Discover the best sites of Puglia and taste their leading wines. Our Puglia itinerary takes us from the rugged and mystical Gargano Peninsula to the sun-kissed Salento. We’ve crafted our journey to include a selection of Puglian food, wine and olive oil tastings with cooking classes, sightseeing, artisan workshop visits and free time in many of Puglia’s most iconic small towns and cities. Visits include Trani, Vieste, Monte Sant’Angelo, Gravina in Puglia, Matera (Basilicata), Lecce, Grottaglie, Cisternino, Ostuni, Alberobello, Locorotondo and Noci. To soak in the magic that Puglia has to offer we’ll be staying in charming properties that include a restored palazzo with harbor views, the ancient caves of Matera, a wine estate in Manduria and a fortified Masseria surrounded by centuries-old olive groves with views toward the sea.
Day 1 - 26 April 2019
MEETING IN 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 on the harbor.
Day 2 - 27 April 2019
GARGANO, VIESTE AND WINE
We first drive north toward Vieste. 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 trails gets narrower and the woods thicken. A little rest on the beach of polished pebbles at Vignanotica will feel especially good after the trek.
We have a picnic lunch on the beach, then proceed to Vieste where we have some free time to explore the town. 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 attracts many pilgrims. Back at our hotel for a supper with pairing wines at a local restaurant
Day 3 - 28 April 2019
MATERA & CASTEL DEL MONTE
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 some of his most imposing palaces here, among which Castel del Monte, with its octagonal shape, is a unique masterpiece.
In Gravina di Puglia, garden of delights according to Frederick II, after an aperitif to taste the Gravina's special cheese, we are served lunch in a trattoria overlooking the gravine – ravines dug by the stream-cut erosion, from which the city derives its name and its definition as 'the city of water and stones'. 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 the filming of his movie “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 29 - 4 April 2019
SALENTO AND 'THE PRIMITIVO'
After breakfast we will meet our guide Francesco who will help us discover this amazing city. Enjoy some free time for shopping and lunch. We will then head for our next accommodation a Masseria in the heart of Salento, the southern part of Puglia. Its owner will be delighted to show us around his vineyards and to introduce us to the primitivo, the world wide known native grape variety. We will also visit a very ancient underground oil mill and taste olive oil from century old olive trees. After an entertaining and informative chat about “terroir” and methods of production, wine and food will be professionally paired during our dinner on the premises.
Day 5 - 30 April 2019
LECCE AND COOKING CLASS
Breakfast then departure for Lecce, a stunning Baroque city, renowned for the breath-taking 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 demonstration 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.
Day 6 - 1 May 2019
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 the gates to his secret garden just for us. 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 - 2 May 2019
OSTUNI AND CISTERNINO
After Breakfast departure for Ostuni, also called the white city, due to its white washed houses that remind us of 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. A farm style dinner will be the most suitable conclusion of a day entirely dedicated to the pleasures of the table.
Day 8 - 2 May 2019
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. At lunchtime, accordingly to the season and availability, we will experience the simple, most typical dish of southern cuisine a pizza in Locorotondo then enjoy some free time for the last shopping. We will finally depart for Bari. Check-in at our last hotel in the centre of the old town, supper and night and end of the tour.