Day Small Group Tours from Ostuni, Cisternino or Alberobello
Monday: Lecce and Gallipoli. Price 135 Euros including tickets to museums and coffee break.
While in Puglia you cannot miss a visit to Lecce, the baroque capital of the south and to Gallipoli, a quaint fishing village. Its name comes from ancient Greek “Kalle Polis” (beautiful city.) Visit the old town with its amazing maze of alleys, the Cathedral and an underground oil mill dating back to the 14th century. Optional lunch at fantastic fish restaurant Puritate in Gallipoli (45 Euros) and/or winetasting at Schola Sarmenti in Nardo' (20 Euros). After lunch we can stop for coffee at one of Gallipoli's amazing beach clubs. Departure at 9.00 am, back at 6.30 pm.
Tuesday: Salento Wineries. Price 155 Euros pp. including lunch at one of the wineries.
Visit two wineries in the Primitivo Negramaro area of Salice Salentino and taste their award winning wines and delicious food. For an extra 30 Euros, it's possible to add a third winery or spend one hour on the sandy beach of nearby Porto Cesareo, or add a quick tour of Lecce. Departure at 9.00 am, return at 4,30 pm.
Wednesday: Matera. Price 145 Euros pp. including entrance to museums.
A visit to the famous "Sassi" (cave dwellings) of Matera now a Unesco World Heritage Site allows you to step back in history. Matera is said to be one of the world's oldest towns. Your first glimpse of the "Sassi" district is sure to stay in your memory forever. Haunting and beautiful, the Sassi sprawls below the rim of a yawning ravine like a giant nativity scene. Although many buildings are crumbling, others have been restored and transformed into cosy abodes, restaurants and cave-hotels. Optional memorable 3 course lunch at amazing "Falco Grillaio" or "Gatta Buia" in Matera (35 Euros), "Abbondanza" (45 Euros). Tour leaves Ostuni at 8,30 and return at 6,30 pm.
Thursday: Cisternino, Alberobello and Polignano. Price 135 Euros pp.
Alberobello is a village built entirely of trulli, it is a UNESCO world heritage site. Polignano a Mare is an amazing medieval town right on the Adriatic cliffs. Optional 3 course lunch at amazing "Cantina" in Alberobello (n.1 on Tripadvisor, 45 Euros) and/or winetasting at the Wine Museum of Cantina Albea. Departure from Ostuni at 9,00 am, back at 6,00 pm.
Optional boat excursion from 25 Euros pp.
Thursday: Only Alberobello, half day 9am to 1pm from Ostuni at 95 Euros pp.
Thursday: Polignano a Mare, half day 2pm to 6pm from Ostuni at 95 Euros pp. boat excursion at 25 Euros
Friday: Lecce and Gallipoli. Price 135 Euros pp. including ticket to museum.
Visit amazing Lecce and Gallipoli, a quaint fishing village. Its name comes from ancient Greek “Kalle Polis” (beautiful city.)
We will walk through the old town with its amazing maze of alleys, the Cathedral and an underground oil mill dating back to the 14th century. Optional lunch at fantastic fish restaurant Puritate in Gallipoli (45 Euros) and/or winetasting at Schola Sarmenti in Nardo'. Departure at 9.00 am, back at 6.30 pm.
Saturday: Trani & Castel del Monte. Price 155 Euros including ticket to the castle and guided tour, 8,30am to 6,30pm
. Castel del Monte, built in 1240, was one of Frederick II Hoenstaufen's favourite residences. He was one of the first modern rulers in European history and had the good fortune to have grown up in Sicily and Puglia in a mixed culture that uniquely combined elements of antiquity, Arabic and Jewish wisdom, the Occidental spirit of the Middle Ages, and Norman realism. The intellectual life of his court reflected this heritage. A courtly “republic of scholars,” it nurtured and fostered the natural sciences as well as philosophy, poetry, and mathematics, and translations as well as original writing, both in Latin and in the vernacular (early Italian). The pursuit of knowledge without special respect for traditional authorities was characteristic of Frederick and his court. Optional lunch at Corte in Fiore in Trani (50 Euros) or Montegusto in Castel del Monte (35 Euros)
Sunday: Lecce, Otranto & Castro. Price 135 Euros pp.
Otranto is famed for its cathedral with fantastic mosaics, as well as for its medieval castle that inspired Horace Walpole's novel. We will visit this seaside town from where crusaders and knight templars would leave for the Holy Land. Optional lunch at "Pizzica" in Castro, a small and fascinating fishing village, or at Tricase's "Anime Sante" run by local fishermen . Departure at 9.00 am, back at 6.30 pm.
Optional boat excursion from 25 Euros pp.
Optional lunches at award winning restaurants 35/45 Euros pp (with wine included).
Visit to wineries with winetastings from 20 Euros pp.
Prices refer to departures from Ostuni, Alberobello, Lecce, Monopoli, Polignano a Mare, Brindisi, Ceglie Messapica, Cisternino or Martina Franca. Cooking courses with lunch/dinner including winetasting from 115 Euros pp
video of Polignano a Mare
Gallipoli, from the Greek Kallipolis meaning beautiful city, is a fishing village on the coast of southern Puglia. Gallipoli's Old Town, built on an island now connected to the mainland by a bridge, is picturesque and a nice place to stroll through its maze of alleys. The 17th century Baroque Sant' Agata Cathedral is in the center of the town. Several interesting churches are along the perimeter of the old town facing the sea. The walls and bastions surrounding the old town are believed to have been built in the 15th century to fend off attacks, especially from pirates. The walls were altered in the 19th century permitting beautiful views of the sea, port, and harbors.
The Hypogeum Oil Press at Palazzo Granafei was a major center for producing lamp oil. The pretty port is still used by fishing boats and you'll see fishermen mending their colorful nets and houses decorated with fishing baskets. Restaurants serve fresh seafood and sea urchins are a specialty of Gallipoli. Castello Angioino stands near the entrance to the old town. The current fortress, built on old Byzantine fortifications, probably originated in the 11th century but was altered quite a bit in the 15th century. The fortress guarded the old port, once part of an important trade route, and was connected to the mainland by a drawbridge.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Explore the magic of Matera
Matera is said to be one of the world’s oldest towns. The simple natural grottoes that dotted the gorge were adapted to become homes. In time, an ingenious system of canals regulated the flow of water and sewage, and small hanging gardens lent splashes of colour. The prosperous town became the capital of Basilicata in 1663, a position it held until 1806 when the power moved to Potenza. In the decades that followed, an unsustainable increase in population led to the habitation of unsuitable grottoes – originally intended as animal stalls – even lacking running water.
By the 1950s over half of Matera’s population lived in the sassi, a typical cave sheltering an average of six children. The infant mortality rate was 50%. In his Christ Stopped at Eboli, Carlo Levi describes how children would beg passers-by for quinine to stave off the deadly malaria. Such publicity finally galvanised the authorities into action, and in the late 1950s about 15,000 inhabitants were forcibly relocated to new government housing schemes.
In 1993 the sassi were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. Ironically, the town’s history of outrageous misery has transformed it into Basilicata’s leading tourist attraction.
Approach Matera from virtually any direction and your first glimpse of its famous sassi is sure to stay in your memory forever. Haunting and beautiful, the sassi sprawl below the rim of a yawning ravine like a giant nativity scene. The old town is simply unique and warrants at least a day of exploration and aimless wandering. Although many buildings are crumbling and abandoned, others have been restored and transformed into cosy abodes, restaurants and swish cave-hotels. On the cliff top, the new town is a lively place, with its elegant churches, palazzi and especially the pedestrianised Piazza Vittorio Veneto.