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May 6th - May 13th, 2017

September 30th - October 7th, 2017

This program starts in Matera and continues into the heart of the Pugliese countryside before arriving on the Adriatic coast.

Tour designer: Beppe Salerno & Marco Ferriero                                 

Puglia is enchanting. Strolling through this farmland rich in Greek, Norman and Arab influences feels like a mystical odyssey through time and is a delightfully different world from the fashionable streets of Florence, Venice and Milan. 

On this walking tour we’ll discover the region at a slow pace, on trails that travel along undulating hills, passing deserted Greek and Roman ruins, lively fishing villages, medieval hill towns, sandy dunes and blue mediterranean water.  Along the way we’ll visit historic cities, each with its own unique architecture.  We’ll taste some of the best food in Italy, drizzled with oil from thousand year old olive trees and washed down with earthy red wines.  Warm hospitality and friendly conversation greet us around every corner.

The area of Puglia called Salento is the bottom heel of the Italian boot….It is known for having a great climate, outstanding wine production and pristine coastlines.

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Find Out More   
[fa icon="plus"] Highlights
  • One night night stay and a walking tour of Matera where they have just filmed the remake of the colossal Ben Hur movie with Morgan Freeman
  • Captivating clusters of conical trulli structures
  • Discover the whitewashed town of Ostuni and the beaches near the fishing village of Savelletri
  • Spectacular fields of ancient olive trees
  • Savory cuisine: grilled vegetables, handmade pasta and fresh seafood!
  • Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Alberobello & Matera
  • Beautiful countryside walking among the orchards and trulli of Valle d’Itria
  • Otranto and Lecce
[fa icon="plus"] Tourissimo Experience
  • Guided Walking Tour of Matera, the “City of Stones”
  • Guided Walking Tour of Lecce, known for its unique baroque architecture
  • Get acquainted with earthy red wines that are among the best wines of southern Italy, such as Salice Salentino and Aglianico del Vulture
  • Hands-on cooking pasta making class
  • Meet a local olive oil expert and taste olive oil on a site where it has been produced since Roman times
  • Learn about the Mediterranean Diet, which is on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and taste capocollo, a Slow Food Presidium
  • An unforgettable folkloristic night
  • Unique experience to stay in trulli and cave hotel rooms (alternative accommodation upon request)
  • Learn about Otranto and the Turkish invasion
[fa icon="plus"] Day by Day

Apple_Touch_IconDay 1

Where: Matera
Terrain: City visit
Hike: 
2 Hrs
Meals: L, D

Your guide will meet you at the Bari airport and transfer you to your hotel in Matera, the timeless and enchanting city of Sassi (cave houses carved out of stone) and a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Matera is also the next European Capital of Culture (2019) and is thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe, dating back to the Paleolithic era.  We’ll have a light lunch and glass of wine while we review the tour program.  For an introduction to the Sassi we’ll first visit Casa Noha, a property of the Italian National Trust, and then take a walking tour with a local guide.  You’ll then have time to explore the narrow alleyways, uneven stone staircases and cave churches on your own.

Hotel: Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita

Apple_Touch_IconDay 2

Where: Matera and Alberobello
Terrain: Hilly with stairs
Hike: 
3 Hrs
Meals: B, L, D

Today's route will take us along a charming panoramic trail, rich in spectacular natural and architectural views, frescoes and cave churches. After breakfast, we’ll start our hike walking through two of the Sassi districts: the Sasso Barisano and Caveoso. The Caveoso neighborhood is old and less developed. In the 1950s the Italian government relocated many people to the modern part of town, but some remained and people still live there today.  From there we’ll reach Porta Pistola and depart the old town.  We will follow a path down to the ravine and up onto the other side of the small canyon until we reach the foothills of Murgia Timone in the Natural Park of the Chiese Rupestri of Matera.  From here the view on the Sassi is amazing!

We’ll transfer to Alberobello in the late afternoon and visit Cantina Albea, a winery and museum of farming traditions and winemaking.  We’ll sample some of their best wines, such as Primitive and Locorotondo.  After you’ll have free time to explore this town that is home to over 1000 trulli, conical-shaped houses,a UNESCO site.

Hotel: Trullidea Resort

Apple_Touch_IconDay 3

Where: Martina Franca and Locorotondo
Terrain: Rolling
Hike:
3.5 Hrs
Meals: B, L, D

After breakfast we will take a private transfer to the baroque town of Martina Franca where we will taste a superb regional product: the capocollo of Martina Franca (a cold cut), a Slow Food Presidium.  The capocollo is washed in cooked wine and smoked with local oak and herbs, then aged. Those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed: the bocconotto (a filled pastry) from Martina is one of the most famous delicacies of the Valle d’Itria. 

From Martina Franca another short transfer will take us to the village of Locorotondo, a village whose name reflects the characteristic shape of its historic center: a set of white houses arranged in concentric rings.  For lunch we will literally get our hands dirty making pasta with Signora Antonella in her Taverna del Conte.

After lunch we will start walking down the eastern slopes of the Itria Valley and continue our journey on the edge of the Dune Costiere Regional Natural Park, one of the most interesting protected areas of southern Italy because of its many natural habitats and historically important sites.  We’ll spend the night at a masseria, a fortified farmhouse that produces olive oil.

Hotel: Masseria il Frantoio

Apple_Touch_IconDay 4

Where: Ostuni
Terrain: Hilly
Hike:
4 or 6 Hrs
Meals: B, L, D

After leaving our Masseria we will walk into the countryside through the fertile farmlands where the the simple and tasty products that end up on the dinner tables of local restaurants are grown.

From there we will walk up the high plain, Selva di Fasano, by carefully choosing our path: through the forest, climbing slowly towards the ancient village “La Terra (The Earth)“, the highest and most characteristic hill of Ostuni, with views of endless rows of olive trees in the Valle d’Itria countryside and of the Adriatic Sea.  From here you can head to the hotel, or try an interesting and challenging detour to the Sanctuary of San Biagio, the most complete rocky settlement of Ostuni.  The afternoon is free to get lost in this medieval, walled and whitewashed city, one of Puglia’s prettiest and home to many olive wood artisans. Dinner is at one of our favorite restaurants in Ostuni.

Hotel: La Sommità

Apple_Touch_IconDay 5

Where: Lecce
Terrain: Flat
Hike: 
1.5 Hrs
Meals: B, L, D

After breakfast we will follow a short, almost entirely dirt path to reach an ancient masseria, Masseria Brancati, whose above-ground construction dates back to the X or XI centuries.  We’ll taste the olive oil made here from nearby monumental olive trees and visit the underground mill from Roman times.

In the afternoon we will transfer to Lecce where we will have a walking tour of the baroque historical center.  The architecture of the city is so distinct that it is known by its own name: barocco leccese, and it features ornately carved facades on churches and palazzi.

Hotel: Palazzo Rollo

Apple_Touch_IconDay 6

Where: Otranto
Terrain: Rolling
Hike: 
3.5 Hrs
Meals: B, L, D

We’ll take an early private transfer to the town of Otranto where we will visit majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata.  The cathedral has a colorful Moorish design on the ceiling, but the most impressive feature is the mosaic tile on the floor that depicts the Tree of Life.  It’s one of the most important mosaics in all of Italy.  The Tree of Life is said to reflect the journey of humans from the Fall to Salvation, the battle between good and evil that defines our earthly present and spiritual future.

Leaving Otranto behind, we’ll experience the beautiful unspoiled landscapes described by Maria Corti in her masterpiece Otranto.  You can admire the stunning lunar landscape around the blue lake and reflect on the past while viewing the ruins of the Abbey of Casole.  We will reach the Palascia lighthouse, the easternmost point in Italy, and on a clear day when the north wind blows hard the mountains of Albania, 70 km away, can be seen.

Hotel: Masseria Panareo

Apple_Touch_IconDay 7

Where: Porto Badisco
Terrain: Rolling
Hike: 
3 Hrs
Meals: B, L, D

In the morning we will reach The Costantine Foundation, a farm promoter of various social activities ranging from biodynamic agriculture to handicraft production of rare fabrics.

After the visit another short transfer will take us to the Botanical Garden La Cutura, the most outstanding private collection in Salento with succulents from five continents.

Then we will go to the sea, to Porto Badisco, a site inextricably linked to the Neolithic Grotta dei Cervi (Cave of the Deer).  We’ll try the local specialty, sea urchins, at one of the popular restaurants.  After lunch we’ll work off all of that good food going up a gentle hill back to our farm.

Our farewell dinner tonight will feature folkloric music and the chance to try to dance and play the tamburello, a typical instrument of the Salento musical tradition.  A perfect, festive end to our Magnifica journey in this part of southern Italy!

Hotel: Masseria Panareo

Apple_Touch_IconDay 8

Where: Transfer 
Terrain: Departure
Hike: 
None
Meals: B

After breakfast private transfer to the Bari airport. Guides can help you with your travel plans to make sure you will have a safe trip home.

[fa icon="plus"] Other Info and Cost

Apple_Touch_IconHow to Get There

Airport/s - Bari Airport (BRI)

Other transportation -  Private transfer by Tourissimo from the airport to the first Hotel. Upon request, guests can be picked-up elsewhere (additional cost).

 

Apple_Touch_IconHow to Depart

Airport/s - Bari Airport (BRI)

Other transportation -  Private transfer by Tourissimo from last hotel to the airport.

 

Apple_Touch_IconTour Level

Recreational/Active/Athletic - Active: hikes range from 3 to 4 hrs along rolling and hilly terrain.

 

Apple_Touch_IconClimate Data

In May temperatures average 14C (57F) low / 22C (72F) max - precipitation probability is 10%.

In September temperatures average 14C (57F) low / 25C (77F) max - precipitation probability 25%

 

Apple_Touch_IconTour Program Cost (All Inclusive)

Tour price per person in double room is USD 3,995

Private room surcharge is USD 775

Please contact our office if:

- The tour you are interested in is scheduled to start within 90 days

- You would like to make this tour private 

- You would like to choose your own dates

 

Apple_Touch_IconAll-inclusive Program 

• One or two professional tour guides throughout the program

• All accommodations 

• All breakfasts, all lunches and all dinners

• Wine and beer with meals, coffee, cappuccino, and gelato stops

• All logistics during the tour and luggage transfer

• Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of the tour

• All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description 

[fa icon="plus"] Hotel Highlights
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Sextantio Hotel Matera (Basilicata) 

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La Sommità Ostuni (Puglia)
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