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Premium Puglia


Dreamy beaches, inspiring architecture and ancient wonders come together on an 8-day Premium adventure through Italy’s Puglia region. Understated and unbelievably beautiful, this lesser-visited corner of Italy delivers in historical, cultural and natural sights. Begin in the coastal town of Polignano a Mare, admire unusual trulli buildings in Alberobello, stay in a former palace in Nardo, explore ancient sassi homes in Matera and discover the well-preserved ruins of Pompeii. With a local leader by your side and expert guides joining you along the way, you’ll really get a kick out of this adventure.

8 days, from

$5,503

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMPM
Style: Premium
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited: 
Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel (5 nights), Feature Stay (2 night)
Transportation: Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Spend two nights at your spectacular Feature Stay accommodation in Nardo. Once a 13th century Baronial Palace, then a 17th century Carmelite monastery, the historic property has been converted into a fabulous hotel with modern comforts.

  • Join an expert local guide to learn about and explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii, destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD.

  • Explore the truly unique town of Alberobello under the guidance of a local expert. Alberobello is famed for its thousands of fairy-tale trulli homes built in the 14th century.

  • Discover an awe-inspiring maze of ancient sassi homes in the town of Matera, believed to be the third-longest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world.

  • Visit a local olive oil producer on a farm that has been active since Roman times. Learn how production techniques have changed over the centuries, taste the farm’s olive oil, and dine on delicious regional specialties.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Polignano a Mare

Benvenuto! Welcome to Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. Your adventure kicks off in the coastal town of Polignano a Mare, where you’ll be collected from the Bari airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. A welcome meeting will take place here at 6pm for you to meet your local leader and the fellow travellers joining you on your adventure. If you arrive with time to spare, Polignano a Mare is blessed with beautiful beaches, coves and caves to explore. Feeling peckish? Why not pop into a local cornetteria for a decadent Italian croissant. After your welcome meeting, get to know your group over an included dinner, where your local leader will introduce you to Puglia’s cuisine.

Day 2: Polignano a Mare

Leave the coastline behind as you travel inland by private vehicle to the little town of Alberobello. Set among a tranquil landscape of olive groves, the town is famed for its unique beehive-shaped trulli; dwellings built from limestone in the 14th century. While the origins of the buildings are unclear, one theory suggests the houses were created to be easily dismantled in a feudal tax-evasion scheme. Whatever their purpose, the buildings truly are a sight to behold and make the Apulia region unlike anywhere else in the world. Join a local guide for an insider’s look at the town, wandering through the old town quarter of Rione Monti, dotted with thousands of trulli, and Rione Aia Piccola, where trulli still serve as family homes. Your guide will point out the different shapes of spires and the religious and mystic symbols adorning the roofs. Finally, stand in awe of the Church de Sant’Antonio, a huge cathedral built in the trulli style. Return to Polignano a Mare for an evening at leisure – your leader will have tips on the best places to grab dinner tonight.

Day 3: Nardo

This morning, travel to the small city of Ostuni and explore its whitewashed streets flanked with Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine buildings. Then, continue to a local olive oil producer on a farm that has been active since Roman times, with some trees thought to be close to 3000 years old. Here you’ll learn how production techniques have changed over the centuries, taste some of the olive oil for yourself, and enjoy an included lunch of regional favourites. From here, continue your journey south, arriving in the beautiful city of Lecce. With its ornate baroque buildings, lively university and ancient Roman ruins, Lecce’s narrow streets are a delight to explore. Let a local guide show you hidden corners and share the city’s history with you this afternoon, then later in the day, travel out to the quiet town of Nardo. Here you’ll settle into your Feature Stay accommodation, a 13th century Baronial Palace converted into a spectacular hotel by a local architect. Spend the evening exploring the hotel and grounds, featuring artwork and sculptures by local artists, as well as a citrus grove and excellent onsite restaurant.

Day 4: Nardo

Before breakfast, you may like to take a walk through your Feature Stay’s historic ‘secret garden’ where it seems as if figures from days gone by could walk around the corner at any minute. Join an expert local guide for a walking tour through Nardo’s charming old town where there are more than a dozen grand palazzos, many of which were once home to the region’s nobility. Your guide will also point out the town’s many fine museums which you may like to visit this afternoon. And of course, you will stop at Piazza Salandra. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful baroque squares in the whole of southern Italy, you may like to return here this evening to join the locals for passeggiata, an early evening stroll that’s a tradition throughout Italy. This afternoon, perhaps head to the beach, which is only 15 minutes away, or join a pasta making or wine tasting class at your hotel.

Day 5: Matera

Enjoy a final morning at your Feature Stay hotel, sitting back with a coffee and soaking up the scenery. Then it’s time to say goodbye and travel on to Matera, an ancient city perched on a rocky outcrop. And when we say ancient, we really mean it – Matera is believed to be the third-longest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world. You’ll be exploring the city’s famous sassi houses in depth tomorrow, so this evening why not take a walk around Matera to discover its churches, traditional restaurants and thousands of years of human history.

Day 6: Matera

Today you will dive into Matera’s incredible old town, made famous by sassi; more than 3000 stone houses formed from natural grottoes and tufo cliffs, some dating back as far as the 8th century. Join a local guide who will lead you through a labyrinth of staircases and alleyways that cut their way through limestone ravines, dipping in and out of ancient sassi houses as you go. Up until the late 1950s, the sassi were considered the ‘Shame of Italy’ due to the gruelling living conditions and poverty suffered by those who lived here – a result of the city’s rapid population growth. The Italian government intervened, and 15,000 inhabitants were forcibly relocated. Today, the sassi are undergoing extensive restoration, with some dwellings featuring exhibits that recreate inhabited caves. You’ll also pay a visit to an ancient underground neighbourhood, made up of houses, streets. cisterns, and churches.

Day 7: Naples

Begin the day by driving to the storied town of Pompeii, home to one of Europe’s most well-known archaeological sites – the ruins of Pompeii, caused by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today you will join a local guide to discover the remains of this once thriving Roman trading centre. After the eruption, the city was covered in a layer of ash and remained undisturbed until the 18th century, when the ruins were rediscovered. Walk among well-preserved villas, temples, theatres, markets and chariot-marked streets, and visit the magnificent amphitheatre and the ‘Villa of Mysteries’ as your expert guide helps you to imagine what life here once looked like. You can also visit the Roman Forum and basilica, temples, public baths, and the tiny Odeon created for music recitals. Later in the day, travel to the buzzing city of Naples where you will join your group for a final dinner and a chance to look back on all you’ve seen on your journey.

Day 8: Naples

Your Italian adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you would like to spend more time discovering Naples, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability).