Pearl of Italy: Puglia

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Puglia, the Pearl of Italy: Food, Wine and Wellness in Italy

 “Travelling, it leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller.”

(Ibn Battuta)

Italy is known as the boot and it is to her heel that we head on this trip, although, as you will discover, Puglia is anything but down at heel. From water to rival that of the Caribbean, to beautiful Baroque architecture, Roman amphitheatres and the Trulli houses, peeling this region’s history back reveals the true jewel in Italy’s crown. Italy’s olive garden with over sixty million trees and over fifty three varieties, Puglia is also home to some of Italy’s best wines and her food is thought by many to bethe best in Italy; no mean feat in a country overflowing with delicious regional delicacies. Therefore, we invite you to kick off your shoes so that you may feel the sand and sea beneath your toes, join us for a glass or two of wine in one of the many beautiful piazzas which adorn the towns of this area and loosen your belts in preparation for some gastronomic indulgence. Buone vacanze!

Chapter 1: Gargano and Tremiti Islands

Day 1 Arrival Day – Transfer from Bari airport to hotel

You will be met at the airport by your tour manager who will then whisk you away to your hotel for some relaxation and a welcome sunset Pilates session. This evening we will meet for our first aperitivo to toast your arrival in Italy, followed by your first opportunity to sample local Pugliese cuisine.(D)

Day 2 Hiking, beaches and picnic in the Gargano

Today we head into the Gargano area to enjoy a short hike through the woodland before we picnic on local produce and enjoy some time at one of her spectacular beaches.

In the late afternoon we return to the hotel for a sunset Pilates session and then your evening is free. (B, L)

 Day 3 Helicopter ride to the Tremiti Islands including beach time there

We hope you have a head for heights, as today we whisk you by helicopter to the Tremiti Islands, truly a spectacular sight. After some time to explore the beaches and free time for lunch, we return to our hotel for a late afternoon Pilates session, followed by another superb Pugliese dinner.(B, D)

 Day 4 Trani and Polignano a Mare

We start today with a sunrise Pilates session, after which we head to Trani, a lovely port town, once home to southern Italy’s largest Jewish community. We visit its stunning Apulian-Romanesque 11th century cathedral and wander the little streets of the old town, including sampling local delicacies. Trani is also a ‘citta slow’, where they emulate the slow food movement by slowing down the pace of life, just as we seek to slow down the pace of travel. Here you can enjoy a walk around and then lunch perhaps in one of the restaurants adorning the harbour. We then head out to see the unique, eight sided castle of Federico II, the Castel Del Monte. This castle dates back to the thirteenth century and appears on Italy’s One Euro coins.

We then continue onto the home of ‘Mr Volare’, Domenico Modugno, Polignano a Mare, for some free time before a surprise dinner. (B, D)

Chapter 2: Lecce – The Florence of the South

Day 5 Trulli houses and lunch with a local

We head inland today, to the land of the Trulli, Alberobello. Trulli houses are stone huts with conical roofs and are typical of the Itria Valley. Initially they were constructed as a way of avoiding paying taxes to the rich property owners, as they were originally temporary structures which could be dismantled quickly. After a wander and peek into the Trulli houses, we then go to Martina Franca for an aperitivo before heading to a local’s house for lunch. We then continue our journey south to Lecce for a late afternoon Pilates session, followed by a free evening.(B, L)

Day 6 Lecce guided tour including sampling local food and wine tasting

We start with a morning Pilates session, after whichwe set out to explore Lecce with a local expert who will take us to see Lecce’s famous cathedral and Roman amphitheatre among other things. Lecce is over 2,000 years old and is called the Florence of the South for its beautiful buildings of limestone. Ourwalk includes an opportunity to taste all the local delicacies such as puccia, the famous flatbreads for which this region is famous. The afternoon is free for further exploration followed up by an evening of wine tasting in nearby Taranto. The Salento region is famous throughout Italy for its wines, traditionally the red grape variety, thanks to the fertile soil of this area. This evening we will have a chance to learn more about the art of winemaking, followed by a tasting and supper.(B, D)

Day 7 Beach day in Porto Cesareo

Puglia’s beaches have sea to rival the Caribbean, so today we will head to one of her most famous beach resorts, Porto Cesareo.

We begin with a beach Pilates session, followed by smoothies at the beach.

Then we will have the opportunity to swim and relax, perhaps taking refuge from the midday sun in one of the cafes that line the beaches.

In the late afternoon we return to Lecce as you by now have become experts in all things Pugliese, and we will put your knowledge to the test, as we will enjoy a cookery lesson where you can discover more of the history of Pugliese food and the traditions, followed by the best part, the eating. (B, D)

Day 8 Departure

Time to say arrivederci Italia (until the next time).

Private transfers to the airports of both Bari or Brindisi, dependent upon where you are flying from. (B)

INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:

Accommodation & Services:

  • 4 nights in the Bari province and 3 nights in Lecce.
  • Centrally located, upmarket hotels/resorts.
  • The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip (dependent upon group size; please contact us for more information).
  • Transfers to and from the airport.
  • Private transport, unless otherwise stated.
  • All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
  • We will be visiting: the Gargano region, Tremiti Islands, Trani, Castel Del Monte, Alberobello, Martina Franca, Altamura, Polignano a Mare and Lecce.

Food & Beverages:

  • Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated) (B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner).
  • When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
  • Aperitivi, coffee and snacks where stated.

 Entrances & Tickets:

  • Lecce cathedral
  • Roman amphitheatre in Lecce
  • Castel Del Monte

Guided Tours:

  • Castel Del Monte
  • Lecce
  • Trani
  • Gargano region
  • vineyards wine tour

Activities:

  • helicopter ride to Tremiti islands
  • hands-on cooking class and supper
  • outdoor sunset yoga session
  • outdoor morning yoga session
  • guided tasting tour of Lecce
  • guided tour of Traniincluding sampling local delicacies
  • visit to Castel Del Monte
  • visit to local for lunch
  • vineyards wine tour
  • guided trek through the Gargano with picnic lunch
  • A surprise (we are, after all, children at heart)

NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:

  • Flights not included. I suggest that you book flights to Bari and then out of Brindisi, or, alternatively, round trips to Bari.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Visas, where applicable. (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when traveling to Europe).

 

Customised itinerary designed by Lucy Loves Travel Ltd.

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