Exploring Italy's Seascapes | Small Towns & Seaside Flavors
8 Days from $6,390 per person
5/20/24 - 5/28/24
Savelletri di Fasano, Bari, Alberobello, Lecce, Matera
Explore the long heel of Italy's boot to discover sights, tastes, and gorgeous seascapes you'll find nowhere else... like Matera, where the Sassi houses are caverns and the streets are sometimes the roofs of other houses... Trulli houses, tiny fairy castles made of limestone slabs, built without mortar... Discover Renaissance frescoes in Galatina. Stay multiple nights in "masserias," fortified 16th-century farmhouses turned into elegant hotels. Enjoy wine and olive oil tastings at vineyards yet undiscovered by the maddening crowds… tour of a medieval castle enticing with soul-stirring views and wines… and meals tempting with bounty of the sea and land...
May 20 | Day 1: Arrive in Bari, then welcome to Matera - Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Palazzo Gattini, Matera. We will meet you upon arrival at Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport on your trip to Puglia, Italy and transfer you to your luxury hotel, set in a 15th-century stone palace in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera in Puglia. Nestled on the tip of Italy's boot, Puglia welcomes with seaside delights, mouthwatering cuisine and entire cities resplendent in art, architecture and warm hospitality. Join us this evening for a rooftop welcome reception, followed by guided sightseeing of Matera with a local guide on your way to dinner at a local restaurant, where you'll experience your first taste of Puglia's enticing cultural delights.
May 21 | Day 2: The Sassi of Matera - Wake up for an early morning private visit to Casa Noha, an Italian National Historic site, then travel aboard a tuk-tuk for a ride through the winding streets of Matera in Basilicata, home to a settlement of cave dwellings that dates back to Paleolithic times – and one that starred in Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, our local guide shares insights about Matera's famous rock dwellings, known as Sassi (for "stone"), which you'll see piled haphazardly atop one another across the sides of a steep ravine; they began back in antiquity as natural caves and grottoes, and over the centuries were adapted as homes, and were lived in until 1960. Back in Matera, enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of the city. The rest of the day is yours to explore as you wish. Lunch and dinner today will be on your own.
May 22 | Day 3: Baroque treasures of Lecce - Drive through the countryside to Lecce today, stopping en route at a winery known for its Puglian Primitivo wine; you'll have a tasting tour that's followed by lunch, then travel to your hotel in Lecce. Join your Tauck Director for an orientation tour of the city, regarded as the "Florence of the South" before some time at leisure exploring as you wish; dine this evening at a local restaurant.
May 23 | Day 4: A day in Lecce & a special evening - A guided walking tour of the city's 300-year-old cobblestone streets includes a close look at its Baroque monuments and architectural site – the ornate 15th-century Chiesa di Santa Chiara; the 2nd-century Roman Amphitheater, unearthed in 1901; the Piazza del Duomo; and the allegorically dressed Basilica de Santa Croce, a must-see site. Dinner tonight is at an authentic masseria, where you'll enjoy a family-style farm-to-table menu that showcases ingredients grown on site and "Officina Zoe" pizzica folk music and dance.
May 24 | Day 5: Galatina and seaside Otranto - Head to nearby Galatina, home of the "Tarantella," for a tour of the Basilica di Santa Caterina d'Alessandria where you will view impressive frescoes depicting biblical stories. On a visit inside the Baroque Chiesa di San Paolo, see the church well that was reputed to have healing powers from magic spiders. After lunch, drive to the fortified seaside town of Otranto for a guided walking tour of its historic sites. See its famous castle and visit its medieval cathedral, home to a magnificent floor mosaic (and wooden coffered ceiling) along with its macabre crypts. Return to your hotel, where your evening is free to spend as you please.
May 25 | Day 6: Trulli houses in Alberobello - Regulated by an edict enforced by the Kingdom of Naples in the 15th century, mortarless buildings and home in the southern region of Puglia called trulli were constructed only of stone during that time, with many still standing distinctively intact today. Today, visit the "barnyard district" of Rione Aia Picola in the town of Alberobello, tightly packed with alleys lined by whitewashed trulli once inhabited by the farmers who built them. There no shops or cars here, lending to the authenticity of this unique experience. See the Trulli Sovrano, the town's only two-story trullo and its most impressive, built in the 18th century for a local priest and today a museum of religious relics. You'll have some time at leisure to explore more on your own and sample a taste of local fare. This afternoon, drive to your masseria hotel in Savelletri di Fasano; all Masseria hotels are inland as they were original farmhouses, not on the sea.
May 26 | Day 7: Seaside Polignano a Mare & a farewell dinner - Built into a rugged ravine pitted with caves and painted with deep blue grottoes, the seaside town of Polignano a Mare is renowned for its cliff diving; for inspiring the 1958 international hit song "Nel blu dipinto di blu" (a.k.a. "Volare") by Italian singer, songwriter, actor and Parliament member Domenico Modugno (who was born here); and, according to the locals, for its ice cream. Enjoy time to wander in town before returning to your resort. Join us for a farewell reception and dinner tonight.
May 27 | Day 8: Journey home - Trip ends: Savelletri di Fasano. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Masseria Torre Coccaro to Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport or Brindisi Airport, regardless of time or day of departure. Ask at booking about extending your stay with additional hotel nights in Savelletri di Fasano or in Bari at Grande Albergo delle Nazione. You should allow three hours for flight check in.
- Two nights in the Baroque city of Lecce, known as the "Florence of the South"
- Lunch at a winery known for Puglian Primitivo wine
- A visit to Alberobello's famous limestone trulli houses
- Guided walking tours of Galatina and Otranto
- 15 meals; airport transfers as noted, gratuities to local guides, service charges, porterage and taxes
- A two-night stay in Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Basilicata, with sightseeing by tuk-tuk and guided exploration of the Sassi cave-dwelling settlement