Our Puglia tour was designed for food and architecture lovers. It is said that Puglia is the kingdom of stones full of ancient stories and unspoiled nature. Spend just a few moments there and you realize why it has been chosen to be the backdrop for such popular movies like Passion of the Christ and the most recent James Bond movie No Time to Die and even featured in Season 2 Episode 7 of Stanley Tucci’s uber-popular series Searching for Italy! The debut of our Puglia tour is rather timely as it has been receiving more notoriety as the word is getting out and people discover this hidden gem in the heel of Italy.
Our 9-day/8-night experience takes you on a journey split into two locations. The first five nights we spend in a relaxing Masseria (think of it as a farmhouse estate) in the Puglian countryside complete with a relaxing pool. Then we travel further south and spend the last three nights in a Palazzo (a noble family’s palace) conveniently located in the town center of Lecce.
We have worked hard to curate a vacation of food and travel experiences that showcase the things that make Puglia unique -a design hallmark of a Trips2Savor vacation. During this Puglia tour, not only will you stay in a Masseria and Palazzo as listed above, but will visit even more unique structures, such as the conical Trulli homes of Alberobello, the cave Sassi of Matera, the limestone-painted homes of Ostuni, the beautiful baroque facades of Lecce. Enjoy amazing meals in unique venues overlooking the Adriatic Sea, in a tufa cave, and in a medieval fortress!
The experiences we have lined up for you are top-notch! Enjoy a scenic boat ride along the coast, discover caciocavallo at a cheese farm, taste the wine of the Primitivo grape, hone your skills in a cooking class, a food walk in Lecce, and visit with artisans/ateliers in the mediums of stonemasonry, papier mache, olive wood, and ceramics.
It will be my pleasure to accompany you as Tour Leader on this trip to Puglia and introduce you to another part of beautiful and delicious Italy.
Group Transfer from Brindisi Airport (BDS) to our Masseria accommodation. Enjoy a light lunch with wine and begin to recoup from your long travels, relax poolside, and explore your new home for the next five nights. The tour officially starts this evening with an Aperitif followed by a delicious on-premise Puglian-style Welcome Dinner.
We jump-start our postcard-perfect week with a morning boat excursion departing Polignano a Mare along the coast towards Monopoli and back. Enjoy the relaxing ride with views of the natural sea caves and the famous Grotta Palazzese, followed by a seafood lunch served with a sea view from the terrace of a local eatery.
In the afternoon, we visit the Trulli houses of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with our local guide, where we will see the iconic structures with their conical roofs and stop for a visit with a mastro trullaro where we learn how they are built and appreciate Trulli miniatures.
Tonight is a specially prepared dinner at a local farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. We enjoy the delicious cooking of Mara and Marina, and eachother’s company in a 16th-century converted barn as we take in the delightful countryside surroundings in an area that has never been served by public transportation.
After breakfast, we head out to a cheese farm located on a Natural Reserve in Martina Franca. We tour the farm and listen to the makers tell us about their craft. Here, it is not just about the delicious cheese, but also the cured meats that are also made on the premises. Lunch will be a delicious assortment of meat and cheese products, including their aged provolone dolce and capocollo.
After lunch we continue on to the nearby town of Locorotondo, voted as one of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (one of the most beautiful villages of Italy). The town is perched on a hilltop overlooking the Valle d’Itria, a broad fertile valley. Here you will have free time on your own to explore the circular Centro Storico with its little lanes lined with historic buildings.
We are going to go straight to dinner in Cisternino tonight! Cisternino, is a charming town of whitewashed houses, shady streets, historic churches, and elegant piazzas. Here we will experience the famous local barbecued delicacy known as bombette which are made, grilled and served in butcher shop restaurants. Bombettes are flavor bombs – delicious little meat parcels filled with mince, ham, and cheese.
After breakfast, we will head off to a farmhouse owned by the daughters of 3rd generation olive growers. Here we will hone our skills in the kitchen with a cooking class. This is a hands-on experience as we will be learning to prepare some typical Puglian dishes and enjoying them for lunch.
This afternoon we visit Ostuni, lovingly called “La Città Bianca” by Italians because of its whitewashed buildings and walls, refreshed annually with a new coat of limestone paint. On our privately guided walking tour of the old town we will have an opportunity to visit a local artist atelier whose medium is olive wood.
All the experiences of our Puglia tour have been specifically curated for the guests of Trips2Savor, and tonight’s dinner is a surprise. Tonight’s dinner is at a Masseria that makes its own olive oil and enjoys incorporating Slow Food ingredients into its menu. The dinner menu is made specifically for that evening’s guests and changed for every seating, and is always a complete surprise to everyone outside of the kitchen staff — including Pete. Once the menu has been decided by the Chef, it is diarized so it will not be served twice in the same year.
We start off with a visit to a winery in Gioia del Colle where we will have a cellar tour and will quickly become fans of the sumptuous and elegant taste of the Primitivo grape from the Murgian area. It has beautiful colours, from deep-purple red to ruby red, and a fresh, pure nose of red and black berries and herbs and spices. Lunch is paired with their wines.
This afternoon, we will visit what has been called “one of the most unique landscapes in Europe” — the Sassi of Matera. Our tour of the site (a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside) will be Italian-Style as passengers on Ape Calessinos, zipping through this UNESCO World Heritage site.
We head back to the Masseria where we have our final dinner for this portion of the tour. We pack our luggage tonight because tomorrow morning we head south and embark on the last half of our journey together.
Today we begin the second part of our Puglia tour. We check out of the Masseria and head south. Upon arrival in Lecce, we will enjoy a walking food tour of the city, stopping at a papier-mache workshop to learn about this popular art form and see the atelier at work.
Our accommodations in Lecce are in a very convenient location in the city center. Free time to roam on foot and check into the accommodation after 4 pm. Tonight, dinner is on your own. We can provide you with some suggestions if you want to venture out for dinner, or you may choose to take a romantic walk in the city or do some evening shopping… it’s your free time and you do whatever your heart desires!
Today we visit three cities starting with a walk in Otranto, a charming harbor town overlooking the turquoise Adriatic where we will view the stunning Cathedral which houses the largest floor mosaic in Europe – a remarkable 12th-century mosaic depicting the Tree of Life balanced on the back of two elephants.
Next, we head to Gallipoli for a delicious lunch at a restaurant with a sea view, followed by a guided city walk of Gallipoli.
Our final stop will be in Galatina, also known for its elegant sandy-colored baroque architecture and the curative qualities of its church’s well water, which was said to restore to full health those bitten by the dreaded tarantula. And to the foodie’s delight, it is the birthplace of the pasticciotto – a crumbly signature cake pastry filled with egg custard!
Tonight’s dinner will be at a very unique location in the area of Lecce. The restaurant is almost hidden from the main road and located in a natural tufa cave which was once an underground quarry and later used to store wine.
This morning we visit a very special museum in the area of Manduria whose focus is to educate on origin and traditions surrounding Primitivo wine. We will enjoy a fascinating tour of the old cellars that have been converted to a museum and enjoy a lunch paired with the wines made on site.
After our lunch, we head to Grottaglie to enjoy an afternoon walk. Grottaglie is synonymous with ceramics. It is one of about 30 Italian towns allowed to use the official designation Citta di Ceramiche; it also has the distinction of a European Union Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) for its ceramics production – so Grottaglie’s distinctive ware cannot be made anywhere else.
We head back to the hotel and freshen up for our Farewell dinner.
On my research trip, I was fortunate to have met the new General Manager of an amazing historical property in Lecce and she invited us to have our last meal together at their property. Tonight, we dine at a Medieval Tower complex built in 1419 by the 18-year-old Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo, Prince of Taranto. Just like a page out of a fairytale… built on three levels and has a moat. It will be a perfect location to end a perfect vacation.
Today our adventure comes to an end. We check-out of the hotel after breakfast and our group transfer departs for the Brindisi (BDS) airport.
From Lecce, you can catch a flight from Brindisi to other destinations in Italy or take a train back to Bari, Naples, or Rome.
On nights 1 through 5, we will be based in a typical and traditional Masseria located in Fasano, featuring a pool, beautiful air conditioned rooms each with private bathroom with plenty of outdoor space to have your own little slice of paradise.
On nights 6 through 8, we will be based in a noble family’s Palazzo, conveniently located in the historic center of Lecce. Each air-conditioned room has a private bathroom and is beautifully decorated with family heirlooms.
9 Days/ 8 nights lodging (with private bath and A/C)
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily as outlined in the itinerary
Enjoy a glass of beer or wine at each group meal as outlined in the itinerary
Local ground transportation for the entire week to/ from all scheduled activities
Services of a local, English-speaking informal guide for select group activities
All scheduled activities, visits, food and wine tastings, workshops, cooking classes, and demonstrations
Entry fees for select group activities as outlined in the itinerary
International flights and/or other transportation to/ from the transfer point [Brindisi Airport (BDS)]
Tips for Tour Leader, coach driver and local guides.*
Dinner on Day 6 in Lecce.
Optional Travel and/or Medical Insurance
Any other additional meals, drink or other alcoholic beverages not specifically mentioned as included
Souvenirs and other personal expenses
This tour is not suitable for children 12 and under, nor women over three (3) months pregnant. Also, there will be a fair degree of physical activity on this tour and you must be fit enough to walk on steep cobbled streets, gravel, hilly terrain, easy mountain trails and rough farm dirt tracks and stone paths and have a level of fitness which would not spoil other participants’ enjoyment by slowing them down. If in doubt, please consult us before booking.
Group Pickup/Dropoff to/from Brindisi Airport (BDS) in Puglia is included. If your flight falls outside of the group transfer time, we can arrange for private airport transfers for an additional fee.
Tipping is not included in this tour. It’s customary to tip your Tour Leader, bus driver, and local guides as a token of appreciation. Further information and recommended tipping amounts will be sent prior to departure.
Gratuity for waitstaff on meals in tour program are included.
Mostly informal. Shorts, jeans, or slacks are acceptable everywhere. One more dressy outfit for an evening out. Light jacket, sweater or shawl for cool evenings. Good sturdy walking shoes required for daily walks, farm visits and cobbled streets. Pack a swimsuit and sandals for the pool.
Most dietary requirements can be accommodated as long as you tell us in advance. Please bear in mind that this tour focuses on the art of choosing, cooking and eating good food. If your diet is very restricted, or you have significant food allergies, you may not get full enjoyment from it and this tour many not be the right fit for you.
Weather is no longer average, but here’s what the statistics say for a typical end of September / early October in Puglia:
Fasano: Low 64F / High 82F / AVG 74F
Lecce: Low 59F / High 73F / AVG 68F
Brindisi International Airport (BDS) is best. We will provide a group pickup from the airport on day one (typically around noon) and returning on the last day to the BDS airport by noon. You will be asked for your flight details closer to departure time and we will let you know the pickup point.
Absolutely! Some people like to arrive early and explore Bari and then hire a private transfer to the Masseria on day 1. In fact, giving yourself a day or two before is a good idea to ensure you have time to adjust from jet-lag and are well-rested for our adventure together!
Yes, free Wifi is available at each of the accommodations, but service at the Masseria can be spotty at times as it is in the countryside. Yes, each guest accommodation has hairdryers available, so no need to pack one if you need it.
After making your deposit, you’ll get a confirmation email letting you know we’ve received your payment and your booking is confirmed. This email also has a link to an online form that has additional information that we need to complete your booking. Then, as the departure date nears (about 90-120 days out), we’ll be in touch via email with helpful tips and further information.
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Pete
All aspects of every itinerary are subject to change. We ask that you remain flexible as there are often circumstances beyond our control and changes may be necessary.
The trip leader, tour operator and/or tour coordinator reserve the right to make adjustments to the published itinerary whenever, in their sole discretion, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort and/or safety of the group.