APULIA: The land of cathedrals, castles, trulli, natural beauty and good food
Day 1: Arrival to Bari
Arrival at the airport in Bari and transfer to the hotel in Vieste on the Gargano mountain (2 nights)
Day 2: En route on the spur of the Italian boot
We drive today through one of the most beautiful landscapes of Apulia from Vieste to Monte S. Angelo, where we visit the pilgrimage church of St. Archangel Michael. The archangel is said to have appeared in the spacious grotto. The place is one of the most important pilgrim places of Christendom. Afterwards, we cross the impressive natural landscape of the Foresta Umbra with its unique flora and fauna. Before returning to the hotel there is a short walk through the old town of Vieste.
Day 3: Romanesque cathedrals and castles
Our next destination is Trani, where the Cathedral of S. Nicola Pellegrino – undoubtedly the most beautiful church of the Apulian Romanesque – is located. Afterwards, it is time for a sip of the famous dessert wine Moscato di Trani and a stopover in an oil mill, which produces the actual Apulia gold: the much lauded olive oil. After we continue to Castel del Monte, the crown of Apulia. The most famous monument of the Emperor Frederick II, unique in its octagonal shape, was built according to precise rules of algebra and astronomy. Continue to the hotel in the Monopoli – Fasano area.
Day 4: Landscapes, grottos and Trulli
We cross the wonderful panoramic road of Selva di Fasano to Castellana Grotte: the fairy world of a dripstone cave made of stalactites and stalagmites. Afterwards, we will enter the limestone plain of the Murge to Alberobello, the capital of the Trulli, but not before we have taken some culinary delicacies. On a small winery, a tasting of the typical red wine of the region, the so-called Primitivo, awaits us. In addition, excellent regional products based on linseed and almonds are presented.
Day 5: Baroque and floor mosaics
The destination today is the south of Apulia, Salento. First we visit the Baroque capital Lecce, the “Florence of the South”, with the Cathedral and the Basilica of Santa Croce, a masterpiece of the Apulian Baroque. Even the remains of the important Roman amphitheater can be seen. We continue to Gallipoli, the “beautiful city” on a small island on the Ionian coast. We follow the charming coast road and reach Otranto passing by the cape Leuca and S. Cesarea Terme, an art-historical gem, with the famous floor mosaic from the 12th Century.
Day 6: Churches and the “Sassi” of Matera
Today, we leave Apulia and drive to the region of Basilicata. On the way lies the town of Altamura, famous for its wooden oven bread and delicious Focaccia, a kind of bread with tomatoes. Afterwards we continue to the extraordinary town of Matera, which is embedded in a deep ravine. We take a walk to the Sassi, the characteristic cave dwellings, which were still inhabited until the 1960s. After a relaxing break in the hotel, we will go to a Masseria, a typical Apulian farmhouse where special Apulian dishes await us. The music of the Pizzica accompanies us, the folklore of Salento. If you want, you can take part in a dance course.
Day 7: Bari and cooking class
The capital of Apulia, Bari, is a lively and cosmopolitan port city, an important trading town and an arriving point for many thousands of pilgrims from Eastern Europe who have only one goal: the Basilica of St. Nicholas. The bones of this saint, worshiped in the East and West Church. After visiting the Basilica, we take a short walk through the old town, past the cathedral and the fortress, and take a look into the kitchens of Bares housewives who produce the famous “Orecchiette”. We leave the city and go to a Masseria, where we can become active and learn the art of cooking, and after taste what we made.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer Hotel – Airport and departure: arrivederci Puglia!