Tastes of Puglia
For Foodies and Adventurers!
10 days/9 nights
This culinary, wine-tasting, and walking tour features great stays in two amazing locations in one of the most beautiful areas of Italy – Puglia (‘Apulia’ in Italian), nicknamed the heel of Italy. Puglia’s cuisine has been influenced over the centuries by its neighbours – and invaders. The Greeks, the French, the Germans, the Arabs – all of them have influenced today’s Apulian cuisine. This striking land, kissed by the Mediterranean sun for over 300 days a year, is scattered with fortified castles and whitewashed Trulli (Puglia’s distinctive conical shaped dwellings), and carpeted with a silvery sea of olive groves. It also has an incredibly rich natural phenomenon: the area produces most of the country’s extra virgin olive oil, full-bodied wines and is famous for its intensely flavoured olives, table grapes, almonds and figs. Other local specialties include orecchiette, an ‘ear-shaped’ pasta, seafood risotto, fava beans (which are dried and made into a paste) and burrata, a creamy cheese similar to mozzarella.
DAY 1: DEPART FOR ITALY
DAY 2: WELCOME TO APULIA – POLIGNANO
Arrive by air in Bari and private transfer to the hotel. Relax, enjoy an aperitivo and begin our tour with a Welcome Dinner.
DAY 3: VISIT THE ALBEROBELO: BURRATA AND MOZARELLA EXPERIENCE
After breakfast we’ll visit an ancient oil mill in the Ostuni area to learn about green gold, then on to a cheese factory for a live demonstration of mozzarella and burrata making. After a walking tour through the small alleys of the old town, we’ll have lunch in a typical trattoria. In the afternoon we will visit a local winery for a wine tasting. Evening at leisure.
DAY 4: VISIT TO MATERA THE SASSI: THE THIRD OLDEST CONTINUALLY INHABITED SETTLEMENT IN THE WORLD
After Breakfast, we visit an unusual pasta factory for a demonstration. Following this, we will make our way toward Matera in the Basilicata region. This is an astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Site: the city has gained international fame for its ancient town, the Sassi di Matera (meaning stones of Matera). The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. Because of the ancient and primitive scenery in and around the Sassi, it has been used by filmmakers as the setting for ancient Jerusalem: a good number of famous biblical period motion pictures were filmed in Matera, including Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. We finish our exploration with tastes of local Bread Specialties.
DAY 5: PRIVATE TOUR OF CISTERINO AND APULIA COOKING CLASS EXPERIENCE
After breakfast we meet our guide for a visit to Cisternino. Cisternino is a small, utterly charming old town centre that has remained virtually intact for centuries. Its whitewashed houses, narrow, shady streets, historic churches and elegant central piazza open out onto a series of panoramic view points from which visitors can take in the surrounding countryside, with its rolling hills, dry stone walls and white-tipped conical trulli roofs piercing the green fields. Then on to a local Apulian farm for a cooking experience where we’ll learn how to cook some of the most typical Apulian/Italian dishes: pizza, focaccia and local specialties like panzerotti, calzone and taralli. We eat what we make for lunch…buon appettito!!! Evening at leisure.
DAY 6: ADRIATIC SEA EXPERIENCE
Today we cruise along the Apulian Coast, spending the day with local fishermen, learning about their trade and techniques of this ancient profession. As we travel along the Adriatic coast, we see and learn about the wonders of the Adriatic, including the caves of Polignano a Mare, the remains of the ancient city Egnatia, the white Savelletri houses, the Torre Guaceto marine reserve. A splendid way to experience Puglia!
DAY 7: TOUR OF MARTINA FRANCA, CULINARY EXPERIENCE OF CAPOCOLLO, AND WINE TASTING
After breakfast we visit the Old Town of Martina Franca. Martina Franca is a in the heart of Puglia, southern Italy. The town’s jewel is its lovely historic centre, a memorable maze of winding alleys, where whitewashed simplicity sits side by side with baroque extravagance. The town is built on a hill in the green Valle d’Itria, the trulli area of Puglia. Martina Franca is an incredibly photogenic town, so come equipped to take lots of pictures: the narrow lanes that are so hard to photograph well in other Italian cities are here illuminated by whitewashed walls, pale stone and tiny open spaces. After the tour we will visit a local farmer for tasting the Capocollo of Martina Franca. This local treat is similar to salami and made on farms in the Valle d´Itria. After our capocollo tasting, we are off to a winery to taste the Primitivo and Negroamaro wines made from typical local grapes.
To complete such a glorious day, what’s better than a dinner al fornello – an outdoor dinner – a real Pugliese experience!
DAY 8: BARI & LECCE
After breakfast we travel by private coach to Bari for a tour of the Old Town. We visit the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, the Fresh Pasta Street, the Cathedral, Norman Castle, and the fish market. Along the way, you will experience the warmth of the local people and the authentic southern Italian lifestyle. We visit a typical Baker to see pastry making and the typical pasta – orecchiete – made by local women sitting outside their homes – a truly unique experience! After the visit we travel on to Lecce where we will stay for three nights.
DAY 9: PRIVATE TOUR OF LECCE
After breakfast we take a walking tour of Lecce, often referred to as the Florence of the South! We sample the Caffe Leccese and Pasticciotto as we see the Duomo, Piazza Saint Oronzo and the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre.
We then drive across the heel of Italy to Gallipoli (Greek for beautiful city) on the Ionic Coast. This fishing village on the coast of southern Puglia, is built on an island now connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is picturesque and a nice place to stroll through its maze of alleys.
DAY 10: PRIVATE HERITAGE WALKING TOUR OF OTRANTO AND WINE TASTING
Our walking tour begins along the waterfront at the foot of the ancient village, passing the monument dedicated to the Martyrs through Porta Alfonsina. We enter the old town to discover its mosaics and relics from the Ottoman invasion of 1480. The rich cultural heritage of Otranto can be seen in the architectural buildings, traditions and the impressive fortress of the Castello Aragonese. After our exploration of Otranto, we enjoy a final wine tasting.
DAY 11: TOUR ENDS – ARRIVEDERCI PUGLIA!
After breakfast, we travel to Bari airport by private coach for departure. “Is it over already??”
PUGLIA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Guided walks of Ostuni, Matera, Bari, Polignano and Alberobello. Local food delicacies and wine and olive oil tasting.
Private food and wine lunch and dinner – A full immersion into local cuisine
This Tour includes:
- Airport pickup and drop-off
- Private transportation for all activities indicated in the itinerary
- 6 nights in Martina Franca
- 3 nights in Lecce
- 3 hands-on cooking lessons
- Daily breakfasts
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary, beverages included
- Private visit to a traditional winery
- Private visit to a pasta factory
- Cheese factory tour and tasting
- Salami factory tour
- Oil-mill factory visit
- Private tour host
This Tour does not include:
- Travel Insurance
- Alcoholic drinks, personal expenses and tips
- Personal Extras
- Everything not clearly included in the list above
Please contact us for pricing and availability.