meters on sea level.Drive to the nearby fishing town of TRANI, staying at the central hotel ” MARE RESORT” or similar.The remainder of the day is at leisure.Overnight stay in TRANI
Day 9: COLORS OF PUGLIA: LIVE THE MAGIC OF TRANI
Morning with your tour guide for a walking tour of beautiful TRANI. Start to explore Trani from the Cathedral of San Pellegrino, a Romanesque gem by the sea, the Swabian Castle, an imposing fortress built by Frederick II. Behind the port, you can explore the Jewish quarter, a maze of small alleyways,synagogues and artisans’shops.The elegant port is the town’s beating heart.Tonight we’ll celebrate your Apulian adventure with a farewell dinner at one of the typical regional restaurants in Trani. Overnight stay in TRANI
Day 10: ARRIVEDERCI PUGLIA!
Morning transfers to Bari airport and train station