MAGIC PUGLIA & MATERA 2019
7-10 DAYS / 6-9 NIGHTS
Our heart is in Puglia, and we love sharing our beautiful surroundings with new friends. There is so much to explore, from the sweeping coastline, ancient olive groves, incredible beaches, food and wine... we will be able to guide you on a memorable trip in our favorite part of Italy. For our guests wanting to experience the best of Puglia and venture to Matera, we offer two packages. Guests can choose between a standard 7 day trip or a 10 day extended trip.
OPTION #1: STANDARD 7 DAY TOUR
DAY #1: WELCOME TO ITALY! THE BEAUTIFUL WHITEWASHED CITY OF OSTUNI
Welcome to Puglia! We’ll meet you from Bari or Brindisi airport or train station and take you for a delicious home-style lunch based on our regional & seasonal specialties. After lunch, we’ll head to your accommodation in Ostuni, the picturesque, hilltop, medieval 'white city' overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
DAY #2: DISCOVERING CISTERNINO, ALBEROBELLO & POLIGNANO A MARE
This morning our first stop is Cisternino, another beautiful white-washed town in the heart of the Itria Valley. Here we’ll stroll through the narrow streets of this medieval village and enjoy the sweeping views of the Valley below. Next we'll drive to Alberobello, a Unesco World Heritage Site famed for its conical-shaped dwellings, built from limestone with roofs stacked of stone tiles without mortar. We'll stop for lunch at an award winning family-run restaurant, La Cantina, where the chef, Francesco, will prepare local dishes in his open air kitchen. In the afternoon we'll head to Polignano a Mare, a town famous for its breathtaking views of the Adriatic. It also happens to be the birthplace of the Italian singer, Domenico Modugno famous for 'Volare'.
DAY #3: COOKING OR BOATING
After a delicious breakfast, we'll visit Masseria Brancati, a stunning traditional farmhouse with an original oil mill. Here we'll have a tour of the underground mill, highlighting how the Romans pressed and stored their oil, followed by a beautiful walking tour of the ancient olive grove and finally, a tasting where you will taste five different oils produced by the family run masseria. For the afternoon we have two options.
- Option 1: Join us for a cooking course set in the rustic countryside at our farm outside of Ostuni. After your lesson with a local chef, we'll relax with the food we've worked hard to prepare and enjoy local, organic wine.
- Option 2: Take a two hour boat trip, including a light lunch, along the Adriatic coast and enjoy a swim off the coast. In the afternoon take time on your own to have a relaxing walk, visit the shops or just sit with a glass of wine in the old main square.
ACCOMODATION OPTIONS IN OSTUNI:
- Silver: We offer two options for the Silver Plan, 7 Archi B&B and Masseria Asciano. 7 Archi is a quaint B&B in the center of Ostuni and Masseria Asciano is a beautifully restored traditional Masseria with a pool.
- Gold: We offer several options for the Gold Plan, including Ostuni Palace, Hotel Novecento, Dimore Terre Marique, Masseria Ancella or Masseria Narducci.
- Platinum: We offer these four stunning accommodations under the Platinum Plan: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Masseria Salinola, Masseria Cervarolo and La Sommità. All three of these masserias offer immersion into the Pugliese countryside withexquisitely restored traditional country estates. These once fortified farm houses date back to the 17th center and are equipped with all of the comforts for a beautiful holiday stay. Most also produce their own organic olive oil and have onsite restaurants where they highlight produce grown on their own land. If you prefer staying in the city center, we offer another option at the beautiful La Sommità, a 5-star boutique hotel inside a 16th century residence which boasts a magical setting with breathtaking views.
- Platinum Luxury Plus: Our highest luxury option we offer a memorable stay at Borgo Egnazia Golf and Spa Resort or Masseria San Domenico. Both incredibly beautiful accommodations that cater to our clients interested in a luxury stay while in Puglia.
DAY #4: GALLIPOLI, THE BEACH, SEAFOOD AND WINE TASTING
From Ostuni we’ll drive south, past Lecce, crossing the heel of Italy to Gallipoli, a charming fishing village on the Ionian Gulf. After a stroll through the fish market, we will visit an underground oil mill before enjoying a nice lunch at Puritate, one of the best seafood restaurants on the Salento peninsula. In the afternoon we’ll head to a fantastic Schola Sarmenti, a local winery in Nardò, where we'll tour the cantina and taste their award winning organic wines. Then we’ll return to Lecce for a brief siesta before dining at our favorite restaurant, Le Zie. On our way to the restaurant, we will experience Lecce beautifully lit at night, the Palazzos and the stunning facade of the highly decorated Santa Croce. You will enjoy three nights in Lecce.
DAY #5: HISTORICAL LECCE AND THE MARVELS OF OTRANTO
After breakfast we will explore the city of Lecce, where much of the architecture is in the highly decorative Baroque style, which flourished in the 17th century and earned the city the nickname "Florence of South”. We will visit the famous Piazza Sant'Oronzo and the magnificent Roman Amphitheater. If you'd prefer, there is an option to take a boat trip and we can go swimming in the crystal Adriatic sea in the morning. We will have our lunch at Il Cantico dei Cantici or Altro Baffo in the stunning seaside town of Otranto, one of Puglia's most vibrant towns, overlooking a pretty harbor. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Otranto has been named one of the “Borghi piu’belli d’Italia”, or one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy. We will explore its charming historical centre and famous cathedral that houses one of the largest mosaics in all of Europe. It is here that St Peter is fabled to have celebrated the first western mass.
DAY #6: SASSI OF MATERA
Today we head off from Lecce and begin the tour with a visit to Grottaglie, a town famed for its ceramics. Here we will visit the workshops of traditional artists making beautiful pottery and home goods - and perhaps find you a souvenir to send home! We then continue our journey to Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Basilicata. Upon arriving in Matera we'll enjoy a beautiful lunch at Falco Grillaio in the town center and then begin to explore the fascinating Sassi. The people of Matera once lived in these Sassi, dwellings carved out of the rock. Many chapels were also gouged out of the rock and we will be visiting some of these chapels and dwellings on route.
ACCOMODATION OPTIONS IN LECCE:
- Silver: For the Silver Plan we offer Suite Celestini.
- Gold: For the Gold Plan, we offer Le Club.
- Platinum: Please inquire about Platinum option.
- Platinum Luxury Plus: Please inquire about Platinum Luxury Plus option.
DAY #7: DEPARTURE DAY
We will transport you to either the Bari or Brindisi airport for your departure flight.
OPTION #2: EXTENDED 10 DAY TOUR
(DAYS 1-5 WILL BE THE SAME AS THE ABOVE ITINERARY)
DAY #6: AMAZING, HIDDEN FRESCOES AND WINETASTING
In the morning we will drive to Galatina to visit the Basilica Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, a church with floor to ceiling restored frescoes and paintings similar to those at the Basilica San Francesco in Assisi. It is thought that some of the artists that worked with Giotto were also employed to work here. Next, we will drive down to Leuca where we will have lunch at Osteria Del Pardo, a delicious restaurant famous for its seafood dishes. In the afternoon we will visit the centuries old winery Castel di Salve, a location that brings together wines produced from four of their vineyards which, are geographically very close but fall into four very distinct microclimates and soil environments. You'll have a chance to taste them all! We will then visit the old town of Tricase and enjoy an aperitif at Farmacia Bilboa. You are then free to enjoy the evening in Tricase before we drive back to Lecce.
DAY #7: CERAMICS OF GROTTAGLIE AND THE SASSI OF MATERA
Today we head off from Lecce and begin the tour with a visit to Grottaglie, a town famed for its ceramics. Here we will visit the workshops of traditional artists making beautiful pottery and home goods - and perhaps find you a souvenir to send home! We then continue our journey to Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Basilicata. Upon arriving in Matera we'll enjoy a beautiful lunch at Falco Grillaio in the town center and then begin to explore the fascinating Sassi. The people of Matera once lived in these Sassi, dwellings carved out of the rock. Many chapels were also gouged out of the rock and we will be visiting some of these chapels and dwellings on route. You will enjoy two nights in Matera.
DAY #8: DISCOVER RUPESTRIAN ART
After breakfast, we will visit the Crypt of the Original Sin commonly known as the Sistine Chapel of Rupestrian art. This crypt was discovered as late as 1963. Experts have dated the cycle of paintings back to the second half of the eighth century, painted by Basilian monks. After a wonderful lunch at Baccanti you may choose between a bike tour to a natural reserve just outside Matera or an easy walk in the old town to look at workshops of local artisans. Of course, there is always the option of relaxing at a local cafe for a coffee or wine!
- Silver: We have the beautiful Casa Stella for our Silver Plan. This quaint B&B is carved out of the Sassi rock and in a lovely position to explore Matera on foot.
- Gold: We offer Corte San Pietro to our guests for the Gold Plan. This gorgeous hotel is located in the heart of the Sassi and is completely decorated in natural tones, highlighting the warm colors of the ancient town. With eight cisterns below the hotel (where they traditionally collected rain water to use for the home), they've turned the space into a wellness center for guests to relax and connect with the traditional roots of the space.
- Platinum + Platinum Plus Luxury Option: For our Platinum Plan, we offer the Sexantio Grotte delle Civita. The rooms in this magnificent hotel are carved out of the traditional stone, which allows you the opportunity to sleep in a cave dwelling with modern amenities. Offering more than just accommodation, this hotel caters to its guests for wellness as well, as they offer spa treatments set in the historic stone caves.
DAY #9: CASTEL DEL MONTE AND TRANI
Today we travel to Castel del Monte, a castle built in the 13th century by the Norman emperor Fredrick the second to be used as a hunting lodge. This is one of the most sophisticated secular buildings of the middle ages and its octagonal geometry has inspired many novels. We'll enjoy lunch at Corte in Fiore in Trani, an excellent award-winning restaurant. In the afternoon we will visit Trani and its amazing cathedral built by the sea. During the middle ages, Trani was an active port and bustled with activity of merchants and Knight Templars that travelled throughout the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. We will also visit one of the few working synagogues in Puglia built in 1246-7, in the time of the greatest Jewish community in Trani, which in 1160 had a population of 200 families. We will spend the last night in Bari.
ACCOMODATION OPTIONS IN BARI:
- Silver: For our Silver Plan, we offer a stay at the 4-star Villa Romanazzi Carducci.
- Platinum and Platinum Luxury Plus: For guests under the Platinum & Platinum Plus Luxury Plan, we offer the Grande Albergo delle Nazioni.
DAY #10: We will transport you to the Bari airport for your departure flight.
- All transportation to & from airports & for each day tour
- Accommodation with breakfast included
- 3x nights in Ostuni, 3x nights in Lecce, 2x nights in Matera + 1x night in Bari
- All lunches + 2x dinners at some of Puglia's award-winning restaurants.
- 1x cooking course with lunch OR 1x boat excursion with lunch
- Organic olive oil tasting
- 2x organic wine-tastings at local vineyards
- Entrance to all museums + monuments
- English speaking guides (for other languages please inquire availability)
- VAT + city local taxes
Note: these prices refer to per person prices, assuming a double occupancy accommodation. For larger groups please inquire
2019 GROUP TOUR DATES:
- March Sat 25th to Mon 3nd April
- April Sat 8th to Mon 17th or Sat 29th to Mon 8th
- May Sat 27th to Mon 5th Jun
- June Sat 17th to Mon 26th
- July Sat 1st to Mon 10th or Sat 22nd to Mon 31st
- August Sat 19th to Mon 28th
- September Sat 9th to Mon Sept 18th
- October Sat 7th to Mon October 16th