|5 giorni e 4 notti|
Italia (Alberobello, Bari, Martina Franca, Matera, Lecce, Ceglie Messapica, Polignano a mare, Castellana Grotte, Ostuni)
Day 1 Alberobello
Arrival in afternoon. Check-in at your hotel… a real trulli! Dinner and overnight stay in a trulli in Alberobello
Day 2 Alberobello
Day at leisure in the enchanting town of Alberobello, unique due to its picturesque trulli houses. Characterised by their distinctive conical roofs, these fairy-tale-like limestone dwellings, which number over 1500, depict a spectacular rural picture of a bygone era. Legend has it that this dry-wall construction, made without mortar, was imposed on the peasants of the area in the 15th Century, by their lords the Counts of Conversano, in order to evade an edict by the Kingdom of Naples that demanded tribute or tax, on every new urban construction. Indeed, these types of settlements came to be identified as temporary and unstable, easy to demolish, and not taxable. The reality is, however, that the trulli are anything but unstable. Their internal structure, compact and without any elements of support or linkage, remains marvellously durable. Wander the charming lanes of Rione Monti, browse the little souvenir shops and enjoy a glass of local wine at one of the trulli bars. Dinner and overnight stay in a trulli in Alberobello.
Day 3 Matera, Martina Franca
This morning we have a guided tour of Matera, a remarkable ancient town thought to be one of the first inhabited places in Italy. Originating as a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, astonishingly, even today people live in the same cave houses that their ancestors probably occupied thousands of years ago. An entire town is here, in a lunatic landscape, with churches, shops, workshops, all hewn from rock! It has often been used as set for biblical films including Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of Christ’. Return to Itrya valley, where lies Martina Franca, where Moorish influences have created a town of medieval palaces and churches and whose houses decorated with wrought-iron balconies could lead you to believe you are in Andalucia as you explore. Dinner and overnight stay in a trulli in Alberobello
Day 4 Lecce, Ceglie Messapica
Drive 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. Returning in Alberobello we stop for a traditional dinner in the gourmet capital of Puglia, Ceglie Messapica. With its 14th-century Piazza Vecchia, tattered Baroque balconies, and lordly medieval castles, the little whitewashed town of Ceglie Messapica is a jewel and the epitome of everyone’s notion of the sleepy southern Italian town. Dinner and overnight stay in a trulli in Alberobello.
Day 5 Castellana Caves, Polignano al Mare
Leisure time in Alberobello or optional excursion to Castellana Caves, Polignano al Mare. Our first step from today is to 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. We continue to the picturesque fishing town of Polignano a Mare dating back to prehistoric times and setiig atop a limestone cliff lapped by the glistening Adriatic Sea. Brilliant white buildings cling to the clifftop and numerous caves have been sculpted into the rocks. Return in Alberobello for dinner and overnight stay in a trulli.
Day 6 Ostuni, Manduria, Grottaglie
Departure for 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. Take a walk through the beautifully preserved old town with its quaint winding streets and enjoy the great panoramic views across this stunning landscape. Guided tour include the cathedral dedicated to St Mary of the Assumption, the Piazza della Libertà and the Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia Meridionale with the extraordinary exhibit of a 25,000-year-old skeleton of a pregnant young woman. We drive to Manduria in the wine-growing region of Primitivo to visit a winery for a tasting experience. Continue to Grottaglie, an amazing town, aptly named after the ravines and caves dating back to prehistoric times, which were dug as refuges. Dominated by an impressive castle from the 14th century, Grottaglie is known for its pottery. We stop here to witness the processing of Terra Cotta then return in Alberobello for dinner and overnight stay in a trulli.
Day 7 Bari
Today we have a guided tour of Bari’s old town, nicknamed the Gateway to the Orient, a thriving walled port even before the Romans, capital of Byzantine Italy and as important as Venice during Norman times. The Bari's exquisite Old City is a jumble of narrow streets buzzing with bars, cafés, restaurants, and crafts shops. We will visit the stunning Basilica di San Nicola, final resting place of the saint known as 'Santa Claus', and important example of Romanesque architecture. A model for many cathedrals in Puglia, it is one of the major pilgrimage churches on the route to Jerusalem. Proceed to the Cattedrale di San Sabino, rebuilt in 1156, followed by the Archbishop’s Palace and the Castello Svevo. In the afternoon we visit the Pinacoteca Provinciale and view spectacular collections of sculpture, 19th- and 20th-century Italian art, and paintings by old masters. Finish the day in Bari with a walk to Lungomare Nazario Sauro then return for dinner and overnight stay in your trulli in Alberobello.
Day 8 Departure
Breakfast and 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:
7 night accommodation in a Trulli hotel in Alberobello on a half-board basis, drinks not included
Dinner at a restaurant in Ceglie Messapica in the day 4
Local English speaking guides in Alberobello, Matera, Lecce, Bari, Ostuni. Other languages are available on request.
Guided visit and wine tasting accompanied by light lunch in Manduria
Visit to a pottery workshop in Grottaglie
Traditional dinner at a local restaurant in Ceglie Messapica
Entrances: Sassi di Matera, Basilica di Santa Croce, a papier-mâché workshop and the Duomo in Lecce, Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche in Ostuni, Basilica di San Nicola and Pinacoteca Provinciale in Bari
Optional trip to Castellana Caves, Polignano al Mare
Bus GT for the entire tour with arrival and departure from Bari airport