A 7-day tour of the highlights of Apulia.
Welcome to Italy! At the airport, you will meet your private English-speaking driver who will accompany you to your centrally located hotel in Matera.
Matera is a city in the region of Basilicata, in Southern Italy. The town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina. Known as la città sotterranea ("the underground city"), its historical centre "Sassi", along with the park of the Rupestrian Churches, was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO since 1993.
Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the "Sassi di Matera". The Sassi originated in a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, and these dwellings are thought to be among the first-ever human settlements in what is now Italy.
The Sassi are habitations dug into the calcareous rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Apulia. Many of them are really little more than small caverns, and in some parts of the Sassi a street lies on top of another group of dwellings.
The ancient town grew up on one slope of the rocky ravine created by a river that is now a small stream, and this ravine is known locally as "la Gravina". In the 1950s, as part of a policy to clear the extreme poverty of the Sassi, the government of Italy used force to relocate most of the population of the Sassi to new public housing in the developing modern city.
Until the late 1980s, the Sassi was still considered an area of poverty, since its dwellings were, and in most cases still are, uninhabitable and dangerous.
The present local administration, however, has become more tourism-orientated, and it has promoted the regeneration of the Sassi as a picturesque touristic attraction with the aid of the Italian government, UNESCO, and Hollywood. Today there are many thriving businesses, pubs and hotels there, and the city is amongst the fastest growing in southern Italy.
Today, after breakfast, you will meet your private English speaking driver who will accompany you to your accommodation in Monopoli.
A seaside village on the Adriatic, which has retained the charm due to its history and its traditions, the town of Monopoli, in the heart of Apulia, in the province of Bari, an area that extends from the sea to the hills, with numerous coves and long sandy beaches.
Founded on the sea, from the sea has always had its greatest wealth, along with that of the hinterland, between districts and farms, with ancient olive trees and agriculture of excellence: Monopoli, with its whitewashed houses, churches, palaces of the eighteenth century or of the Murattian period, it also shows here and their medieval fortifications.
And then there are its beaches and crystal clear waters, in a wonderful climate, and its people, hospitable and warm, that makes the traveler feel like a home.
Enjoy your time at leisure to explore your new surroundings.
Today, after breakfast you will have the morning free to walk or relax but in the afternoon a visit to the local village of Polignano and its wonders awaits you!
Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Polignano a Mare is the ideal place to plunge into uncontaminated waters and explore a picturesque historic centre by the sea. Crystal clear waters and cliffs pitted with caves carved by the sea give Polignano a Mare its uniqueness.
Poligano is the birthplace of the renowned singer Domenico Modugno, who became famous for his song Nel blu dipinto di blu (“In the Sky, Painted Blue”). The fascinating historical centre reveals traces of its Arab, Byzantine, Spanish and Norman past, including the remains of the four watchtowers that once guarded the ancient town.
You will head through the Arco della Porta (the Door Arch), once the town's only entrance, and you'll find yourself in the magical centre, home to the 13th-century Mother Church dedicated to the Assumption. Another must-see is the town’s former slaughterhouse, which has been renovated and today houses the Pino Pascali Museum Foundation and its collection of works by Puglia's renowned artist and sculptor.
The high cliffs and jagged coastline between Palazzese Cave and Lama Monachile, make Polignano's shoreline one of Puglia's most beautiful coastal stretches, peppered with hidden inlets and charming sandy bays. Walk along the promenade of this charming village and get ready for an unforgettable culinary experience!
For dinner, you will go to the Grotta Palazzese restaurant! It is internationally renowned, as evidenced by the many reviews on the most important magazines and blogs around the world. It has an outdoor lounge, set in a unique place in the world. In fact, the terrace that welcomes guests has been created within a natural cave, the "Grotta Palazzese" (or "di Palazzo", as it was once called), from which it takes its name, a place known and used for parties and banquets since 1700.
Famous, to regard, it is the watercolor of Jean Louis Desprez of 1783. The terrace is in a place that, although outdoors, is sheltered from the vault of the cave.
On one side it overlooks the sea, with a splendid view of the coastal landscape and the marine horizon; on the other, towards the larger cave, the cave itself being composed of two caves of different sizes. The entire terrace also includes an area with more reserved seats.
After breakfast at the hotel, a wonderful day awaits you to discover this beautiful place.
In Apuglia there is a portion of territory, known as the "plain of the olive trees", where the concentration of ancient olive trees is very high, with plants that could have an estimated age of up to 3,000 years, dating back to the ancient Messapians.
You will visit this great heritage that characterizes the landscape of the Apulian territory thanks to a walking tour where you will admire some majestic giant olive trees Among the millennial olive trees you will have the impression of getting lost in an enchanted world. Plants that tell the story of ancient Rome and the Messapians who inhabited these lands and who probably first knew the pleasures and benefits of olive oil.
After this walk you will have lunch in a local masseria where you will taste some typical Pugliese dishes and finally you will go to the caves of Castellana.
The beauty of these caves attracts visitors from all over the world. The visit to the caves runs along a 3 km trail, an extraordinary guided excursion, about 70 meters deep, in an astonishing scenario, where caves with fantastic names, canyons, deep abysses, fossils, stalactites, stalagmites, concretions from the shapes incredible and surprising colors estimate the imagination of children and adults.
After breakfast, you will meet your private driver who will take you to the discovery of Lecce.
Lecce is considered one of the jewels of Puglia, is rich in history and world-class sights and a private walking tour is the perfect way to get up close and personal and immerse yourself in the city’s atmosphere.
The discovery of Lecce starts from the beginning pre-Roman and Roman, to the great period of the Baroque, a walk to the historic center that will take you to discover the wonders of Lecce, one of the most beautiful cities of southern Italy.
You will start from Porta Napoli to Piazza Duomo (Cathedral, Bell Tower, Bishop's Seminar), the baroque heart of Lecce. You will admire the ruins of the city’s Roman–era amphitheater and you will see the baroque splendors of the Piazza del Duomo
You will continue to walk to the Church of St. Irene, Sant'Oronzo square, where you can see the ruins of the Roman amphitheater, the church of San Marco and the Sedile.
Walking through the streets of the old town, we will visit the Church of Santa Chiara and Roman Theatre, other important particulars of the story of Lecce.
And finally, you will see the Basilica of Santa Croce, a jewel of Lecce Baroque and Celestine Convent.
Today, after breakfast awaits you an Italian culinary experience, learning how to make bread in Puglia
Would you like to discover the recipe for making bread? Here in Puglia, we are real specialists in doing it at home because bread is always on our tables. We know the secrets to dose the ingredients, to prepare the dough, the times and conditions for a right leavening and those for its cooking.
At your cooking class, you will learn how to prepare easily and quickly the excellent Pugliese bread. We are sure that you will amaze your guests when you will prepare it at home! The experience will take place within the walls of an ancient Apulian farmhouse where you can use an authentic wood-burning oven to cook it.
After the lesson, you can delight your palate with a rich-tasting of dairy products, local salami such as the famous Capocollo di Martina Franca, of wood-fired oven products of the farm, all accompanied with Apulian wine.
The tasting of typical products, on request, can be replaced by a complete menu; prepared with the products of the organic garden from the restaurant of the farm.
After breakfast at your hotel it's time to check out and say “Arrivederci” to Italy! Your English-speaking driver will accompany you to Bari airport in time for you to meet your onward flight. We are sure you will have enjoyed your “Taste of Apulia” and we sincerely hope to see you again soon for another delicious experience!