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Exploring Italy’s Puglia Region

  • Destination: Europe, Italy
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Start: 10/03/2017
  • End: 10/11/2017
  • Price: $6195

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Apulia (also known as Puglia or Le Puglie), the spur of the Italian Boot, is an enchanting region that spreads lengthwise along the sea with marvelous beaches and the rocky, boulder-encrusted Riviera of Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca, where the calm and crystalline waters of the Ionian Sea mix with those of the intense and azure Adriatic. For history, Apulia offers a wide range of places that testify to the ancient origins of this land: from prehistory to Magna Graecia, from the Imperial Age to the Renaissance and the Baroque splendor of Lecce and of Salento. The trulli, for example those of Valle d’Itria, offer an evocative testimony to the rural past of the region. This is the “other side” of Italy and one you should not miss, even if you have not yet done some of the more traditional destinations. You will marvel at the beauty and sophistication in Apulia.
Start and End in Bari, Italy.

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Please click ( + ) signs by each day for detailed information.

Day 1

TUE OCT 3, 2017 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Bari, Italy. Most likely you will need to transit Rome (FCO); although, some flights are available through Munich, Zurich and Istanbul.
Day 2

WED OCT 4 • Bari | Masseria Torre Coccaro

bari-day2We will meet you upon arrival at Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport and transfer you to your 5-star “Masseria” a fortified country farmhouse ideally located in the heart of Puglia about an hour’s drive from the airport. Nestled on the tip of Italy’s boot, Puglia welcomes you with seaside delights, mouthwatering cuisine and entire cities resplendent in art, architecture and warm hospitality. Get your first taste of Puglia’s enticing cultural delights at our welcome dinner tonight.

Hotel:  Masseria Torre Coccaro
Meals: Dinner

Day 3

THU OCT 5 • Masseria Torre Coccaro (Putignano-Matera)

matera-day3Always happy to introduce travelers on a trip to Puglia, Italy to the delights of their region, the cheesemakers you will meet this morning in Putignano will reveal time-honored secrets of making Puglia’s famous mozzarella and burrata cheese during a tasting demonstration. Legend has it that the uniquely flavored cheese you’ll sample here imparts smiles on the faces of everyone who tastes these precious tidbits; so have your cameras at the ready to capture the spontaneous grins of your fellow travelers eating freshly made local cheese! Next, continue on to the town of Matera in Basilicata, home to a settlement of cave dwellings that dates back to Paleolithic times – and one that starred in Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, our local guide shares insights about Matera’s rock dwellings known as Sassi (for “stone”), which began as natural caves and grottoes, and over the centuries were adapted as homes. You’ll visit a typically furnished cave home, followed by lunch… in a cave restaurant of course! Back at your masseria, enjoy dinner on your own.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

FRI OCT 6 • Masseria Torre Coccaro (Alberobello, Cisternino & Locorotondo)

alborello-day4Regulated by an edict enforced by the Kingdom of Naples in the 15th century, mortarless buildings and home in the southern region of Puglia called trulli were constructed only of stone during that time, with many still standing distinctively intact today. Visit the “barnyard district” of Rione Aia Picola in the town of Alberobello, tightly packed with alleys lined by whitewashed trulli once inhabited by the farmers who built them. There no shops or cars here, lending to the authenticity of this unique experience on your trip to Puglia, Italy. Cisternino is the unofficial capital of the Itria Valley. An architectural jewel of historic medieval and Renaissance-era buildings, the town is resplendent with balconied white houses, designed with courtyards, arches and staircases and draped with flowers. Time at leisure here includes lunch on your own. May we suggest you dine like a local and order your midday meal at one of its fornelli pronti, meaning “ready ovens” that are an integral part of the butchers’ shops that line the streets. Continue on to Locorotondo, renowned as one of the most beautiful hilltop villages in Italy and well known for its wines and round historical center. Discover its charms, up close, on a guided walk.

Chin Chin! A barbecue-style dinner at the Beach Club marks your last night at your masseria (weather permitting).

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5

SAT OCT 7 • Masseria Torre Coccaro | Borgo Egnatia (via Castel del Monte)

castel-del-monte-day5Check-out. This morning, drive from your masseria to one of the best-preserved castles in southern Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Castel del Monte. This 13th-century citadel and castle stands atop a promontory in Adria, as well as on the back of Italy’s one cent Euro coin. A guided tour of this mountain fortress showcases its mullion windows, detailed sculptures, ingenious construction solutions and great halls, some 16 of them! Discoveries from centuries past whet your appetite for modern-day treasures like the wines we will sample during a tasting, tour and lunch at Tenuta Bocca di Lupo. The vineyard-studded, volcanic rich soils and temperate climate provide the perfect host for a number of locally produced vintages that are on offer here, with Anglianico, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fiano Pugliese, Moscato di Trani and Nero di Troia among them. Transfer to Fasano. Spend the afternoon at your resort, aptly recognized as one of the leading hotels of the world, or, as we can attest, the ultimate masseria. Built entirely from tufo, a local limestone, and cut by two skilled tufo masters, this resort is a natural stunner.

Dinner at hotel.

Hotel: Borgo Egnazia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

SUN OCT 8 • Borgo Egnatia (Ostuni)

ostuni-day6Departure to the stunning seaside city of Ostuni, renowned for its distinctive whitewashed homes. Prepare to maneuver the many charming levels of this city, evoking hints of the Middle Ages with every step – tour up and down lanes and staircases, and past arches, whitewashed houses, churches, a palace portal and a walled convent. Next, it’s on to a typical Apulian farmhouse for a tour of its grounds and ancient olive oil mill, followed by a mouthwatering lunch experience that is anything but typical.

Afternoon free at leisure. Dinner at hotel.

Hotel: Borgo Egnazia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

MON OCT 9 • Borgo Egnatia | Lecce

lecce-day8Check-out and transfer to Lecce. Upon arrival in Lecce guided orientation tour of the 300-year-old cobblestone streets of the city; pass Baroque monuments and architectural sites that give credence to its nickname as the “Florence of the South.”

Lunch at hotel (or at local restaurant in Lecce).

After lunch we will check you into your resort hotel, before we all enjoy a cooking class + dinner with chef Gianna.

Hotel: Risorgimento Resort 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

TUE OCT 10 • Lecce (Otranto & Galatina)

lecce-day7Begin the day in Lecce with a walk to the workshop of papier-mâché artist Claudio Riso for a demonstration of this colorful art. Transfer to Otranto for a visit of its wonderful Apulian Romanesque Cathedral with its famous floor mosaic of the XIIth century.

Lunch in a local masseria near Otranto. Next stop will be the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria in Galatina where you’ll see frescoes depicting biblical stories, including the life and passion of Christ and the martyrdom of Santa Caterina. Later, a guided tour of the Baroque Church of St. Paul reveals the church well that, according to local traditions, gushed with water – and tarante (tarantulas) – that had healing powers. Learn more about the legend and the present day ceremonies that still celebrate the tarante each year.

Back in Lecce, enjoy free time to explore as you wish and join us for our festive farewell dinner tonight at a private noble palazzo in Lecce with the entertainment of Salentinian music, folk music distinctive to southern Italy. Similar to the Tarantella, the traditional Salentinian musical style is called “pizzica-pizzica” and it turns around the frenzied rhythm of the tambourine… a wonderful way to celebrate the end of your Puglia adventure. 

Hotel: Risorgimento Resort 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

WED OCT 11 • Lecce | Bari Airport | USA

A Week In Puglia concludes with a transfer from Lecce to Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport.

Meals: Breakfast

Hotels

Masseria Torre Coccaro

5star

This luxury hotel is set in an ancient watchtower close to the beautiful coast of Puglia. Surrounded by olive groves, it features a large outdoor swimming pool, private white sandy beach area and an exclusive wellness centre that all guests can access for free. Relax in the heated indoor pool, Turkish bath and hot tub.

Borgo Egnatia

5star

Borgo Egnazia is like a breathing tale of Puglia, spoken by the ancient culture of the land and by the sheer beauty of its nonpareil architecture. You come and live your time here, and nature is powerful, peace is intense, harmony is full. It’s a place where you meet your self. It’s Borgo Egnazia: it’s nowhere else.

Hotel Risorgimento

5star

The Risorgimento Resort is an elegant historic dwelling, an Inn since the 15th century. Every detail makes your stay memorable and exclusive: the timeless charm of the historic architecture, the atmospheres of the contemporaneous design, the pleasant welcome, the sophisticated taste of Puglia cuisine and the intimate way of wellness living.

Rates & Facts

Per Person Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
11 to 14 travelers $6195 $7495
8 to 10 travelers $6895 $8195

Inclusions
  • 8 days/7 nights hotel accommodation with 3 nights at Masseria Torre Coccaro, 2 nights at Borgo Egnatia and 2 nights at Hotel Risorgimento in Lecce including daily buffet breakfast and city tax where applicable, plus 3 course set menu dinner with beverages as above described (Day 1, 3, 4 & 5)
  • Porterage in/out at all hotels
  • English speaking DDP guide t/out the program including his/her accommodation, meals and salary
  • Private de luxe transportation including all necessary bus permits/parking fees including driver’s accommodation and meals
  • All necessary admission fees to sites being visited such as Castel del Monte, Matera Casa Grotta and Church, Ostuni Cathedral
  • Guided visit and cheese tasting & demo at Farm House “Querceta” in Putignano (or similar) on Day 2
  • Lunch including beverages (½liter wine, ½ liter mineral water & coffee) as above described on Day 2, 4, 5, 6 & 7
  • Cooking Class and Dinner with beverages (½liter wine, ½ liter mineral water & coffee) with Chef Gianna’s in Lecce on Day 6
  • Farewell dinner with beverages (½liter wine, ½ liter mineral water & coffee) at Palazzo Morisco including typical musical folk Salento’s entertainment “Pizzica”

Remarks
Hotel rates are valid with a minimum of 8 paying guests. Hotels’ options have been confirmed as follows:

  • Masseria Torre Coccaro: July 29, 2016
  • Borgo Egnatia: June 13, 2016
  • Hotel Risorgimento: September 30, 2017