Heel of Italy - EPT20
Number of Days: 6
Once home to Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Swabians, and the Spanish, Puglia is a peninsula within the larger Italian peninsula, bathed by the Mediterranean Sea on three sides. Its prime position has made it a colorful melting pot of traditions, as well as a favorite destination for those who love heavenly golden beaches and bright turquoise water.
Among the cities we love most is Lecce, often called “the Florence of Southern Italy,” with its unique Baroque palaces and decorated churches sculpted from local sandstone.
The characteristic towns of Polignano a Mare, Trani, Monopoli, Putignano, Ostuni, and Gallipoli all deserve a visit as well. Then there’s Alberobello and its surprising conical white houses called “trulli,” Grottaglie and its world-famous ceramic artists and workshops, and the natural wonders of Gargano, Valle d'Itria, and Alta Murgia. Finally, honorable mention goes to fresh burrata cheese, seafood, and slow food trattorias - perfect for tasting local products.
DAY 1: BARI
Arrival in Bari where you are meet by our Tour Leader in your hotel. Bari is the main city of Puglia, and a great place to start our tour of discover in this wonderful and rarely visited region. We have a walking tour in the afternoon to learn about the city’s history and its most relevant monuments.
Walk through the charming narrow alleys of the old city centre, admire the Basilica of San Nicola where the remains of Saint Nicholas of Myra are preserved, the Norman-Swabian Castle, a 12th century fortress built by Roger the Norman and rebuilt by Frederick II of Swabia. Experience the astonishing view from the fortress (admission fee for the Castle at own expense). After the visit we reach Piazza Mercantile where you will see the ancient Column of Justice. Dinner and overnight in Bari. D
DAY 2: TRANI, CASTEL DEL MONTE, ALBEROBELLO
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel before leaving Bari by coach for Trani. Known as the ‘Pearl of Puglia’, the medieval town of Trani is one of the most remarkable cities of Southern Italy. Discover its art and monuments, visit the Jewish quarter and the wonderful white stone Cathedral. In the afternoon, reach Castel Del Monte, one of Puglia’s most acclaimed landmarks. Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 13th century under Roger the Norman, one of the most enlightened kings in history. The building is a harmonious geometrical complex, shaped as an octagon and surrounded by a still unsolved mystery. Your journey will continue towards Alberobello: a world-known UNESCO World Heritage Site made famous by the “Trulli”. These drystone cone-shaped houses were built in the 14th century from local limestone and this village is really unique, with a fairytale-like atmosphere. The town of Alberobello gets its name from the ancient oak forest of “Arboris Belli” (beautiful trees) that once covered the area. It is possible to see these typical buildings all over the Itria Valley. Overnight stay in a scattered hotel, sleeping in a real “Trullo”. B,D
DAY 3: ALBEROBELLO, MATERA, ALBEROBELLO
Matera will be the destination for today. After breakfast, in the “square” of the scattered hotel (consider 200 mts from the Trulli), the coach will take you to this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit and learn the history of the “Sassi di Matera” (Stones of Matera), caves that have been used as houses for over 9.000 years! that are part of the historic center of the city. Admire the Romanesque Cathedral that overlooks the city, its beautiful “Campanile” (Bell tower) and enjoy the amazing view of the “Sassi”. Transfer back to Alberobello in the late afternoon. Overnight in the “Trullo”. B,D
DAY 4: ALBEROBELLO, LOCOROTONDO, OSTUNI, LECCE
Breakfast in the “square” of the scattered hotel (consider 200 mts from the Trulli. Leave Alberobello by coach and reach Locorotondo. Enjoy some free time to visit this small town that is part of the “white towns” of Puglia. Board on the coach again and travel to Ostuni: located between the “Trulli” region and Salento, overlooks the coastal plain rich of ancient olive trees. Free time at your disposal to explore another “white town” with free time for lunch, shopping and tasting of several local products like the world’s famous olive oil (all at your own expenses). In the late afternoon, get again on board of the coach and reach Lecce in the heart of the Salento region. Overnight Lecce. B,D
DAY 5: LECCE, OTRANTO, MASSERIA LE STANZÌE, LECCE
After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a 3 hour guided visit of the city, learn the history of Lecce, visit the old town centre, the 12th century Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Croce and Piazza del Duomo. After the visit, board on the coach and leave Lecce. You will reach Otranto where you will have some free time at your disposal for lunch. Spend the afternoon visiting the wonderful city of Otranto at your pace. Over the centuries, the city has been invaded by an impressive number of populations, amongst the others we can find traces of Greek, Roman and Turkish cultures. Wander around the old quarters to see how these cultures have blended together. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Cathedral where the bones of 813 martyrs are displayed in a glass case behind the altar. See its marvelous mosaic floor which rivals the well-known mosaics of Ravenna in its richness and significance. In the early evening, reach Supersano where you will have dinner at the “Masseria le Stanzìe”. Visit this ancient farm, learn about the history and culture of Puglia. See how homemade pasta is made and visit the medieval tombs that are part of the farm. Dinner with typical meals and products from the region. In the night, travel back to Lecce. Overnight Lecce. B,D
DAY 6: LECCE
Enjoy one final breakfast at the hotel. End of our services. Opportunity to add a private transfer to Brindisi or Bari, check our transfers confidential tariff, and ask to our booking department. B
Pre/Post tour accommodation in Rome.
Transfers Rome to Bari and Lecce to Rome.
5 day Sicily package.
MAIN TOUR INCLUDES:
Hotels: Centrally located 3-4 star hotels
Meals as per final itinerary: B = buffet breakfast, D = dinners.
- Cost $3,740 per person twin share. Single Supplement + $995. Tours commence Rome on select Sundays April to September.