We will meet up in Bari airport & transfer our belongings to the first accommodation in Trani. After a casual lunch & some time to rest, we will explore Bari together with a guide.
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 trail gets narrower and the woods thicken. Lying down on the beach of polished pebbles at Vignanotica will feel especially good after the trek. Depending on the season swimming is a possibility.
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 E 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.
In Gravina di Puglia, garden of delights according to Frederick II, after an aperitif to taste the Gravina special cheese and local wines we are served lunch in a trattoria overlooking the gravina (ravines) dug by the stream-cut erosion, from which the city derives its name and its definition of 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 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.
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 accommodation a” Masseria” in the heart of Salento, the southern part of Puglia. To break the 3 hours trip, along the way we will stop in Grottaglie for a visit that will amaze you (let it be a surprise!) and then have lunch and a wine tasting at yet another masseria to be introduced to the Primitivo, the world wide known native grape variety. After check-in, a walk among his vineyards and a visit to their 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 - 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. Night in Lecce
Day 6 - GROTTAGLIE, MANDURIA AND 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.
After breakfast departure for Ostuni, also called the white city, in reason of its white washed 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. A farm style dinner will be the most suitable conclusion of the day.
Day 8 - LOCOROTONDO, ALBEROBELLO AND 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 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. Before departing for Bari we will stop in Noci for a wine tasting at one of the best producers of Sussumaniello wine. Check-in at our last hotel in the centre of the old town, supper and night and end of the tour. Night in Bari
Wake up in Bari and transfer to the airport