Puglia… Explore the magic of southern Italy ‘BACK ROADS of PUGLIA’ Tour (8 days).
Luciana has teamed up with Fabio – archeologist and guide which promises her usual attention to detail, personalised service and a truly memorable experience of Italy’s boot. In this undiscovered gem of southern Italy you will travel on the back roads of Puglia enjoying its towns and medieval hilltop villages and maginificent cuisine.
Read on to find out more about our ‘Back Roads of Puglia‘ tour.
ABOUT THE TOUR
On a ‘Back Roads of Puglia’ tour you will enjoy a taste of the real Italy as you live like a local and stay in the beautiful baroque town of Lecce and in the stunning countryside around Ostuni, the ‘white city’ or citta’ bianca.
Over 8 marvellous days, travel comfortably and slowly as you unwind with 4 nights in one accommodation and 3 nights in the other.
Slow food and Slow travel await you – the perfect mix to explore Puglia. On this small group tour, you will have a chance to see Puglia off the beaten track, taste sensational regional dishes of Puglia, meet true artisans working with traditional weaving, jewellery, ceramics and paper mache’… A personalised and professional service is guaranteed!
Puglia has so much to offer for the discerning traveller and for those looking to understand and experience an authentic Italy. Throughout history its strategic position was important for controlling trade and invasions were launched from here. You will learn all about the pre Romans, Romans, Greeks, Normans, Turks, Saracens and Spanish who made their mark in Puglia… Many relics of Magna Graecia with great archeological sites are to be found. The fertile soils here with endless olive trees and vineyards as well as the pristine beaches make your trip to Puglia a fabulous one. Southern Italy travel at its best!
This is a fully escorted, small group tour (no more than 12 guests) and led by Fabio.
June 13 – 20, 2018 (8 days)
September 28 – October 5, 2018 (8 days)
DAY 1: Saturday: BRINDISI – LECCE
You will be met this morning by Fabio at Brindisi station or accommodation – with a private airconditioned vehicle to transfer you to Lecce. Fabio will be your private guide and driver throughout your Puglia journey, who with Luciana Masci has put this special itinerary together for you. After your morning coffee in a local cafe’ serving Lecce’s famous Quarta coffee you can check in at a beautiful palazzo in the heart of old Lecce where you will be based for the next 4 nights. There is time to rest before heading out with Fabio to explore the baroque splendour of Lecce’s historical centre, followed by a fabulous traditional Pugliese lunch including pasta, ceci e tria and primitivo red wine…Fabio’s extensive knowledge of Puglia and his studies as an archaeologist as well as Lecce being his home town make for a wonderful combination of learning and exploring Puglia together.
DAY 2: Sunday: LECCE- GALATINA
This morning you head off to Galatina and visit this little gem of a village complete with medieval basilica church of Santa Caterina with fabulous frescoes. There is time to relax with a coffee in the piazza and also visit the oldest pastry shop or pasticcieria serving a local Lecce specialty called pasticciotto. Learn about the tarantella dance and it’s origins here in Galatina. Stay on for lunch and then return to Lecce for a rest. At leisure for rest of evening. Enjoy Lecce in the evening, with the many shops and time to have your passeggiata with the locals.
DAY 3: Monday: LECCE- LEUCA- GALLIPOLI- LECCE
This full day touring with Fabio will take you south via the splendid Adriatic coastline. Take in the brilliant sea over your morning coffee then explore a nearby grotto. Fabio has arranged a visit to a ceramic artisan still creating traditional maiolica ware. You can learn all about the techniques used and the traditional colours of ceramics here.
Visit a natural historical monument – legends say that it was so large that 700 knights would be able to take shelter and shade under this mighty oak tree. We travel onto Leuca to explore the beautiful basilica. Take in a fabulous lunch with equally fabulous views over the coastline. After lunch, heading onto Gallipoli, Fabio will take you through the historical centre. You will be taken through an underground ancient olive mill which was noted for producing lamp oil up until the end of the 19th century. The oil produced here supplied the street lighting for many of Europe’s capital cities. Return to your accommodation in Lecce by late afternoon. Rest of evening at leisure.
DAY 4: Tuesday : LECCE- OTRANTO - LECCE
Today Fabio will accompany you to Otranto another jewel of the Adriatic. It is a charming village with white washed houses, tiny alleyways and rich history. Otranto is the eastern most town on the Italian peninsula. Visit the tiny Byzantine church of San Pietro from the 9th century and the beautiful basilica. Admire the rare and well preserved medieval mosaic flooring from the 12th century. Take in more great sea views over a relaxing coffee and explore the backstreets also. Onto the nearby countryside where lunch will be in a traditional Puglia masseria or country farmhouse. Enjoy local specialities all accompanied by Puglia wines including primitivo red wine.
The farmhouse is also a creative centre for textiles and weaving where ladies continue the traditions of weaving on looms. Admire the looms made from olive wood as well as the hand woven rugs and bags using traditional designs and colours. Return to Lecce for some siesta time before exploring more of Lecce this evening. Fabio has arranged private visits to several artisans in Lecce working the age old crafts of – paper mache’, goldsmith and a wonderful chocolatier making chocolates.
DAY 5: Wednesday: LECCE – OSTUNI – CISTERNINO – LECCE
This morning we leave Lecce and head onto Ostuni which will be your base for the next 3 nights. You head off early at 8am. Arrive at the wonderful masseria and restored country farmhouse set in the Puglia countryside. Surrounded by olive trees it is a truly tranquil setting. Fabio and a local guide will take you to explore the ‘white village’ of Ostuni and nearby Cisternino. Return to your accommodation after lunch for some rest and relaxation and enjoy the pool or go for a country walk. Later this evening Fabio will take you for a passeggiata to another splendid village. It is so picturesque that every alleyway and doorway is a photograph. Option to enjoy a wine degustation at a local Slow Food restaurant.
DAY 6: Thursday: OSTUNI – MATERA - OSTUNI
An early start for Matera, in the Basilicata region. On the way stop for a morning coffee and arrive at Matera by mid morning. A local guide will take you to explore this unique Unesco site of the ‘sassi di Matera’. Some of these cave houses, typical houses built into the rock have multiple levels and a labyrinth of tunnels in the rock face. The oldest dwellings go back to the Bronze Age. Residents lived in these houses up until the 1950’s when they were moved to more modern houses. See a cave church hewn out of rock with frescoes. Matera has been used for many films including Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” – a perfect backdrop for such a film!
Lunch is in Matera and you will sample some wonderful local specialties. Return to your accommodation in Ostuni and relax after such an amazing day.
DAY 7: Friday: OSTUNI – MARTINA FRANCA - LOCOROTONDO - OSTUNI
Firstly a visit to the charming old town centre Martina Franca at 430 m which overlooks the beautiful valley with trulli and white washed houses. Then onto Locorotondo with a private visit to a local winery and sample amazing some Puglia wines – dry whites and full bodied red wines. Learn all about the winemaking process using traditional and modern techniques. Lunch is in Locorotondo. After a well earned rest this afternoon we meet a local cheesemaker in nearby Cisternino, making award winning cow’s milk cheeses. Time for an evening passeggiata and Fabio will show you a wonderful place for dinner where barbecuing meat is a local tradition here in Cisternino.
DAY 8: Saturday: OSTUNI – BRINDISI
Leaving our accommodation this morning we depart for Brindisi. A local guide has been arranged to take you through the historical heart of Brindisi and explain its rich history of trading in the Mediterranean and the many invasions over time. Lunch is in Brindisi – enjoy your final and delicious lunch in Puglia and reminisce over a wonderful week spent together and discovering the treasures of Puglia. Fabio will transfer you to your hotel in Brindisi or the airport or train station.
End of your tour in Puglia. BUON VIAGGIO!
$5560 per person, twin share (AUD $900 single supplement)
$4400 per person, twin share (USD $750 single supplement)