Apulia and Matera

Apulia and Matera

8 days 7 nights

Apulia and Matera

Stay in a farmhouse and in the Sassi and experience rural millenary civilisation 

Day 1 - Welcome to Bari

Our English speaking guide will meet you upon arrival at Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport.
You’ll be transferred you to your 4 star masseria (country farm restored and now a relaxing confortable hotel) in Valle dell’Itria at about one and a half hour’s drive from the airport.
Located in the heart of Puglia, you will immediately experience the tranquility of this fertile valley characterized by a flourishing vegetation and olive groves, from which one of the most delicious Italian olive oil is obtained.. The Itria Valley is also famous for the white cities, the trulli, the masserias (fortified country farms ) and the vineyards.
Welcome dinner in the masseria.

Day 2 – Valle dell’Itria, Martina Franca Ostuni, olive oil tasting
This morning we are visiting the old center of Martina Franca, rich in finely decorated Baroque churches and noble mansions.We continue towards the so called white city Ostuni.
It's built on the top of the hill and from there you can admire a wonderful landscape of ancient olive trees and at the horizon the deep blue Adriatic Sea..In Ostuni the houses in the historical center are completely whitewashed. Stroll in the narrow streets and staircases of the old town and look around .
Here we’ ll have a luch with local antipasti and other typical products in one of the local small restaurants in the ancient center .
In the afternoon we’ll visit a millenary olive grove and a Masseria, an ancient fortified farmhouse. Taste of Olive oil, wine and other local products. Back to the masseria, dinner.
 
Day 3 – Alberobello, Grotte di Castellana, Polignano a Mare
Today we head towards Alberobello, the town of the Trulli, small limestone houses made with drywall, roughly worked limestone boulders and topped with a conical roof.
Alberobello is a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1996, being an exceptional example of a form of building construction deriving from prehistoric techniques that have survived intact in the modern world. In the countryside of Itria Valley you can find trulli amongst the olive trees, but Alberobello is the only entire town of trulli—1500 of them.
We then drive towards Castellana Grotte, a stunning geological complex, and visit its rock formations and unique stalactites. The “Grotte” began to form about 90 million years ago and it is one of the most important attractions of Puglia.
We will continue towards Polignano a Mare, a characteristic Mediterranean fishing village standing on a rocky cliff. We will walk through the historical downtown, with its houses and terraces directly overlooking the sea. Enjoy some free time to visit, enjoy a n ice cream or a café, or have dinner before coming back to the hotel. Dinner on your own, night .
 
Day 4 – Trani Castel del Monte Matera
Today we’ll leave the Masseria with the luggage.
We will first make a tour in history, with visit of Trani, with its incredible majestic white cathedral dedicated to San Nicola. It is one of the finest examples of Apulian Romanesque architecture and its position overlooking the sea makes this church unique.
We will continue towards Castel del Monte region. We will visit a cheese maker that will reveal the secrets of making Puglia's famous mozzarella and burrata cheese during a tasting demonstration.
A local typical lunch will follow.
We will visit the mysterious Castel del Monte a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 13th century by the Great Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen or Swabia. The emperor was a poet and a philosopher. During his reign, the region became a crossroads between the Roman Catholic Byzantine and Arab worlds and knew a happy and prosperous moment, that soon finished.
The reasons that make this castle so famous and mysterious are multiple: its octagonal shape, the repetition of the number 8 in many elements of the caste, its isolation, the fact that it was not built to defend anything and nobody ever lived here…it was maybe a holy temple for exoteric rites or spiritual retreats, we’ll never know.
We continue towards Matera, in the region of Basilicata. The town lies in a small canyon, which has been eroded in the course of years by a small stream, the Gravina.
Accommodation in a 4 star hotel not far from the city center Or EXPERIENCE THE ACCOMODATION IN ONE OF THE SASSI NOW RESTORED IN BEAUTIFUL HOTELS.
Dinner on your own.
 
Day 5 – Matera
Matera is well known for its historical center called "Sassi", considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993, along with the Park of the Rupestrian Churches. Matera was declared Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019.
Rupestrian churches, houses, caves, and ancient streets create a unique and suggestive landscape, where Mel Gibson chose to shoot the film, The Passion of the Christ. With your guide you will visit the centre and some Rupestrian churches.Lunch on your own. Rest of the day at your disposal to discover this unique and fascinating town. Dinner on your own. Night in Matera. 
 
Day 6 – Taranto Manduria Lecce
Today we are leaving with luggage for our last hotel in Lecce.
Before arriving we stop in Taranto, where you can visite the Museum of Greek culture.
We also stop in Manduria, the heart of primitive wine. Here we’ll start with the visit of the biggest Messapian - a pre-roman population - archeological site in Apulia and finish with the visit of the Museum of the Primitivo Wine, a fascinating journey in the underground where the old nineteenth-century cellar was. The tour includes wine tastings with a Sommelier, made in the winery and local food: enjoy 5 labels (Primitivo di Manduria DOC e Negroamaro IGT), and buffet service: tarallini, cheese, salame, cranu stumpatu (traditional local farmer’s dish: grain in extra-virgin olive oil with onions), almond sweets, water.
The right mix of history, traditions and wine.
We’ll arrive in Lecce in the evening, dinner on your own, night in a 4 star hotel.
 
Day 7 – Lecce , the Florence of the south
Have a relaxing day in Lecce. One of the most striking aspects of Lecce, is the Lecce stone (or pietra leccese) which has been used to construct buildings of the old town. Discover with your guide during our 2 hours walking tour the ancient churches and noble houses with balcony that represent beautiful examples of Italian Baroque art .
We’ll also visit a workshop of papier-mâché artist for a demonstration of this colorful art. Lecce is a place to indulge in some delicious typical dishes, such as the “rustico leccese”.
Lunch and dinner on your own. Night in the hotel.
 
Day 8 – Otranto, Galatina, Gallipoli
Today we’ll visit the Salento, the most southern part of Puglia, home to small and charming towns as Otranto, Galatina, Gallipoli, and where the sea is incredibly blue.
IN Otranto you’ll see the Cathedral and its 12th-century mosaic floor representing the 'tree of life'. This complicated representation takes its subjects from the Bible and the pagan mythology and interwave the Norman, Greek and Byzantine ideas of fate.
In the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria in nearby Galatina, you'll see a wonderful set of Renaissance frescoes depicting biblical stories, including the life and passion of Christ and the martyrdom of Santa Caterina. 

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