Puglia – the pleasures of the Mediterranean and the warmth of the people await…
‘TREASURES OF PUGLIA’ Tour (10 days)
If you are travelling to southern Italy, Puglia is the must see region. From the pristine waters of the Mediterranean to the extensive olive groves and the fertile vineyards, Puglia has it all. Luciana’s team ensures attention to detail, personalised service and a truly memorable Italian experience.
Read on to find out more about our ‘ Treasures of Puglia‘ tour.
ABOUT THE TOUR
‘Treasures of Puglia’ offers you a taste of the real Italy with Slow food and Slow travel… Over the 10 days, see the length of this magnificent region from the beaches of Polignano a Mare (3 nights) to the white washed village of Ostuni (3 nights) and beautiful Baroque Lecce (3 nights).
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 abundant olive trees and vineyards as well as the pristine beaches make your trip to Puglia a fabulous one. Small group travel to Italy at its best!
This is a fully escorted, small group tour (no more than 12 guests) and led by Fabio.
June 10 – 19, 2018 (10 days)
September 25 – October 4, 2018 (10 days)
DAY 1: Sunday: BARI – POLIGNANO A MARE
Your private guide and driver throughout your Puglia journey will be Fabio, who has worked closely with Luciana Masci to put this special itinerary together for you. Your amazing 10 journey starts in the centre of Bari this morning. Begin with a private visit to the city’s grand Opera House, the Teatro Petruzzelli. This theatre was first opened in 1903 and has staged many international artists including Rudolf Nureyev, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Liza Minelli.
We then visit the important Basilica of Saint Nicholas built in the 11th century during the Norman domination of southern Italy. The town’s patron saint, who was originally from Turkey has his relics in the beautiful crypt below the church. Time for morning coffee in Bari before we make our way to Polignano a Mare right on the Adriatic coastline. Lunch is a wonderful seafood lunch overlooking the crystal blue waters. Enjoy the next 3 glorious nights in Polignano immersing ourselves in all the Mediterranean has to offer starting with welcome aperitivo drinks on the rooftop terrace. Fabio will then orientate you around the town early this evening with a private guided tour.
DAY 2: Monday: ALTAMURA artisan breadmakers - Artisan cheesemakers- CASTEL del MONTE Norman Castle - Artisan confetti/sugared almonds - Polignano
This morning’s visit is Altamura about 1 hr away. It is famous for its wonderful bread which has DOP status in Italy and made here for centuries. e visit an ancient bakery which has been making bread in the same location since the 15th century. Taste some amazing artisan bread and divine focaccia! There is time to visit the town’s cathedral built in 1232. We then visit an artisan cheesemaker noted for their specialty cheese and recognised by Slow Food Italy. Learn all about how they produce raw cow’s milk cheese. Enjoy lunch at a country farmhouse as we indulge in a 4 course meal with ingredients mostly selected from their estate- in house salumi and cheeses to home grown produce such as broad beans, eggplants and home made pasta.
One of the tour’s highlights is to visit the Unesco World Heritage Site of Castel del Monte, built in the 13th century by King Federick II. This unusual octagonal castle was also used as his hunting lodge, then prison and later as a refuge from the plague.
Heading back to Polginano, we detour to visit an awarding winning confetti or sugared almond producer, voted number 1 in Italy. Return to our accommodation early evening – bathe in the autumn twilight as you stroll through the town, admire the amazing cliffs or sit and enjoy a wonderful gelato!
DAY 3: Tuesday: TRANI - Impressionist Art Gallery & Ancient Colossus Bronze -Polignano a Mare
We head north today and explore Trani, a beautiful town on the coastline. Admire the splendid harbour and historical centre with a huge 13th castle and medieval cathedral. The local white limestone is used for all its buildings. There is also time to visit the elegant boutiques as well as stroll through the town’s quiet gardens with its wonderful sea views. Lunch is by the harbour and seafood is the theme today – sample many local dishes such as mussels with rice and potatoes and simply grilled fresh local fish…
After lunch we visit an art gallery with a notable collection of Italian Impressionist art by Giuseppe De Nittis. Another special gem to share with you is the rare Colossus, an ancient Roman bronze statue standing at over 5m tall depicting a Roman Emperor.
Returning to Polignano, there is time this evening to join the locals on their passeggiata along the waterfront, sip an aperitivo or stroll the many alleyways and shops with local artisan products.
DAY 4: Wednesday: LOCOROTONDO Winery & Trulli dwellings - MARTINA FRANCA - OSTUNI
We leave Polignano this morning and we head south to Ostuni. Firstly we explore the charming village of Locorotondo, with a population of about 14,000. With its typical whitewashed houses and many alleyways the area is also noted for its vineyards producing a dry white wine. In this private visit you will sample amazing Puglia wines – dry whites and full bodied red wines. Learn all about the winemaking process using traditional and modern techniques. Visit the Valle d’Itria valley dotted with its famous trulli – round dry stone structures with conical roofs.
The larger town of Martina Franca is nearby, a perfect place to stroll and explore the historical centre. We head onto another whitewashed village where every alleyway and doorway is a photograph. Lunch is in an exquisite restaurant in the old historical centre where you can indulge in a degustation lunch from delicious antipasti to devine dessert. Taste matching wines from Puglia and Angelo’s own extravirgin olive oil. This is Slow Food at its best!
Check into your boutique accommodation in the centre of Ostuni – welcome aperitivo will be served this evening.
DAY 5: Thursday: OSTUNI Private walking tour - CISTERNINIO
We start with a private guided visit of Ostuni, a village only 8kms in from the coastline. It is an architectural jewel and known as the “white city” or citta bianca due to its white walls and white painted buildings. The village was initially settled by the pre Roman tribes called the Messapi and also destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic Wars in the 3rd century. The local Archeological museum has many treasures from this area to admire. Onto nearby Cisternino village for a special barbecue lunch which is traditional here.
Eat in a truly local trattoria with grilled meats drizzled with the finest extravirgin olive oil and sample side dishes such as broad bean puree with chicory greens. Relax at the country farmhouse and take in the tranquil surrounds.
DAY 6: Friday: GROTTAGLIE Local ceramics/maiolica ware - Canyon with Medieval Crypt and Frescoes - TARANTO Archeological Museum
Today we visit the town of Grottaglie, which is on the western part of Puglia overlooking the Ionian Sea. The surrounding area is full of caves in the limestone rock and canyons which, during the Middle Ages housed many people fleeing the Saracen invasions. The presence of large clay deposits has made Grottaglie a perfect centre for ceramic production and has done so since Greek and Roman times. We visit an artisan ceramicist in his workshop and admire local traditional ceramics. Along the way smell the wild thyme and rosemary and feel the tranquility, far removed from the Italian tourist crowds…
Lunch is at the ancient port city of Taranto overlooking the harbour. Taranto was founded by the ancient Greeks as a commercial port, with evidence from the 8th century BC that it was a Spartan colony. There is a fabulous archeological museum worth visiting after lunch.
Return to your accommodation at the farmhouse by early evening.
DAY 7: Saturday: MANDURIA -Private cellar visit - LECCE
Leaving Ostuni we make our way further south towards Lecce where we will be based for the following 3 nights. Firstly we visit Manduria which was colonised by the pre Roman tribes of the Messapi. There are still considerable remains of the ancient defence walls where we can see large blocks of stone placed without mortar. Manduria is also noted for its red wines as this is the centre of production of Primitivo di Manduria DOC wine. Meet the local winemakers with a private cellar visit and tastings of this varietal – its notes of plum and spice will delight your palate! Lunch is another wonderful array of local Puglia dishes, this time at a country farmhouse.
Depart for Lecce by late afternoon and once we are checked in and settled in, we will be ready for a Welcome Aperitivo. We will be staying in a wonderfully restored palazzo in the centre of Lecce.
DAY 8: Sunday: LECCE Private walking tour - Private Cooking Class
Today in Lecce we will start with a private guided walking tour of this beautiful gem of Puglia. Lecce is Fabio’s home town – so his passion and love for Lecce will show! It has often been referred to as the “Florence of the South” with its superb baroque architecture made with a yellow limestone. Visit some of the splendid Baroque churches and the stories they tell as well as meeting the maestro Claudio who works with a traditional craft of paper mache’ dating back to the 17th century. There is also time to meet an young artisan jeweller who creates magic in gold and silver and reinterprets traditional designs.
Aperitivo time is approaching and a surprise is in store for you in a piazza… Later you will be transferred to your own private cooking class. Another special highlight awaits with a hands on experience to create some wonderful Puglia dishes including eggplant recipes, making orecchiette – a traditional pasta shape as well as making focaccia topped with tomatoes and herbs and much more! We will sit an enjoy this special dinner in the warm autumn evening… Buon appetito!
DAY 9: Monday: GALATINA Medieval Church - Traditional Weaving - OTRANTO Adriatic Port
Galatina a 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, pastry filled with Italian custard cream… Learn about the tarantella dance and it’s origins in Galatina. Continuing on the road less travelled in Puglia, we will take you to a farmhouse (masseria) which has been established as a creative centre for traditional textiles. Here 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. We have also arranged through this cooperative to have another craftsman show us and share his skills for the ancient art of basketry, so important to life in the countryside and farming. Lunch is served in the hidden courtyard where we may eat alfresco under the shade of the large carob tree. Enjoy a series of dishes all accompanied by local primitivo red wine.
Later in the afternoon, we arrive in Otranto, a short distance away and a jewel of the Adriatic.
Explore this charming village with a local guide who will bring to life its rich history as we walk past white washed houses, tiny hidden alleyways and medieval churches. Admire the rare and well preserved medieval mosaic flooring from the 12th century and understand the story and the motifs represented. Take in more great sea views over a relaxing coffee and explore the backstreets also. Otranto also has a fortress castle to admire.
We return to Lecce by early evening after this full day of exploring. Rest of evening at leisure for your passeggiatawith the locals and sit and watch the world go by.
Today has been truly a special find, with passionate women and men… These are the true Treasures of Puglia…
DAY 10: Tuesday: LECCE - BRINDISI
This morning is relaxed to further explore the beautiful baroque centre of Lecce. Enjoy the delights of a local chocolatier who have been making artisan chocolates since 1875. With a special private visit, we are able to taste some of their exquisite chocolate selection as well as the local specialty – sweet almond milk. A perfect gift to take back home! Enjoy our last aperitivo in Lecce as we sit and reminisce our wonderful 10 days together in Puglia. You can choose to end in Lecce and be transferred to Lecce station, or go to Brindisi station/airport for your onward journey. End of tour in Puglia.
$6950 per person, twin share (AUD $1200 single supplement)