- Soak up the rich culture of this southern Italian region, home to some of the country's best olive groves
- Stay in intriguing, chic and historical hotels, equipped with gourmet restaurants
- Enjoy a cooking class at a traditional masseria (farmhouse), a visit to the rock churches of Matera and a tour of ‘the heel of Italy’s boot’, including Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca and Otranto
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ARRIVAL IN BARI
Your southern Italian adventure begins today, with a three-hour flight from London to Bari. Upon arrival, collect your hire car and drive to Savelletri di Fasano, your home for the next three nights. Savelletri is a charming coastal hamlet, set among the ochre hues of the Puglian region and the clear, gentle waters of the Adriatic Sea. Settle into your hotel and start your trip as you mean to go on, with some delicious Puglian food for dinner, before retiring to your hotel room for a good night’s sleep.
SAVELLETRI DI FASANO
Your first full day in Puglia is all about the finer things in life, namely good food and world-class wine. Wheat, olive oil, vegetables and fish are the pillars of Puglian cuisine, and you’ll get up close and personal with each of these ingredients during a private cooking course at a traditional masseria (Italian farmhouse). It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Italy is home to some of the best food in the world, and Puglians tend to argue that their cooking is the crème de la crème of Italian cuisine. The region is renowned for its wide variety of pastas, including orecchiette (meaning ‘little ears’), and baked products such as friselle (Altamura bread), taralli (made from yeast-free dough) and panzerotti (stuffed pizza dough pockets). Your cooking experience will begin in the masseria’s vegetable garden, where you’ll pick various seasonal fruits and vegetables, before joining the chef in the kitchen to cook a traditional recipe with your gathered ingredients. After taking the time to perfect your dishes, you’ll have the chance to sample them, alongside some regional wines.
Nicknamed the White City (or ‘Citta Bianca’) in honour of its whitewashed old town, the beautiful town of Ostuni sprawls across a hilltop between Bari and Lecce. Paved alleyways meander through the old houses, where many local artisans can be found, while the 15th-century Gothic white stone cathedral stands tall and elegant over the town. Explore Ostuni’s architectural highlights alongside an expert guide, who will show you inside the cathedral, reveal the town’s history and take you for an olive oil tasting at another traditional masseria. Here you’ll also get to see the original oil mill in operation and learn about the olive oil production process.
TRAVEL TO MATERA
Enjoy a final leisurely breakfast at your Savelletri hotel, before hopping in your hire car and driving one-and-a-half hours to Matera, where you’ll stay for the next two nights. The town is best known for its fascinating cave dwellings, which are carved into the surrounding limestone and were inhabited from ancient times up until the 1950s. Since then, the caves have been the subject of intense rehabilitation work and are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of the rock churches are open to the public and decorated with ornate Byzantine frescoes. As part of your itinerary, we can arrange a walking tour of the town with a private guide, which includes visits to the most significant sites and the Sassi caves.
Today you’ll depart from Matera and drive to Lecce, a journey which takes around two hours. Located further into the ‘heel of Italy’s boot’, Lecce is known for its baroque-style buildings and Roman amphitheatre. Some of the city’s standouts include the central Piazza del Duomo, the Cattedrale di Lecce and the Basilica di Santa Croce. Spend your first evening admiring the architecture in the centre and sampling some of Lecce’s cuisine, before relaxing in your hotel, ready for another day of exploring tomorrow.
EXPLORE ITALY’S HEEL
Beautiful sandy beaches and sun are not the only reasons to visit the Salentine Peninsula, and today you’ll explore the ‘heel of Italy’s boot’ in more depth. Southwest of Lecce, the coastal town of Gallipoli remains an important fishing town to this day, where fishermen can be seen sitting in the shade mending their nets. Tour the town with a local guide and enjoy some delicious fresh fish for lunch from the nearby fish market. From Gallipoli, you’ll then head to Santa Maria di Leuca, renowned for its stunning sandy beaches. The final stop on your tour is Otranto, another charming seaside town, still partially enclosed within medieval walls.
Sadly your southern Italian adventure comes to an end today. After one final indulgent breakfast (make sure to grab as many Puglian pastries as possible), you’ll drive to Brindisi Airport and return your hire car. From here, you’ll catch your flight home to London, which takes approximately three hours.
A la carte
Ostuni on a private tourThe 'white city' is reminiscent in some ways of the villages of the Greek islands. Situated in the province of Brindisi, a few miles from the coast, this picturesque old town, entirely painted with white lime, is a maze of streets perfect for exploring. A beautiful cathedral catches the eye, as does the church of Saint Vito, also known as Saint Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, which houses a small archaeological museum where visitors can find a cast of Delia, a young woman who lived there 25,000 years ago. An olive oil tasting in a masseria completes the tour of the city.
Optional - With private guide
Baroque Lecce and pasticciottiA guided walking tour through the most iconic squares and streets typical of the local 'barocco leccese' style. Admire the 16th and 18th-century facades, and along the way make a stop for the famous Puglian pastry, the pasticciotti: little shortcrust pastry cases filled with egg custard.
Optional - With private guide
A Rough Idea of Price
- Flight to Bari and return from Brindisi with a regular airline
- Airline taxes
- Three-night stay in Savelletri di Fasano in a double room with half board
- Overnight stay in Matera in a double room, with breakfast
- Three-night stay in Lecce in a double room with breakfast
- Tour of Ostuni with a private guide
- Tour of the Sassi, with a private guide
- Tour of Lecce with a private guide
- Eight-day car hire, insurance included
- A private cooking class in a masseria
- A tour of Gallipoli with a private guide followed by lunch at the fish market
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