The Salento area of Puglia is one of dramatic natural beauty. Rocky cliffs leading down to the Sea, a dry climate and brick red soil which would seem inhospitable to any vegetation but which is the earth where olive trees grow to the size of large oaks.

The colors of this spectacular region are the red of the soil, the bright reds and pinks of bouganvilleas and oleanders. A surprisingly fertile landscape which will impress you with its rugged beauty.

Your itinerary begins in the city of Lecce. The local sandstone, tinged a warm pink, is so easy to work with that it fostered the rise of a local style (barocco leccese) as ornate and intricate as any the world has seen. More than the architects, it was the local stone masons who left their mark on this city, crowding its buildings with fanciful cherubs, monsters, flowers, fruits, beauties and beasts. The private courtyards of the townhouses dotted throughout the city contain hidden jewels of unexpected vegetation. Bright flowering shrubs, water features and exotic tropical trees. You will be invited to visit the most important of these homes and be greeted by the owners. Half an hour from Lecce we find the Botanic Garden La Cutura. This fabulous botanic garden offers the visitor every imaginable garden style from the greenhouse containing cacti to the rose garde, the secret garden, the rock garden, the herbal garden, the classic Italian style garden and the Mediterranean garden with its forest of evergreen oaks. After La Cutura you will move to the beautiful and dramatic coast where you will visit a villa and gardens built in the Moorish style at the end of the 1800’s. Back in the countryside your last visit will be to a Villa whose splendid gardens were designed by the famous Italian landscape architect Pietro Porcinai in the 1970’s. These magnificent gardens were designed to recall those of the patrician villas of the Veneto region but with the dramatic plantings of the South.