Day 1: Bari
Meeting at Bari airport and transfer to our first accommodation in Trani - check-in and lunch; rest time then guided tour of the town. Supper at hotel restaurant or restaurant close to the harbor. (mareresort)
Day 2: Gargano
We first drive north toward the Gargano peninsula. We stop in Mattinata then can walk the last three kilometers of the 4 beaches trail which is pleasantly easy, unfolding along a flat dirt path above cliffs, immersed among olive trees and Aleppo pines. As you get close to your final destination, the bay of Vignanotica, the trail gets narrower, and the woods thicken. Lying down on the beach of polished pebbles at Vignanotica will feel especially good after the walk. (those who do not want to walk can be taken by van close to the beach)
We have a pic-nic lunch on the beach. On the way back we make a detour to visit Monte St Angelo, a small town with an imposing castle and a monastery that still attract many pilgrims. Before returning to our hotel, we have a wine tasting of local wines at a nice winery Back at our hotel for a supper with pairing wines at a local restaurant
Day 3: Castel del Monte - Matera
Today we are off to Matera, but first we will head for Unesco Site Castel del Monte, a fortress built in XIII century by Frederick II of Swaebia, Holy Roman Emperor. He was so profoundly fond of this region that he built here some of his most imposing palaces, among which Castel del Monte, with its octangular shape, is a unique masterpiece.
we will stop for lunch in Altamura where we visit an historical “panificio” that makes the famous Altamura bread. After lunch, we will continue to Matera and its “Sassi”, so unchanged through centuries that it was no effort for Mel Gibson to choose them as perfect set for his “Passion of Christ”. After check-in at your hotel, a short walk will take us to the FAI house where a very interesting short movie will explain the origin and the history of this special town. Supper in a nearby restaurant.
Day 4: Full day in Matera
After breakfast we will meet our guide Francesco who will help us discover this amazing city. Enjoy some free time for shopping and free lunch. We will then head for our next destination: Lecce where we will be hosted in a very special and beautiful place.
Day 5: Lecce, cooking and history
A stunning Baroque and rich in human talents city! Breakfast then departure for Lecce, 30 minutes away, renowned for the breath-taking Baroque churches and palazzi that enrich its centre and outline its rivalry with Florence as the Italian highest expression of this style. Leccese Baroque stands as unique due to the peculiar local stone used, the color of which varies from white to straw yellow and gives a sort of structural balance to the centre as a whole. After a visit to a local artist workshop where we will learn the secrets of one of the oldest traditions of Lecce the “papier maché”, we will meet Gianna to assist and take an active part in a demo of how Mozzarella and Burrata are made; we will be able to taste the results accompanied by a choice of local salamis and cold cuts. After lunch we will take the time to stroll along the lively streets which are studded with workshops and ateliers where skilled artisans and gifted artists convey in their works ancient knowledge and personal cleverness before returning to Gianna’s for a hands-on cooking class. We will then taste what we cooked for our supper and end the day with a lively demonstration of the “Pizzica” the traditional dance of the women. (The order of the events may be changed according to available space and opening hours). Same hotel
Day 6: Grottaglie - Manduria - Locorotondo
Handicraft and Primitivo wine. Breakfast and departure for Grottaglie, delightful little town the origins of which go back to the age when Greeks settled in Southern Italy, between VIII and V century BC. Our walking tour will take us to one of the ateliers to admire the skills and the creativity of its owner who will open for us the gates to his secret garden. This is a very special place and we want it to be a surprise. Lunch will be in Cisternino, the first of the « white cities » that we will visit in the next days. Having lunch here is fun because you first enter a butcher shop, choose your piece of meat and they will cook it for you. After lunch, our destination will be a Masseria near Ostuni where we will relax, before having dinner on the premises.
Day 7: Ostuni and Cisternino
After Breakfast, departure for Ostuni, also called the white city, in reason of its whitewashed houses that remind us the role of the region, stretched out in the Mediterranean between East and West, separating and connecting at the same time Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa. We will have lunch in the centre followed by an ice-cream tasting then enjoy some free time in this beautiful city. Before returning to our Masseria for some relaxing time before heading for a tiny trattoria they serves incredibly good food.
Day 8: Locorotondo - Alberobello - Noci
After Breakfast our last day in Puglia will start heading for Alberobello and its “trulli”, ancient conical dwellings made with local stones set on top of another without the use of mortar. A guided visit with a local will allow us to enter some of these private dwellings and enjoy lunch in one of them. On the way back we will stop in Locorotondo, a less crowded village with some free time for shopping. enjoy some free time for the last shopping. Check-in at our last hotel in the centre of Bari old town, supper and night and end of the tour.