Apulia Discovery, 6 Days
Alberobello | Locorotondo | Cisternino | Polignano | Monopoli | Ostuni | Matera & Lecce
If you love to explore beautiful, historic locations, then the Apulia Discovery tour is perfect for you. Within this excursion, you will discover the secrets of Apulia in all its magnificence. Whilst on route to Apulia, you will stop in Matera, also known as “the city of the Sassi” and enjoy wine and cheese tasting. Small villages, historic locations and heart-warming traditions will all await you on your unforgettable journey to Apulia.
You will arrive at Bari airport and take the transfer to your hotel where there will be a welcome briefing and dinner. You will stay overnight in Alberobello.
Once you have finished breakfast, you will be introduced to your travel guide who will serve as your driver for the day. Here your journey to explore Val d’Itria will begin.
Visiting both Locorotondo and Cisternino, you will encounter many stunning villages, olive trees and vineyards on the way. Arriving first in Locorotondo, which is near to Alberobello, you will have your breath taken away by one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of Italy. The town itself is the main attraction, where you will enjoy an hour or two taking photographs, exploring the streets and stopping for a drink at one of the local cafes.
At the top of the hill, you will find the circular centro storico, which is the historical corner of the town. The whitewashed maze of tiny lanes is simply brimming with historic statues and buildings. Whilst some are humble and faded, the remainder have maintained their grand baroque archways and stunning architectural features.
During the Middle Palaeolithic era, the area of Cisternino was occupied by humans who came across the town via the north and south of Puglia. These tribes left behind reminders of their presence in the tools that they used, like spears, spikes, blades, scrapers and chisels used to engrave bones.
In modern day, Cisternino is a little, charming place to visit. It has been preserved virtually intact for hundreds of years. You will love exploring the narrow streets, white houses, little churches and the sophisticated central piazza. From here, you can view a succession of panoramic views of the countryside, including the rolling hills, dry stone walls and Trulli roofs that pierce the green fields.
While Cisternino is beautiful at any time of day, the magic really happens in the late summer’s evening at sunset when the local people start to emerge for their evening stroll. You will enjoy a wine and cheese tasting here, followed by a lunch in a stunning setting in Masseria. During lunch, you can enjoy the backdrop of the green olive trees and the deep blue Adriatic sea.
Returning back to Alberobello, you will have some free time to wander around the city on your own. It is a captivating place to explore and is made especially absorbing because of the trulli – the traditional dome-shaped buildings crafted out of the local stone. The whole town is surrounded by traditional Puglia olive groves and vineyards. The word Trulli originates from the Greek word “tholos”, which means “dome”, and refers to the popular dome shape given to the local buildings. Every single trullo is whitewashed and built without lime or cement, and has a conical roof on top. The inside of the roof is dome-shaped and has a central square section that can communicate to the arcades with the kitchen and habitable rooms. You will remain in Alberobello overnight.
Next on your adventure is Ostuni, Polignano and Monopoli. Sitting alight three hills, over 218 meters above sea level, Ostuni is known as the “White Town”, because of the distinctive whitewashed houses at the historic center. This is a tradition that the locals have kept alive.
The town is prevailed over by the fifteenth century Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, whose façade displays a 24-rays rose window of unique splendour. From there, the town is embellished with a number of churches and stunning houses and encased with Aragonese walls, holding two historic town gates – Porta Nova and Porta San Demetrio.
From there, fifty miles south of Bari, the small town of Polignano is elegantly positioned on the outskirts of a rocky gorge. Polignano is known to be one of the oldest foundations in Puglia and has been occupied by invaders over the years, including the Huns and the Normans. Visitors to the town enjoy visiting the caves, watching the crashing waves and selecting their favourite treat at the panifici (bakery) in the historical center of town.
The locals in Monopoli call the heart of their town “Paese Vecchio”, where you will discover a unique collection of cultural heritage and churches mixed together. The small, charming houses that were once occupied by fishermen and farmers, now lay home to their children who have dedicated their lives to creating outstanding, distinctive wines. As you walk through the narrow streets, feeling the sea air on your face under arches and alleys, you will catch the smell of freshly hung laundry, or bubbling tomato sauce that has been cooking for hours. You will return to Alberobello for an overnight stay.
On your fourth day of adventure, you will have time to explore the city of Matera. This is an ancient city that feels like it has been in existence for all time. As the third oldest city in the world, following Aleppo and Jericho, it has over ten thousand years of history to soak up.
Upon seeing the natural cavities that have been carved by the wind and rain, and the first man-made caves, you will learn how easily the limestone material of the Sassi rock can be shaped. This is why real underground homes can be found in the caves deep down in Mother Earth and will take your breath away. The structure has been weaved in a way that has intrigued experts for years and it has helped them to understand how it is possible to live without running water. The systems that have been built allow inhabitants to collect water and this is one of the reasons that Matera has been named a World Heritage Site.
Matera is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful churches, including the Duomo on the Civita. You can wander through the traffic-free square, walk down the idyllic alleys and continue your journey in the heart of the two Sassis. At the end of the day, you will stay overnight in Lecce.
After a rest, you will meet your guide in the afternoon and enjoy a tour of the town that has been dubbed the “Florence of the South”. Lecce has solid Messapian roots, leading back to those magnificent and mysterious people living there before the Romans. Nowadays, visitors are welcomed to enjoy the stunning baroque architecture, which languishes brilliantly on the portals of the palaces and facades of the countless churches lining the streets. The town is protected by the city’s three ancient gates: Porta Rudiae, Porta San Biagio and Porta Napoli. You will remain in Lecce overnight.
You will return to Bari airport via transfer for the return journey home.
The hotels might be replaced with similar ones due to lack of availability.
• 5 Overnights at centrally located 4 star hotels
• Daily Breakfast
• Arrival & Departure Transfer
• Tour Escort service
• Excursion to Polignano, Bari and Ostuni
• Excursion to Alberobello & Locorotondo
• Wine tasting in Locorotondo
• Olive oil & Cheese tasting in Alberobello
• Transfer from Alberobello to Lecce with en route stop in Matera
• Guided Visit of Lecce
• City Tax to be paid locally
• Drinks on meals
• Porterage at airport
• Tipping for guide, driver and hotel staff
• Any Insurance
• Any Item, product or service not specifically listed under “Inclusions”
Prices may vary according to dates of travel.