TRIP IN PUGLIA: WINE, OIL, FOOD AND ART
Day 1 – Arrival / Monte Sant’Angelo
Morning arrival in Bari airport and transfer to our motorcoach to Monte Sant’Angelo. Dinner at our hotel, Palace Hotel San Michele.
Day 2 – Monte Sant’Angelo / Vieste / Mattinata
In the morning, we will visit Vieste, a small town spilling down the hillside and the area’s most spectacular beach, a gleaming wide strip backed by sheer white cliffs and overshadowed by the towering Scoglio di Pizzomunno, an enormous rocky monolith. From Vieste if the weather permit, it is possible to roganize a boat cruise. There is no better way to admire the beauty of the Gargano than from the sea. Look up to white villages perched on cliff tops, drift into secluded coves and visit the grottoes and beaches that pepper the dramatic coastline. We will end our drive along the beautiful coastline at Mattinata, a quiet and picturesque coastal village. This whitewashed village, with little houses facing the sea, is built on top of two hills and surrounded by mountains Monte Sacro and Monte Saraceno, which create a wonderful backdrop to the village with vast green olive groves that complete this beautiful landscape. After the visit we will return to Monte Sant’Angelo. A guided tour will take us to such noted sites as the Catholic sanctuary on Mount Gargano, the “oldest” shrine in Western Europe, an important pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dinner at our hotel.
Day 3 – Cerignola / Castel del Monte
Morning departure to Barletta, our next base. Enroute a visit will be made to Cerignola, a center of agricultural development in Southern Italy as a result of thoughtful land reclamation. Cerignola is also known for the Bella di Cerignola, The Bella of Cerignola olive is renowned for its large size, attractive appearance, and texture of its pulp. We will visit a very traditional olive farm to taste this regional specialty. After Cerignola our next stop is a famous winery “Azienda Rivera”, guided tour to the winery. After the visit, wine tasting accompanied by snacks of a local products. A very important example of Swabian architecture, the Castel del Monte, is our next interest. It was built by Frederick II of Swabia. The castle is unique for its simple octagonal shape and for the eight octagonal towers that ring it. The perfection of the harmony between elements originating from different cultures, and the aura of mystery surrounding it, make this imposing fortress a unique masterpiece, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dinner at our hotel in Barletta.
Day 4 – Barletta / Trani
The morning will be devoted to exploring Barletta. Barletta features medieval traits, such as the white 12th century Castle, premises of the Museo Civico where important works dating back to ancient periods are exhibited. Some of the interesting monuments to admire during a guided walk in Barletta are the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major), built on an ancient Romanesque framework; the Colosso, an imposing 4th century bronze statue; and the Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro (Holy Sepulchre Church), a balanced stratification of different styles. We will head toward Trani. A visit to Trani is an unforgettable experience for any visitor sensitive to artistic beauty, to be borne out by visits to the seafront Romanesque Cathedral, dedicated to San Nicola Pellegrino (1097), dominating the harbor with its rose-pink façade and the elegant bell tower; the Ognissanti (All Saints) Church built by the Templar Knights during the 13th Century; the Monastery and Colonna Church, the San Francesco Church. Our tour ends with a visit to Palazzo del Dogi of Venice and the Synagogue of Giudecca, once a Jewish ghetto and refuge. In the town wine tasting of the “Moscato of Trani”. Dinner in our hotel of Barletta.
Day 5 – Bari / Alberobello / Cisternino
On our way to Ostuni we will stop to visit Bari, a prominent seaport and one of the top commercial and industrial cities in Italy. People now call it “California of the South” for its recent rapid growth. A notable attraction is the Basilica di San Nicola, a splendid example of Puglian-Romanesque style. The basilica was built to house the relics of St Nicholas (better known as Father Christmas), and is a pilgrimage site that dates to the 11th and 12th Centuries. Charming is the walk along the medieval city walls, we will see from one side the see and from the other side the historical center of Bari. Bari’s new town boasts a long street with shops selling gifts and souvenirs, artisanal pasta and cheeses, as well as stationers with handmade diaries. Tasting lunch in typical restaurant with many small samples of products of Puglia. After the lunch transfer to Alberobello and visit to this unique town, you can admire the Trulli, little cute circular houses entirely built of rocks. Alberobello is, the capital of Trulli and Unesco World Heritage. Free time to spend through the charming streets of Alberobello, maybe stepping inside one of the trulli – you will receive a warm welcome from the owner. Transfer to our hotel in Cisternino, dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Cisternino / Martina Franca
After breakfast trasfert to the city of Cisternino. It grew during the Middle Ages, and the historic center reflects its unique development with “spontaneous architecture,” Our guide will take us to the medieval center with intriguing alleyways, courtyards and arches winding through the bleached streets fronted by staircases to balconies awash in flowers. The town practices the traditional evening stroll (passeggiata). Residents go out to meet each other and eat at – macelleriaeateries, meat markets where your selection is grilled or roasted while you wait. Our next stop is the oldest part of Martina Franca characterized by pointed-roof buildings, a local tradition. Wandering the lanes and alleys you pass 18th Century palaces as well as humbler dwellings, all tall and squeezed together in this small area within the old town walls. Ornate balconies and archways decorate the more elegant buildings, along with fancy baroque windows, and those ubiquitous cherubs. It’s a photographer’s dream. Other attractions include the main entrance to the old town center (centro storico) through a grand gateway, Porto Santo Stefano (also called the Arco di Sant’ Antonio), in Piazza XX Settembre. Just inside the gateway is the pretty little Piazza Roma, one side of which is dominated by the Palazzo Ducale, or Duke’s palace. Back to the hotel in early afternoon to have a cooking lesson. Some experienced women of the culinary traditions will teach the secrets of the best loved Apulian dishes with local ingredients, like extra virgin olive oil, called the green gold of Puglia. Among the recipes, the typical orecchiette with tomato sauce, the savory focaccia with onion and broad beans with chicory. For dinner we will taste these dishes. After the dinner we will see a folk show, with traditional dances, may be some of you could participate in the dances.
Day 7 – Lecce / Otranto
Lecce is the main city on Puglia’s Salento pennisula. Our first focus is the old city, which we will enter via Porta Napoli with a 65 feet high triumphal arch. At every corner here, we see myriad examples of stone carvings made of soft limestone. Lecce became the center for the ornate architecture called barocco leccese. The abundance of places of worship attested to the city’s attraction of a great number of diverse religious orders over the centuries, including for a time a strong Jewish population. We will visit the Cathedral Square, the Cathedral of the Madonna Assunta that was built in 1144, and the amphitheater built by the Romans that once held 25,000 spectators in the second century AD. It is partially excavated because monuments have been built over most of it. Otranto is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea on its east side. The main feature that drive many people to consider Otranto as one of the most beautiful towns of the Italian peninsula is its breathtaking panorama, characterized by the beauty of the crystal clear water of the surrounding ocean. In fact, together with the beauty of its nature visitors can enjoy a unique experience of walking in an ancient medieval town surrounded by walls (The Old Town) situated inside the town! Another noted place to visit is the 9th century Greek style Saint Peter’s Church known for its array of precious frescoes. Special dinner in our hotel of Cisternino.
Day 8 – Departure
After the breakfast it is time to live. Transfer to the Bari airport. End of our service.