Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy - Reverse

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Traveller ratings
4 / 5 from 1 review >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
ADER
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
6–18
Min age:
16

A journey through the enchanting heel of Italy

Reverse Itinerary

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 Matera, a UNESCO listed town carved into bare limestone rock, where centuries-old caves are still inhabited we travel to the elegant white city of Ostuni and on to the mediaeval coastal town of Otranto and Baroque Lecce, known as the ‘Florence of the South’.

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

Key information

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite facilities
  • 8 days land only / 8 days flight inclusive
  • Group normally 6-18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private minibus 
  • Reverse itinerary (Matera to Lecce) on selected departure dates
  • Countries visited: Italy

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner/cookery class and 1 wine tasting (All breakfasts, 1 lunch/cookery class, 1 wine tasting from 2019)
  • All accommodation
  • London flights (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to stay in accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce wherever possible. Our small group size allows us to support smaller hotels and restaurants that do not usually benefit from mass tourism, bringing a positive impact on the overall employment levels and economy in the region.

There are plenty of opportunities for clients to support local enterprise while discovering the heel of Italy. We will have an afternoon tour around an old olive oil mill which concludes with an olive oil tasting. We will also visit a ‘Masseria’, a typical Apulian farm, where we get to try their organically farmed produce. Clients also have the opportunity to learn about traditional recipes through a pasta making class. A visit to the local winery in Alberobello will also be arranged allowing clients to sample wines from the region.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Matera
to
Lecce
  • Day 1

    Start Matera.

    Our tour starts in Matera, one the most interesting, distinctive and memorable towns in Italy.

  • Day 2

    Sightseeing in Matera, including a tour of the UNESCO "Sassi" district; transfer to Alberobello.

    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, today we walk through the town’s famous cave-dwelling districts and learn of the history of this fascinating place, followed by some free time to discover the city at our own pace and to visit the world-famous rupestrian churches. In the afternoon we transfer to the charming town of Alberobello, known for its dry stone dwellings also known as 'Trulli'. Wine tasting and overnight in a traditional trullo.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Free day. Visit Polignano a Mare or Monopoli by the Adriatic Sea or enjoy optional activities in Alberobello.

    Today is free to choose amongst the several activities and excursions available in the area. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit to the Castellana caves; olive oil tasting and overnight in Ostuni.

    After breakfast we leave Alberobello 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 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.

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Easy walk in the Ostuni countryside overlooking the Adriatic coast; visit the archaeological park of Agnano; cooking class in traditional masseria.

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Morning transfer and guided tour of baroque Lecce; free time.

    In the morning we transfer to Lecce, arguably one of the best and most distinctive Baroque cities in Europe, and enjoy a guided tour. 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. Free time and overnight in Lecce.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Transfer to Otranto; visit the historic centre; afternoon optional coastal walk or relax at the beach (seasonal); back to Lecce.

    Our week ends 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Lecce.

    The tour ends in Lecce in the morning of day 8.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Combine this trip with

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch/cookery class and 1 wine tasting

In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. To give you just a small list of the types of food on offer in Puglia: Bread from the Murge, durum wheat pasta, olives, the pasta delicacy Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep's ricotta-cheese, Cavatelli with pulses, aubergine and parmesan bake, grilled fish and seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), plus excellent wines. This region is a food lovers paradise and the aboundance of delicious vegetables makes it a perfect destination for vegetarians! On this trip there will be many opportunities to taste the best local specialities, in particular during the produce and wine tasting, cookery class and the traditional lunch included in the itinerary.

Weather

The Puglia region of Southern Italy enjoys a wonderful Mediterranean climate with all year round sunshine and just enough rainfall to ensure that the green is never too far off. Although Puglia covers a large area it is long and narrow - not more than 30km across. This means that you're never far from the sea which has a moderating effect on the weather. Please note that Puglia can be very hot, reaching high 30s in the summer.

Is this trip for you?

Grade: 1 (Leisurely) This is a relaxing week where you can enjoy some real Italian hospitality and sightseeing on foot in the best towns and areas of Puglia. All the transfers will be by private air conditioned vehicle or train. This trip also includes two gentle walks (max. 3hrs walking each), on flat terrain. The walking isn't too strenuous and it is entirely optional, should you prefer not to join the excursions. Be prepared for climbing a lot of steps, sometimes uneven, in Matera and Ostuni during the sightseeing. Please note that Puglia can be very hot, reaching high 30s in the summer. The overall Activity Level for this trip is 1 (Leisurely) meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Trulli houses

All hotels on this trip have been specially selected for their location, character and comfort. We mostly stay in renovated traditional buildings which give a real taste of the typical Apulian architecture. We spend 2 nights in a comfortable and modern hotel located in proximity of Lecce’s historic centre, 2 nights in a traditional 4-star hotel in Ostuni, two nights in authentic Trulli houses (dry stone dwellings) in Alberobello and a final night in a comfortable 3-star hotel in Matera's historic centre.

List of hotels normally used:

3-star Eos Hotel or Hotel President, Lecce 

4-star Hotel La Terra or Sant Eligio Relais or Hotel Palace, Ostuni  

Trulli houses, Alberobello (Trulli e Puglia ,Trulli Holidays or La Corte dell’Astore )

3-star Hotel Sassi, Matera 

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sue Thomson

    Puglia in reverse

    Relaxing trip, access to lesser known area of Italy. Friendly and helpful Fabrizio who looked after us all. Great food and wine and beautiful scenery

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Matera

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, friendly, bubbly and helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it

Dates & Prices

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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