Join me in an intimate group of no more than 12 - 14 people as we explore together this land of transparent waters that Crusaders once sailed from, a land of olive groves some which have been alive for more than two thousand years. Puglia is a land of fairytale trulli and hilltops ridged by white cities like Ostuni. We will visit Matera, Europe's 2019 Capital of Culture this year, just across the border in Basilicata. Taste the burrata cheese. Tear off a piece of Altamura’s famous bread. Drink the Primitivo wine. Learn to make Puglia’s orecchiette pasta. Join in an amazing procession in honor of the Blessed Mary, celebrating the 17th century battle of Lepanto.
- Walk Bari’s Old City – The capital of the region of Puglia is the home of Ol’ St. Nick.
- The Castello del Monte, whose unique medieval 8-sided structure is mysterious and mystical.
- The 150,000 year old Altamura Man from neolithic times will make our acquaintance.
- A demonstration of how Italy’s only DOP “protected” bread is made and enjoy breaking off a piece to eat.
- Polignano a Mare which hangs on the cliffs at the water’s crystalline edge. It is the birthplace of the songwriter who wrote “Volare."
- Alberobello - the capital of “Trulli Land” - those unique white, cone-shaped homes that have become a UNESCO World Heritage sight.
- Matera, this year’s 20129 Capital of European Culture - and one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements since the Paleolithic period.
- Locorotondo, identified as “one of the most beautiful villages in Italy."
- The sparkling white-walled medieval city of Ostuni, that shines bright and welcoming to sailors at sea.
- A masseria where we will learn the art of making orecchiette, Puglia’s signature pasta.
- A religious procession to Our Lady of the Rosary commemorating the Battle of Lepanto over the Turks in 1571 in the little town of Guagnano.
- Lecce, the “Florence of the South” - a jewel of Baroque churches and palaces.
- Otranto where you’ll appreciate the Cathedral’s incomparable “Tree of Live” mosaic floor.
- Santa Maria in Leuca - the very tip of Italy’s heel where we will board a boat to enjoy the caves and swim in its pristine water.
- Gallipoli - meaning “Beautiful City” in Greek with its massive fortifications.
- Manduria, a region where we will enjoy a tasting of Puglia's Primitivo wine.
The Day before the tour | Monday, September 30
Our group will meet the night before the tour officially begins to enjoy a welcome drink and walk on Bari's lovely seaside promenade.
Day One | Tuesday, October 1
Day One – And we’re off! We'll take to the streets this morning to walk Old
Town Bari. It is here along these narrow intimate streets that you will see women making Puglia’s typical pasta “orecchiette “ meaning ‘little ears”.
It’s also in Bari, where the relics of St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas can be found in the Basilica San Nicola.
After lunch, we head inland to visit the 13th century medieval castle built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, now a World Heritage site.
Its unique octagonal shape shrouds it in mystery as to its intended use. The structure is so popular that it is featured on the one euro coin.
Day Two | Wednesday, October 2
The most complete 150,000 year old Neanderthal skeleton was found in Puglia in 1993 just outside of Altamura and we are going to learn all about him.
In all of Italy, Altamura is famous for its bread. It is the only bread in all of Europe whose origins are protected due to its taste and shape and long
lasting freshness. We will enjoy a demonstration and tasting of the “Pane di Altamura” - Altamura Bread in the historic center of Altamura.
The afternoon we visit Polignano a Mare, a characteristic seaside town
filled with fishing boats and beautiful transparent waters. It's where the song
writer, Domenico Modugno, of the world famous song "Volare" was born.
Day Four | Friday, October 4
The 2019 Capital of European Culture Matera in the neighboring
region of Basilicata is our destination today. Used as Mel Gibson’s “Jerusalem”
in The Passion, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 for being one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements since the Paleolithic period.
We will visit the Sassi, multi-level cave dwellings where people once
lived even up until the 1950s without electricity, sewer or running water - a plight that was brought to the world's attention by Carlo Levi in his book, Christ Stopped at Eboli, spotlighting the misery and poverty of the South of Italy.
We will also appreciate the medieval frescoed churches built into the rock face of the caves surrounding the town.
Day Five | Saturday, October 5
Locorotondo and a stroll among the olive trees.
Locorotondo has been identified as "one of the most beautiful villages in Italy" and this lovely "borgo" is where we will spend the morning leisurely exploring its quaint winding alleys and visiting its beautiful artisanal shops.
alleys of this “colorful” town.
The afternoon will be spent visiting a masseria to walk in the shade of the olive groves and learn about the ancient tradition of making olive oil.
Day Six | Sunday, October 6
Ostuni - Orecchiette - A 300 Yr Old Procession
Ostuni is a sparkling white-walled medieval city high on a hill, which can be seen far away from the sea. We will enjoy the morning exploring the
winding streets of this “colorful” town, appreciating the far-reaching views from the very top, where its famous rosetta-windowed Cathedral is located.
The afternoon will be spent visiting a masseria in the surrounding valley and learn to make Puglia's signature pasta - orecchiette (little ears).
In the evening we will participate in a procession in Guagnano to honor the Madonna of the Rosary, called upon by the faithful to intercede and win in the Battle of Lepanto over the Turks in 1571.
Day Seven | Monday, October 7
Lecce - The Florence of the South
The cream-colored buildings of Lecce invite you to enjoy the golden, baroque architecture of its palaces and churches. We will enjoy the
traditional evening stroll – la passeggiata – Lecce’s residents take as this city will be our base for the next several nights.
The day is free for you to get to know Lecce on a personal basis.
Day Eight | Tuesday, October 8
The End of the Territory
Otranto, Italy’s easternmost city and Roman and medieval gate to the Holy Lands is our destination. King Arthur is one of the enigmatic figures we will
see in the Cathedral’s incomparable Tree of Life mosaic floor.
The afternoon is spent in Santa Maria di Leuca, the tip of the heel of Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula. Previously named Leukos in Ancient Greek times meaning “Lit by the Sun", St. Peter disembarked here on his way to Rome.
There we will board a boat and sail the deeply colored waters where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet and spend the time exploring the caves and swimming and relaxing in its pristine waters.
Day Nine | Wednesday, October 9
We head west to Gallipoli, from the Greek-named “Beautiful City” on the Ionian Sea. The historic center is an island connected to the mainland by a bridge. Protected by massive fortifications, once the Mediterranean capital of lamp oil, whose product reached as far away as Moscow, its small alleyways
and seaside promenade with relax and regale you.
We stop for a Primitivo wine-tasting in Manduria in the afternoon.
Primitivo is one of the oldest DOC wines in Puglia. We will then head back
to Lecce to enjoy our last dinner together as a band of travelers.
Day Ten | Thursday, October 10
It's time to say "Goodbye!" from the Brinidisi airport but not before having one more of Puglia's famous "Pasticciotti" - cream-filled goodness on the inside and wonderfully crispy dough on the outside.
We've shared so many wonderful experiences together and made good friends along the way. Once you're back home, something will remind you of a place or time or person or food you've experienced in Puglia and you'll be transported back again, and of course, I'll be here too to remind you of the good times we've shared.
It's is truly my pleasure to share with you the joys of travel to "La Bell'Italia!"
October 1 - 10, 2019
Cost per person: $3300 (based on double occupancy) for 9 nights/10 days. Single supplement is $700. The price includes lodging, transportation, all admissions and tours, two wine-tastings, a cooking class, a boat excursion. All breakfasts, dinners but three and all lunches but three are included. I will provide special pre-tour information and preparation to deepen your appreciation of this unique area.
Not included: airfare, air transfers and gratuities.
Register by May 1, 2019 and you will receive a $200 discount.
Interested in joining? Get in touch to begin the process