8 Days Puglia & Matera Escorted Group tour "BELLISSIMA PUGLIA"

Experience the Southern Italy lifestyle with a group of 25 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 region and look forward to sharing it with you!

Location

Day 1: WELCOME TO PUGLIA

Meet your tour guide and group members in Bari at 14.30 and travel to the stunning fishing town of Polignano a Mare, perched on limestone cliffs, boasting stunning views and colorful narrow streets for a three nights stay at the central hotel "COVO DEI SARACENI" or similar.At 6.30 pm meet your tour director for a welcome meeting followed by dinner at a local restaurant.Overnight in POLIGNANO A MARE


Day 2: HIGHLIGHTS OF BARI & UNESCO CASTEL DE 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.Start your discovery of Puglia with a fascinating walking tour through the ancient alleys with our local expert guide,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 pasta and a local street food experience, we’ll drive 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.The remainder of the day is at leisure.Overnight stay in POLIGNANO A MARE
 

Day 3: BIBLICAL MATERA

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.A light lunch with local products is included today.Rest of the day is at leisure.Overnight stay in POLIGNANO A MARE
 

Day 4FAIRYTALE ALBEROBELLO, BURRATA CHEESE MAKING, MAGICAL LOCOROTONDO & OSTUNI

Today’s visit takes you to the  UNESCO 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.Today,you are invited in the house of an Apulian family for a BURRATA cheese making experience.Continue to discover the stunning small whitewashed villages of LOCOROTONDO,considered one of the most picturesque ones in Italy and 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.
Spend the last four nights in 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 last 4 nights of your Puglia adventure at the boutique hotel “PALAZZO DEI DONDOLI” or similar.A light dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant.Overnight stay in LECCE
 

Day 5: 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 end the morning with 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 6: OTRANTO & THE SALENTO PENINSULA

Highlights of our morning tour is CAPE OTRANTO where we’ll visit a recently restored 19th century lighthouse from where on clear days you can see the mountains of Albania.Next, we move to the beautiful walled harbor town of OTRANTO, overlooking the turquoise Adriatic sea. On a walking tour here we see 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.After an included lunch in a popular fishing restaurant, we drive back to Lecce.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 7:THE MARVELS OF GALATINA & PRIMITIVO WINE TASTING IN MANDURIA

This morning tour ventures 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!The second Galatinese gem is the local pastry, a sweet custard treat called pasticciotto Galatina which we try today.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.Tonight we’ll celebrate your Apulian adventure with a farewell dinner at one of the typical regional restaurants.Overnight stay in LECCE
 

Day 8: ARRIVEDERCI PUGLIA!

Breakfast in hotel and end of the tour