Day 1 Conversano (D)
Meet our Italian tour leader in Bari airport, transfer by private minibus to the enchanting village of Conversano, located just behind the coast between Bari and Brindisi, featuring a lively and well-preserved historic center .Accommodation will be at the 4 star hotel in the historic centre, the hotel features also a gourmet restaurant which offers terrace seating with panoramic views and specializes in fresh seafood and delicious regional cuisine. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 Matera & Altamura (B)
Pick up from the hotel. This morning we will travel early to the picturesque city of Matera in the Basilicata region where we will meet our local guide.
On the way to Matera we will stop at Altamura to discover the local and precious bread tradition. We will visit a place where the owners will show us the big oven, will give us some explanations. And we will have a tasting of that amazing bread.
Matera is a remote and timeless corner of Italy, now a bustling tourist destination, it remains one of Europe’s hidden gems. Known as “la Città Sotterranea” (the Subterranean City), Matera is well known for its historical center, the “Sassi di Matera” (meaning “stones of Matera”). The Sassi , a UNESCO World Heritage Site ,are houses dug into the calcareous rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Apulia. We will enjoy lunch on our own in one of Matera’s charming restaurants and we have time at leisure in the afternoon.
Transfer back to Conversano.
Day 3 The Itria Valley – Alberobello, Ostuni and Martina Franca, Apulian Wines (B, L, D)
Today our journey will take us to the Itria Valley with its enchanting landscapes and centuries old white trulli that feature conical roofs made of limestone slabs from the surrounding area.
meet your guide at the hotel then travel to the Itria valley.
We will first visit Alberobello, where nearly 1,000 trulli dwellings cluster the cobblestone streets. A UNESCO world heritage site since 1996, Alberobello is a picturesque architectural gem. In Alberobello we will meet our private guide for a walking tour of the neighborhoods of Aia Piccola and Rione Monti where we will find some of the oldest dwellings, still preserving the original features of construction.
The trulli are white dry-stone houses with conical roofs made of lapidary stones.
From Alberobello we will drive throughout the Itria Valley accompanied by our private guide. We will make stops in the charming and beautifully preserved villages of Martina Franca and Ostuni.
We will stop on the way for the visit of a flagship winery, wine tasting and light lunch.
Then we will visit Ostuni. The ancient town of Ostuni’s history dates back to 600 BC and it is certainly one of the most beautiful cities of Apulia. It is situated on the largest Murge (the hills of Apulia) offering stunning views of the countryside and the Adriatic that alone make the trip worthwhile. The white-washed houses have been painted for centuries with lime giving the town its nickname, “The White City.”
Then we will drive to Martina Franca. The Baroque Village of Martina Franca is well known for its marvelous historic center, for its Baroque architecture, including its stunning palaces. It’s a true jewel positioned on a hillside with a wonderful panoramic view of the Itria Valley.
Dinner will be in Martina Franca to discover the tradition of “fornello pronto” (butchers where you choose your own meat and they prepare it right there, just for you) at a local butcher.
From Martina Franca we transfer back to Conversano.
Day 4 Castel del Monte, Winery & Cooking class at the Masseria (B,L,D)
Today we will drive to Castel del Monte where we will meet our guide for a tour of the unique 13th century octagonal citadel and castle built by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Castel del Monte’s octagonal design is said to symbolize the transitional phase between Earth and the heavens.
Then we will drive to a flagship winery for a guided visit, wine tasting and a light lunch at the winery.
Then we move to the Masseria in Conversano where we will take part in a private hands-on cooking lesson led by two professional chefs.
There we will prepare typical Apulian dishes including panzerotti, doughnut stuffed with small tomatoes and ricotta forte; pasta with the local traditional pesto made with ricotta, almonds and baked tomatoes; vegetable quiche with gratin vegetables. We will enjoy dinner al fresco in the courtyard of the masseria. Following dinner we will transfer back to Conversano.
Day 5 Lecce and Salento Wines (B, D)
Today we will drive to the Salento area, a land rich in history and tradition and renowned for its natural and architectural beauty, its hospitality, its magical atmosphere, it’s delicious regional food, its warm sun, its crystalline sea, and its dreamlike coast.
On the way to Lecce, we will stop for the visit of a winery in Salice Salentino and wine tasting.
Salento was a land of conquest with the Romans, Greeks, the Byzantines and the Barbarian pirates, the Spaniards, the Turks, all having had dominance over the area and each having left their mark.
Far off the beaten track for most of Italy’s art-loving visitors, Lecce sits on the southeast tip of Italy’s boot, waiting to demonstrate its little-known magnificence. We will meet our private guide in Lecce, also known as the “The Florence of the South,” for a walking tour of the historic center rich in Baroque masterpieces.
In Lecce where we will have a guided walking tour and time at leisure. Then we will journey to our next accommodation: a 4 star Masseria in the countryside around Lecce. Surrounded by olive trees, the masseria offers a comfortable retreat with a relaxed ambiance where you can enjoy a true taste of Apulia. This evening we will enjoy a dinner hosted at the restaurant of the Masseria.
Day 6 Otranto, Specchia, Galatina & Salento Wines (B,L,D)
Our day begins with an excursion with our guide to the historically rich towns of Otranto and Specchia, some of the most beautiful sites of the Salento area. You will marvel at centuries-old olive groves, rich red-colored fields, and the many small Baroque villages so rich in art treasures.
Otranto, also called “The Door to the Orient,” is an ancient maritime city that sits on the eastern most point of Italy. Of Greek origin, and an important embarkation point to the East during Roman rule, Otranto offers its visitors interesting sites like the Cathedral, considered the largest church in Apulia, it was finished and opened to prayer in 1088. There we see one of the best preserved Christian-Byzantine floor mosaics in Italy. Otranto is also home to the Aragonese castle with its towers, bastions, and fortified walls.
Following our visit to Otranto we will drive through the enchanting Salento countryside and visit the charming village of Specchia, recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, where we will have lunch at a gourmet restaurant .
After lunch in Specchia we will drive to Galatina, one of Puglia’s many hidden gems, where we will visit the historic centre and the Basilica of Santa Caterina a rare example of gothic architecture in Salento and, with its wonderful frescoes, tells the story of the man in relation to his love for God.
On the way back to Lecce we will visit an excellent winery in Copertino ,based in a nice Masseria, for a tour, wine tasting and light dinner.
This winery is a reference point for the whole territory and the father of the current owners has been a consultant (winemaker) for many wineries in Puglia (and even in other regions of Southern Italy) contributing in rising the quality of the territory.
Day 7 Pasta, Gallipoli & Salento Wines (B,L,D)
This morning we will drive to two gourmet temples of Italian food and wine. First we will visit an ancient pastificio ( pasta factory) in Maglie where pasta is still prepared and dried according to ancient methods. Our next visit will be at another flagship winery, where we will have a private cellar tour and wine tasting and lunch.
Then we will drive to Gallipoli , an enchanting seaside village , where we will have dinner at a truly special restaurant owned by a winery producing some truly rare wines such as a niche DOC Apulian appellation and even a white wine from the local red grape Negroamaro, the restaurant is “young” and offers high quality food : we will have wine & food dinner with their wines.
Day 8 Primitivo di Manduria wine & Olive Oil (B,L,D)
This morning we will drive to Primitivo di Manduria wine area. We will first stop for a Wine tour at a superb winery for tasting. Then we will drive to another winery located in Gioia del Colle area, for tasting and light lunch.
In the afternoon we will visit an Olive oil producer, tasting of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and light dinner.
Transfer to the 4 star Exclusive Hotel close to Gioia del Colle.
Day 9 Departure
Check out and transfer to the Bari Airport.
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