|8 giorni e 7 notti|
Italia (Bari, Lecce, Otranto, Gallipoli, Brindisi, Ostuni, Alberobello, Cisternino, Matera, Castellana Grotte, Andria, Trani)
Day 1 Lecce
Arrival in afternoon. Check-in at your hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Lecce.
Day 2 Lecce, Otranto
In the morning departure for Otranto, a town of Greek origin situated on the site of the ancient Hydrus. The city itself is a small and lively centre. We visit the Annunziata Cathedral, which hosts the largest mosaic floor in Europe, the small medieval church of San Pietro, a ninth-century church in Greek Orthodox style with early Renaissance frescoes, and the majestic Aragonese Castle, looking over the sea. Return to Lecce for a walking tour of this charming town, once an important centre of the Roman empire and now known as ‘the Florence of the south’ due to its baroque architecture sculpted out of the local sandstone. Soak up the atmosphere of the old town with its elegant buildings, ornate churches and marbled courtyards through a guided tour including the 16th-century Basilica di Santa Croce, Chiesa di Santa Chiara, a papier-mâché workshop, Duomo and the nearby Bishop’s Palace and Seminary, Chiesa di Sant’Irene. Dinner and overnight stay in Lecce.
Day 3 Salento Peninsula: Specchia, Leuca, Gallipoli
Today we explore the heel of the Italian boot. Our first stop is Specchia, one the most beautiful medieval towns of Salento. The most evocative part of the village is that behind the castle where, among flights of stairs and narrow streets, alleyways and courtyards, the townspeople go about their daily lives, almost always in the open. We continue to Santa Maria di Leuca, the most southern point of the Salento peninsula, marked by the 1864 lighthouse and by the “The Finibus Terrae” (The end of the Earth) sanctuary. We stroll the narrow streets with Oriental Art Nouveau villas and beach huts from the last century that lend a special flair and unique flavour to the area. Our last stop today is Gallipoli, an ancient Greek city built on an island in the Ionian Sea. The old town has a beautiful quaint setting with winding streets that suddenly open into small squares. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Lecce.
Day 4 Brindisi, Ostuni
Drive to Brindisi for the first visit of today's tour, travelling through some of the amazing highlights of the area including the port, the famous column which marks the end of the Via Appia, the Palazzo Nervegna, the churches of San Giovanni al Sepolcro and San Benedetto. In the afternoon we visit the historic town of Ostuni, known as the ‘White City’, based high on a hill top overlooking the region. The white-washed houses can be seen from afar and they blend perfectly with the soft and colourful hills, giving Ostuni its own special charm. Guided tour include the cathedral dedicated to St Mary of the Assumption, the Piazza della Libertà with its 20-metrehigh obelisk. Drive for dinner and overnight stay in Monopoli area
Day 5 Alberobello, Locorotondo, Cisternino
Departure for a guided tour of the Itria Valley and its typical landscape characterized by dry stone walls that run along the country paths surrounded by trulli - whitewashed cylindrical buildings with conical grey roofs, by manor farms, ancient millstones, olive groves, vineyards and cultivated fields. Visiting Alberobello you will notice that many Trulli are decorated with painted symbols on their roofs. We continue to the town of Locorotondo whose historical center is notable for its labyrinth of white alleys and Trulli built in a circular pattern: white washed houses with wrought iron balconies and unusual pitched roofs called “cummerse”. We will enjoy some time strolling through the ancient streets and several stunning churches. In Cisternino we will enjoy the poetry of the South walking down the chianche (stone-paved streets) among the play of light and shadow created by the narrow streets, the arches, flower-filled balconies, the underpasses, the tiny courtyards and outside stairs. Drive for dinner and overnight stay in Monopoli area.
Day 6 Matera, Castellana Caves
Today we journey to the fascinating Rock City, Matera, a remarkable ancient town thought to be one of the first inhabited places in Italy. Originating as a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, Monks enlarged this maze of living spaces adding churches at the end of the first millennium. Astonishingly they are still largely intact and even today people live in the same cave houses. An entire town is here, with churches, shops, workshops, all hewn from rock! It has often been used as set for biblical films including the famous Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ”. We continue to the Castellana Caves, a series of limestone caves with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, accidentally discovered in 1938 and now one of Puglia’s main attractions. A guide will accompany you as you descend to the caves. Drive to Bari for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7 Castel del Monte, Trani.
Departure for the delightful Trani, an important port during medieval times, of Jewish origin, with lovely Romanesque architecture. Nowadays is a picturesque fishing port famous for its sweet Moscato wine as well for its exquisite Cattedrale di San Nicola Pellegrino, founded in 1097 to house the relics of a young Greek pilgrim named Nicola. We continue with a visit to Castel del Monte, an octagonal fortress built in the 13th century by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and isolated on a hill 540 metres above sea level, important example of Swabian architecture which is a unique masterpiece of medieval military architecture. Short visit to the ancient Bitonto and its magnificent cathedral, then return for dinner and overnight stay in Bari area.
Day 8 Bari
In the morning we visit Bari, the regional capital and a major Adriatic seaport, strolling through the old quarter along the castle walls and through the old harbour district, including a visit to the San Nicola Basilica, one of Puglia’s best examples of Romanesque architecture. Departure for return journey. End of our services.
Accommodation, depending on your option, in good 4* hotels centrally located or 3* not centrally located hotels, double occupancy rooms, as described:
3 night accommodation in Lecce on a HB basis, drinks not included
2 night accommodation in Monopoli on a HB basis, drinks not included
2 night accommodation in Bari on a HB basis, drinks not included
Local English speaking guides in Lecce, Matera, Alberobello, Brindisi, Ostuni, Bari. Other languages are available on request.
Entrances: the Annunziata Cathedral in Otranto, the Church of San Pietro and Aragonese Castle in Otranto, Cathedral in Ostuni, Sassi in Matera, Castellana Caves, Castel del Monte, Basilica San Nicola in Bari
Bus GT for the entire tour with arrival and departure from Rome / Pisa / Florence airport, including all expenses (check point and parking fees, board and lodging for driver)