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Puglia – A local Experience

From £2253 pp

Italy, Puglia

7 nights

private group up to 8

Puglia – A local Experience

(1)

What You'll Do

Enjoy all of the adventures Puglia has to offer with experiences ranging from walking along the stunning coastline to making fresh pasta in a farmhouse.

Puglia – land of sun and sea. Endless countryside scattered with centuries old olive trees, baroque cities and white washed towns. Bursting with local tradition, the ultimate food lovers’ paradise!

You’ll be amazed by the extraordinary history and art of this part of Southern italy, the heel of Italy’s boot, by the vast picturesque landscape and by superb food and wines.

Stay in  a cave hotel in breathtaking Matera, experience a private cooking class,  visit a local vineyard and olive oil producer, get stuck in with local traditions, cycle through the open countryside and hike along the beautiful Mediterranean coast.

Experience
Highlights

Enjoy authentic experiences and follow unbeaten paths

Indulge in delicious food and superb wines with local wine tasting

Learn the art of fresh pasta in your own Private cooking class

Cycle through Olive groves

Experience Polignano from the water

Your Local Host:

Augusto

Augusto was born and raised in Puglia, sunny South of Italy. After graduating in accountancy, he specialised in International Trade and that was his first approach with foreign people. The experience
proved to be a revelation: realising that he could find a way to sustain a new lifestyle, he qualified as Technical Director of Travel Agency in Bari, where he began working in tourism.

Experience Itinerary

Arrival

Arrival at Bari or Brindisi airport and transfer to your cave hotel in Matera.

One of the most magical and unusual experiences to be had in Italy is staying in a cave hotel in the Unesco protected city of Matera. Here former cave dwellings are suspended  in grottos overlooking the spectacular ravine. There is a monastic simplicity:  you won’t find televisions, or minibars, often no upholstery, rugs or curtains, and – best of all – no plastic! Instead, candles and lanterns, the occasional weathered cupboard and rustic wooden tables retain the original magical spirit of the place.

You’ll be welcomed with a drink and your first dinner will be in a traditional trattoria.

Overnight in Matera

Amazing Matera

Matera is an astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Site: its original settlement lies in two canyons carved by the Gravina River.

 The two Sassi (“stones”) districts are built on natural caves that formed and ancient troglodyte settlement have been excavated and extended throughout history. A warren of pale limestone churches, monasteries, palaces and houses rises above the caves, and balance on the edge of the ravine. It is a breathtaking scene like no other.

Because of Matera’s unearthly, ancient beauty many film makers have chosen it as the setting for their films, and Mel Gibson chose it as the setting for his 2004 The Passion of the Christ. 

Your host today is an knowledgable, passionate local guide, a true lover of Matera,  and an engaging storyteller.

Lunch at your leisure.

Take some breath-taking pictures of the city from Murgia Materana Park and explore this amazing site with a stroll through the warren of pale limestone churches, monasteries, palaces and houses.

Transfer to your next accommodation, a stunning Masseria set in the central part of the region. Check-in and enjoy an evening of leisure

Overnight in Monopoli/Fasano.

Try street food in Bari, Swim at the Cliffs of Polignano a Mare & Traditional Cooking Class

This morning we will take you on a walking tour of Bari, Puglia’s prosperous seaside capital,  where tangled streets and the charming old town reveal Romanesque churches, the riotous market and  elegant medieval piazzas. We will see the beautiful Basilica of St Nicholas,  father of the legend of Santa Claus; the seaside promenade and bustling pedestrian shopping area. 

We’ll finally experience the whole range of the local street food – panzerotti and focaccia and a tasting of raw seafood at the fish market!

Next we’ll drive to Polignano a Mare for a guided walk to admire the impressive panorama from seaside terraces overhanging the magnificent limestone rocks, an unparalleled views over the blue-green Adriatic, and why not indulging yourself with a quintessential apuglian gelato or granita, pride of the locals. 

Then experience Polignano from the water as we will sail around the shore line and its caves. After a dip in the Adriatic Sea and a drink on board, you’re off for a cooking class in which you’ll learn how to make fresh pasta in a charming 1600’s masseria (farmhouse) immersed in a wonderful expanse of olive trees. And your delicious dinner today will be based on your efforts!

Overnight in Monopoli/Fasano.

Cycling the Itria Valley, The White City & Olive Groves

After a thorough bike fit, it’s time to explore Puglia on two wheels!  Your ride begins with a lovely climb into the chic and beautiful hilltop town of Cisternino, where you will enjoy sweeping views of the Itria Valley.  You will have time for a coffee or gelato to recharge your batteries before continuing along the ridge of the Murgia plateau to Ostuni, a stunning white citadel with breathtaking sea views. After lunch on your own, we’ll visit a fascinating olive oil estate to learn some valuable facts on the medieval peasant culture by walking through the thousand year old olive groves. The Puglia region has over 50 million olive trees and is the number one producer of extra-virgin olive oil in Italy and the biggest single production region in the world. Then it’s back on the bike to return to your hotel for a relaxing evening and dinner.  

Overnight in Monopoli/Fasano.

Cheese-making, Seaside Towns, Winery, Trullo County & “fornello” dinner

Today head toward a cheese factory for a live demonstration of mozzarella and burrata making and tasting of the produce. 

Your day continues with a  sightseeing  by ‘ape calessino,’ brimming with personality and Italian style, this eco vehicle’s compact size makes it easy to use on narrow roads and around tight street corners, perfect for  Monopoli, a lively seaside town retaining the charm of a medieval village, with beautiful architecture, traditions, spirituality and folklore.

We will then take a scenic drive through the gentle hills, to reach a renowned winery and taste a selection of the best local wines, paired with traditional local snacks, right before reaching Alberobello, the World Heritage Site of fairy-tale trulli, traditional dry stone huts with conical roof, typical of this area. Time for browsing the town, and to see the traditional olive tree cooking tools, hand made linen and good-luck terracotta whistles!

Your final destination for tonight’s dinner is Cisternino, the town famous for its barbecuing butchers! All you have to do is choose your meat – maybe the local specialty, bombette, little meat parcels filled with mince, ham and cheese – and take a seat outside with a carafe of local wine. The butcher will then barbecue your chosen meats and bring them out to you when ready. A truly local (and delicious) eating experience before returning to your hotel.

Overnight in Monopoli/Fasano.

Ceramics in Grottaglie & Baroque Lecce

After check-out, this morning we’re headed to Grottaglie, the “city of ceramics” as it’s called because of the large number of traditional and artisanal pottery laboratories scattered in this medieval town. Step inside one atelier and take an inspiring tour of a local artist’s work before sitting down to a masterclass with the owner himself to create a ceramic work of art to take home!

We then travel south for a guided visit of Lecce, commonly nicknamed “The Florence of the South” because of its countless beautiful Baroque buildings, its lovely centro storico (historic centre) and Roman ruins.

Check-in at your hotel located in the heart of this lovely town, the rest of the day stroll at your leisure.

Lecce is for experiencing—for wandering the narrow streets of golden sandstone, for finding hidden piazzas, for lazy lunches in wine bars  and a views of an extravagantly carved baroque church. Treat yourself to local delicacies like puccia (flat bread filled with your choice of salami and everything else!) and pasticciotto (sweet pastry filled with lemon custard). 

It is a gorgeous town, and despite the historic centre’s small size, there is plenty to discover. Traffic is limited in the centre so it’s a pleasure to wander.

Puglia is wonderfully vegetarian-friendly (although fish and meat lovers will find plenty on offer too).

Try one of the many trattoria or restaurants for generous vegetable antipasti and hearty plates of pasta, topped off with a gelato and a stroll along the beautifully lit streets

Overnight in Lecce. 

Hiking in Salento & Gems of Salento

This morning travel to the stunning seaside town of Otranto known as the ‘jewel of Salento’  for your hiking adventure. Set out on a guided walk along the coastal paths of the Nature Park from Otranto to Leuca with stunning panoramic views  across the Adriatic Sea.

Your guide will visit the Aragonese Castle and the Cathedral, consecrated in 1088, which hosts an astonishing mosaic floor known as the “Tree of Life” depicting images from religions around the world. Skulls, bones, and relics of the Martyrs of Otranto, who perished in the 15th century siege surround the high altar. 

On the way back we will make a stop in stunning Galatina to explore the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria  where you’ll see frescoes depicting biblical stories, including the life and passion of  Christ .

We’ll stop for a well deserved coffee and try one of the famous pastries  “pasticiotto leccese” before continuing on our scenic walk.

Overnight in Lecce. 

Departure

Breakfast followed by a farewell meeting and transfer to Bari/Brindisi airport

Reviews (1)

Andre

Monday 19th August, 2019

Our experience with Augusto was such that we would absolutely book with them again if we were to visit Puglia in the future. Both Mimmo and Augusto were very attentive to us and we couldn't have asked for a single thing more. Plus, we had a chance to...

Our experience with Augusto was such that we would absolutely book with them again if we were to visit Puglia in the future. Both Mimmo and Augusto were very attentive to us and we couldn't have asked for a single thing more. Plus, we had a chance to eat some of the best food we've ever had, at places we wouldn't have known about that aren't necessarily advertised online. One of the best things about this organization was that they were able to customize and adapt our experience based on what we wanted to do, essentially day by day. As well, they had arranged back up plans for us in case of weather, which turned out to be necessary, and a fantastic experience as well. In short, working with this host was possibly the best decision we made when we visited Italy.

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Location Information

  • Transfers in bus or minibus from/to Bari and/or Brindisi airport
  • Private bus or mini bus available throughout the tour
  • 7 lodgings in b&b service 4-5 star hotels
  • Typical "fornello" dinner beverages included
  • Private cooking class with dinner
  • Food and wine tasting in wineries and food manufacturing sites
  • Private boat excursion
  • All luggage transfers
  • 8 days with professional, local guides with knowledge of the secrets and stories of the region