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Puglia: Discover The Heel Of Italy

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highlights
  • Baroque Lecce and cristal-clear sea in Salento
  • 'Trulli' houses in Alberobello
  • Enjoy a fun cookery class and wine tasting
  • Visit the unique UNESCO town of Matera
The Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy tour starts and ends in Lecce. The Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy is a Food Tour that takes 8 days taking you through Lecce, Italy and other destinations in Italy.

Puglia, known for its whitewashed hill towns, traditional farmland, fine cuisine and sweeping Mediterranean coastline, is Italy’s southern heel and, until recently, its best kept secret. With a focus on art, architecture, traditions and local cuisine, this trip explores the region’s highlights. From Baroque Lecce, known as the ‘Florence of the South’, we travel to the elegant white city of Ostuni and on to the mediaeval coastal town of Otranto, where winding narrow streets conceal perfect Baroque churches. Matera is also visited, a UNESCO listed town carved into bare limestone rock, where centuries-old caves are still inhabited.
customer reviews
4.6 - Excellent Based on 9 reviews
Puglia
4 - Very Good
“An interesting and vey varied trip. Sara our group leader was delightful and efficient. It was a busy itinerary, very enjoyable, maybe not quite as leisurely as one may have thought it would be.!”
I fell in love with Italy
5 - Excellent
“An excellent trip. The pace of the trip is perfect. A week flew by and we felt we had been all over the Puglia region. So much to do and see in such a short space of time and yet we managed to relax and get some free time in too. The food was outstanding, the wine was delightful, the people were a pleasure to be around. Every stage of the trip was enjoyable and slightly different.”
Trullis, Olive trees and Negative Architecture
4 - Very Good
“Very good exposure to the cave dwellings, trullis and olive groves in the Puglia region. Marinella was an excellent guide who provided us with the background and context in a clear and simple manner. She also took care to introduce us to the variety of foods available in the region - which we may have missed out on if this care was not taken.”
Discover the Heel of Italy
5 - Excellent
“A pleasant and rewarding few days in one of the lesser-visited parts of Italy. Gentle visits to picturesque towns and villages taking in the cuisine and culture were ideal for a group of 11 ranging in age from about 40 into the mid 70s. Travelling in May avoided the blistering heat which followed throughout the summer. There was plenty of free time in which the group could do their own thing. Accommodation was excellent throughout, particularly the Trulli of Alberobello, and caves of Matera.”
Our tour starts in Lecce, the Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy located in the heart of Puglia. Sometimes described as the 'Florence of the South', the city is a real architectonic gem boasting sumptuous palazzi and churches.*Standard Hotel*
Our week starts with a transfer to pretty Otranto, the easternmost town in Italy. The day will be spent exploring the town’s mediaeval centre and its pretty architecture, views, sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches which make it one of Puglia's most interesting and picturesque towns. We will also visit the delightful Romanesque cathedral, dating back to 1088 and boasting extensive 12th century floor mosaics. After lunch we have the opportunity to join our tour leader for an optional gentle coastal walk following the Salento picturesque coves and creeks (approx. 3hrs walking, 8 km). Those who prefer not to take part in this activity may decide to continue exploring the town at their own pace, or perhaps to relax in one Otranto’s beaches, famous for the picture-perfect clear water (seasonal). Late afternoon transfer back to Lecce.**
In the morning we enjoy a guided visit of Lecce, arguably one of the best and most distinctive Baroque cities in Europe. Most of the buildings here are built in the soft local stone, with pretty decorations and cherubs covering facades and doorways. During our walking tour we will have time to admire several architectonic gems, including the top Baroque monument in town: the extravagant Basilica di Santa Croce, ornamented with strange beasts and allegories. Lecce is also famous for a centenary tradition of papier-mâché (chewed paper) and you have the option to visit a local laboratory at the end of the tour. Early afternoon we transfer by private minibus to the charming hilltop town of Ostuni, famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. Before reaching the town we will make a stop in a traditional masseria and visit the ancient underground oil mill. The interesting tour will end with an olive oil tasting! Once in Ostuni, there will be some free time to get lost in the maze of picturesque staircases, alleys, arches and perhaps enjoy some shopping in the local artisanal boutiques. Overnight in Ostuni.*Comfortable Hotel*
This morning will be spent exploring the beautiful countryside around Ostuni, walking through ancient olive groves and vineyards overlooking the Adriatic coast. Along the route we stop for a visit at the archaeological park of S. M. Agnano, where past excavations have brought to the impressive discovery of fossils dating back to the Paleolithic. Before returning to Ostuni, we will enjoy an intersting cooking class followed by a delicious lunch at a traditional ‘masseria’, a typical Apullian converted farmhouse located in a picturesque and tranquil rural setting. Free evening and overnight in Ostuni.
After breakfast we leave Ostuni and transfer to the Castellana Caves, Italy’s most important and biggest cave system. Located at the entrance of the Itria Valley, these caves began to form about 90 million years ago. The tour will take us to more 60 meters depth and will allow us to explore an amazing scenario made of stalactites, stalagmites, concretions, incredible shapes, fossils and canyons. In the afternoon we take another private transfer to Alberobello, home to the famous Trulli (peculiar conical roofed houses) that have made its historical centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a stroll in the picture-perfect colourful alleys we visit a local winery where we enjoy a wine tasting. We spend the next two nights in traditional converted Trulli houses in the historic centre of the town.*Standard Hotel*
Today is free to choose amongst the several activities and excursions available in the area. **
We conclude our week with a full day in one the most interesting, distinctive and memorable tourist destinations in Italy: Matera. Nestled on a hill, overlooking an impressive canyon in the neighbouring region of Basilicata, Matera has only recently gained the deserved spotlight. In 1993 the town was made a UNESCO World Heritage site, for being the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, all carved in bare limestone rock. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, we walk through the town’s famous cave-dwelling districts and learn of the history of this fascinating place. In the afternoon we have time to discover the city at our own pace and visit the world-famous rupestrian churches. Overnight in Matera.*Standard Hotel*
The tour ends in Matera in the morning of day 8.
what’s included
Accommodation
  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite facilities , All accommodation
Meals
  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch/cookery class, 1 wine tasting 
Transport
  • 8 days land only / 8 days flight inclusive
  • Travel by air-conditioned private minibus 
  • London flights
  • Airport transfers for group flights
Others
  • Group normally 6-18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Reverse itinerary (Matera to Lecce) on selected departure dates
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Lecce are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 8 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 18 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Lecce, Italy/ Lecce, Italy
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy
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Payment

A deposit of 205 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 56 days before departure. For any departures within 13 August 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy tour. You can cancel the tour up to 57 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 56 days of departure.
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