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A food-lovers dream, this escorted tour holiday offers a feast for the senses with the very best of the sites, tastes and experiences that Puglia has to offer, all in one unforgettable trip.
You will be met at the airport by your tour guide for the week before being transferred by coach to the 4 star Hotel Relais Porta del Sud. This excellent hotel has a wonderful, rustic Apulian farmhouse aesthetic yet offers all modern comforts and amenities to its guests. Tucked away in secluded and peaceful surroundings, your days at leisure can be spent unwinding by the poolside and there will be evening entertainment on 3 evenings during your stay too.
After breakfast, we will gather and head toward the town of Ostuni. Perched on a hilltop, this historic medieval village is known as the “White City of Puglia”. You will find a maze of quaint and beautiful cobblestone streets lined with beautiful whitewashed houses adorned with flowers. There are centuries old olive groves which surround the town adding to its rustic charm.
After exploring Ostuni, we will head onward on a short journey to a traditional farmhouse or ‘Masseria’ and olive oil mill to taste its incredible produce. Here you will enjoy some traditional Puglian fare and can simply relax, unwind and enjoy.
After lunch, we will head off to experience the beautiful town of Alberobello, famous for its unique, white, round buildings with archetypal conical roofs. The little houses, or ‘Trulli’ give an insight into how farming families and communities lived off the land. A stroll on its cobblestone streets through the cluster of UNESCO recognized trulli is an unforgettable experience.
This morning after breakfast, we will travel to Matera, the lesser-known area of Italy was declared a “must-see” European Capital of Culture for 2019. Its unique “sassi” caves were carved over time into the tufa limestone in which they are found. The layers of houses are astonishing and are now protected on the UNESCO world heritage list. The third longest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world, when you visit the sassi, it seems that you have been transported back to the ancient Holy Land which is why, perhaps, the area has often been used to depict biblical scenes for TV and film, including 'Passion of the Christ'.
Afterwards we will continue on to the town of Altamura, where we will sample the traditional, locally produced sourdough bread, Pane di Altamura. An ancient recipe, this is a delicious durum wheat based bread. For centuries in local agricultural society each family used to prepare a large dough of bread at home. They would then take it to a public oven or 'forno a legna' where it would cook with others made by families from the rest of the village.
Afterwards, we will be returned to the hotel in time to enjoy dinner.
After spending a couple of days exploring this fascinating area of Italy, you now have a day to rest up and spend the day however you choose. You may be happy to take a day enjoying the sunshine and the peacefulness of the hotel’s swimming pool and lounge area.
If, however, you are still thirsty for activities, simply speak to your tour guide about the options available to you today. Puglia is just full of little gems waiting to be explored.
Today’s tour takes us to the beautiful city of Lecce where you will hear about the history of this 2,000 year old place and see some of its most important monuments and sites. You will see many examples of “Lecce stone”, a special limestone that is used by many artists in friezes, sculptures and cornices, due to its easily workable quality. This limestone is often used in the facades of the city, with Baroque architecture so jaw-dropping that it has earned the city the nickname of “The Florence of the South.”
The walking tour will lead you to the city’s ‘Piazza Oronzo’ with its remains of a Roman amphitheatre. You will then be invited to taste a local delicacy and what is considered to be one of the best desserts in Italy - a ‘Passticciotto Leccese’. This famous tart comes in an assortment of flavours, but the traditional combination of custard cream and cherry is what really made this sweet treat so well-loved.
We will then take a break for lunch and afterwards make our way towards Otranto, a seaside town close to the easternmost point of Italy. The city is located where the Adriatic Sea connects to the Ionian Sea, separating Italy from Albania. Its position meant that the area endured many attacks throughout time, from the Greeks and Romans to the Ottomans and up to World War II. The fortified city’s castle stands at the entrance to the old city, which is a lively area with many charming shops and cafés.
After some exploration here, you will be returned to your hotel in time to enjoy a delicious evening meal.
This morning we will visit the sea port town and the ‘Pearl of Puglia’, Trani, where we will have some time to explore. Take some time to admire the town’s cathedral and wander around the beautiful harbour.
We will then board the coach once again and continue through the fields and pasturelands of Puglia before stopping at a local cheese producer famous for the local favourite: Burrata. This delicious fresh cheese has a soft consistency and outer “skin”, with an oozy mouth-feel similar to mozzarella. To bring out its flavour and texture, it is usually served at room temperature. Following the demonstration of how the creamy twisted cheese is made, you will have the opportunity to taste it. You will savour some delicious local produce here.
Our tour then continues on to the beautiful Polignano. The 4th century city of Polignano a Mare showcases many typical Puglian elements: white-washed streets, charming churches, Greek and Roman ruins, crystal clear waters and delicious ice cream. Furthermore, what makes the city a gem on the crown of Italian culture is the fact that the writer of the famous song “Volare”, Domenico Modugno hailed from there.
After some exploration of this beautiful area, we will return to the hotel for the evening.
Spend another day at your leisure today, the perfect time to get some well-earned rest and relaxation in. Should you wish to do more exploration today, it might be the perfect opportunity to visit Locorotondo, a town steeped in history, with roots that date back to the medieval era. It's worth taking some time to explore the town's many churches and other historic buildings and to wander the ancient streets discovering its architectural gems. Your tour guide will offer you assistance should you wish to venture out on your day at leisure.
Today you will enjoy breakfast and check out of your hotel. You can spend some time in the Italian sunshine, before being transferred back to the airport for your flight to return home in the evening.
This property is offered on a Half Board basis. Dinner is 3 course. Welcome Drink Included.
The Relais Porta del Sud hotel is tucked away in a secluded countryside spot in the heart of the Puglian countryside. Its rustic surroundings create a charming and relaxing atmosphere - ideal for this Escorted Tour Holiday. The small town of Ceglie Messapica is a 15 minute drive away by taxi. It's a pretty, historical town in the Provence of Brindisi and is located on a hilltop, about 11km south of Ostuni.
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