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EXPLORE: Bari, Matera, Castel del Monte, Alberobello, Lecce, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, Otranto, S. Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, Galatina, Altamura, Locorotondo.  A magical journey to an ancient, mystical land embraced by two seas, where time appears to have stopped. Strong family traditions, remarkable history, and the region's exceptional cuisine contribute to making Puglia a destination for true explorers.                                                                 11 Days/10 Nights starting at $6,150

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The Puglia Paradise Tour

Pristine beaches, 3,000 years of history, and fresh local food are just the beginning.

11 Days/10 Nights (2 Nights in Bari + 1 Nights in Matera + 4 Nights in Lecce + 3 Nights in Masseria)*

Low Season: $6,150 per person. High Season: $6,550 per person.


Those who love traveling to Italy and have been yearning to experience the authentic lifestyle need to look no further. Here, far away from crowds, you'll see places where traditions are kept at the forefront of daily life, and meal preparation is a ritual to be respected and appreciated every day, with friends, and family. Wander through the maze of cobbled stone streets of charming white-washed towns like Ostuni, Locorotondo, and Otranto, a photographer's delight, where quaint courtyards, ornate staircases, and balconies overflowing with flowers will surprise you at every corner.


Let this lesser-known Italian region pleasantly surprise you with its unexpected history and breath-taking landscapes.


Travel back in time as you visit the amazing caves in Matera, an ancient village carved out of rock, rising above a dramatic landscape of slopes and ravines.
See the peculiar Trulli, cone-shaped dwellings made with dry-stone walls in Alberobello and the surrounding countryside. Ride through the Plain of Fasano, where the fields are dotted with massive thousand-year old olive trees as far as the eye can see. Take a journey in the ancient lands of Negroamaro and Primitivo wines, where you'll visit an elegant boutique winery.
In the elegant city of Lecce, you'll discover the intricate designs of Baroque architecture, view a private "taranta" dance show, and learn about the local craft of papier-mache'.
Food lovers will find a home in this culturally rich region, where you can savor tasty Mediterranean delicacies from both local farms and coastal areas: from fresh-caught fish and seafood dishes, to the artisanal mozzarella called "Burrata" (creamy, rich, and decadent!), traditional meatballs with tomato sauce, home-made "orecchiette" pasta, fragrant extra virgin olive oil, and so much more.




*Nada's Italy works with centrally-located luxury boutique hotels of the highest quality standards and amenities, which we regularly inspect and evaluate. For specific information about accommodations selected for this tour, please contact us with your travel dates.



Overview

  • EXPLORE: Bari, Matera, Castel del Monte, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Locorotondo, Lecce, Ostuni, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, Galatina, Altamura.
  • Experience Puglia with a small group of 6-12 travelers.
  • Savor regional specialties and home-made meals in family-owned trattorias.
  • Stay in a "cave dwelling" turned luxury hotel in Matera and other uniquely luxurious accommodations.
  • Walk up the picturesque cobblestone alleyways of white-washed villages such as Cisternino, Ostuni, Gallipoli, Otranto, among many others.
  • Discover Bari, Lecce, and Puglia's amazing historical sites with expert local guides.
  • Visit a remarkable underground olive mill and learn about how olive oil was made.
  • Learn about the traditional bread of Altamura in the town's 15th century bakery.
  • Explore the Trulli of Alberobello and the Valle d'Itria.
  • Enjoy a tour of a winery that produces the deep, dark, fruity Salice Salentino.
  • Take a fun cooking class making tasty local dishes in a family-owned countryside Masseria.
  • Take a leisure boat ride down the south-eastern coast of Puglia, floating by alcoves and clear blue waters.
  • Visit Castel del Monte, a fascinating 12th century castle wrapped in mystery.
  • Dive into local traditions such as the enthralling Taranta dance and papier mache' crafts.


(Itinerary is subject to change with or without notice. The sequence of day trips may vary. A final itinerary will be given to travelers prior to the start of the trip.)

Friday | Day 1 | Benvenuto: Welcome!

Welcome to Puglia! Start your journey uncovering one of Italy's last hidden gems. Tonight you will rest in a luxury hotel within walking distance of "Bari Vecchia" (the historic district of Bari) and relax after a long trip overseas. Enjoy a leisure walk through the picturesque streets of Bari with our expert City Guide who will introduce you to the main sites, churches, buildings, and traditions that Bari is known for, including the Basilica di San Nicola, which holds St. Nicholas' tomb under its main altar. We'll walk along the ancient walls, so we can better enjoy the view of the sea and harbor. The old town of Bari appears to revel in its own traditions. You may run into old ladies sitting by their front door, kneading fresh pasta and leaving the "orecchiette" (ear-shaped pasta) to dry out in the sun. Enjoy a delicious home-style meal with regional specialties with your fellow travelers.

Meals included: dinner

Saturday | Day 2 | Castel del Monte & Altamura

We'll leave the city of Bari to head inland, where we'll slowly see the stern and imposing Castel del Monte in the distance. This impressive structure dominates the surrounding countryside from a high viewpoint, where nothing interrupts its 360-degree view. There is a strong element of mystery within the castle, built in the 1240's by Emperor Frederick II of Svevia. The intent was not to create a defensive fortress, but rather a study & knowledge center where science, theology, philosophy, and alchemy experts from all over the Mediterranean could meet and exchange their thoughts & findings. The number 8, symbolizing the infinite nature of the Divine, appears repeatedly, almost obsessively, within the 8 rooms, the octagonal base, 8 towers each with 8 sides, and other architectural elements within the castle. We'll take a guided tour of this amazing site, a Unesco World Heritage site since 1996. We continue southwest, towards Altamura, a charming town with beautiful palaces and churches such as the imposing Cattedrale dell'Assunta. Here, we'll stop for lunch and taste the first bakery product in Europe branded "DOP" (a certification that protects the traditional recipe, process, and place of production). The famous Pane di Altamura dates back to Medieval times and is often in the shape of a "priest's hat". We'll visit an ancient bakery where you'll see how this traditional bread is made. After some free time to stroll around Altamura, we continue south and check into our hotel in Matera, then enjoy a group dinner in a local trattoria.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Sunday | Day 3 | Magical Matera

Today we are exploring Matera's deep and complex history through the centuries. Said to be one of the world’s oldest towns, dating back to pre-historic times Matera is known for its "Sassi", incredible cave dwellings dug into the limestone rock. The dramatic landscape surrounding the town as it rises from a deep gorge created by the Gravina river, give Matera an almost surreal atmosphere. Lunch will be on your own in Matera. After we leave the mystical air of Matera, we'll continue our journey south towards Lecce, aka "the Florence of the South". Here we'll check into one of the most elegant parts of the city, where different architectural styles live together in perfect harmony. Enjoy a group dinner, carefully chosen among dozens of local traditional restaurants.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch

Monday | Day 4 | Elegant Lecce

After breakfast, an expert local guide will meet us at the hotel to introduce us to Lecce's famous landmarks including the splendid Roman Amphitheater, the richly decorated Cathedral of Maria SS. Assunta, and a traditional papier mache' shop, where you can learn all about the ancient craft and why it bloomed in Lecce. The way the light reflects on the buildings of Lecce is truly remarkable; making them spectacular by day, almost made of gold, but most strikingly dramatic at night time. We’ll then enjoy a group lunch at a family trattoria near the hotel, whose dishes reflect the most authentic cuisine. After lunch, don't miss the opportunity to explore Lecce's boutiques, bakeries, and piazzas at your own leisure.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch

Tuesday | Day 5 | From the Sea to the Olive Groves 

Leave Lecce and head East for a relaxing day on the water of the Adriatic Sea. From the port of Torre Vado, we’ll be boarding a traditional sail boat that will take us along the beautiful East coast of the region, where pebble beaches alternate with green-blue caves and craggy outcrops facing the clear waters of the Adriatic. Among the others, we will spot Santa Maria di Leuca, the “heel of the Boot”, a popular vacation destination, where many luxury villas were built in the 1800’s. This is what Romans called “Finis Terrae” (meaning: the End of Land), where you are able to see the southernmost point of the European continent from the boat. We’ll enjoy a typical aperitivo on the boat, perhaps take a refreshing swim, then continue the relaxing ride passing by ruins of ancient towers and small fishing villages, slowly reaching our last stop, Castro, before heading back to Torre Vado to continue our journey. Once back in Torre Vado, we’ll get back on the road with our private transportation and head back towards Lecce. We’ll make a stop in Otranto, the easternmost Italian city, with a charming historical center, an imposing castle “Castello Aragonese”, and many picturesque viewpoints of the sea. Not to be missed is the Cattedrale dell’Annunziata, where you can see a massive mosaic floor dating back to the 12TH century, with semi-precious stones depicting the Tree of Life, with fascinating scenes that mix sacred stories with profane ones. Walk around the cobblestone alleys decorated with flowers and stop by hidden gems such as the Byzantine Basilica of Saint Peter’s. Once we return to Lecce, you’ll be able to enjoy dinner on your own.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch

Wednesday | Day 6 | Galatina & Gallipoli

In the afternoon we'll be visiting Gallipoli, a fishing village with beautiful sea views and alleyways lined with clotheslines and locals leaning over balconies, conversing and greeting visitors as they walk by. We continue on towards the west coast, stopping in Galatina, a village where ornate palaces, rich portals, and Baroque churches boast the most elegant embellishments of Rococo' style. A must-see is the Romanesque-Gothic Basilica of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, where you'll be able to admire some of the most breath-taking frescoes from the School of Giotto, of which the importance is only second to the Basilica of Assisi. Before we head out to dinner back in Lecce, we'll be entertained by a local dance crew performing the famous "Taranta", among the most recognized forms of traditional southern Italian folk dance. It's characterized by a fast upbeat tempo, performed by a supposed victim of a "tarantula" bite, who is able to "shake off" through contortions and perspiration the delirium attributed to the spider's venom.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Thursday | Day 7 | Puglia's Wine & Culinary Tradition

Today we'll visit a local boutique winery, where the intense and full-bodied Salice Salentino wine is made from dark purple grapes of Negroamaro (which translated to "black-bitter"). We'll learn about the production of the area, aging techniques, and then sit down for a wine tasting and delicious home-made lunch. We will then drive north, stopping in the village of Ostuni. From the road below, it looks like a mirage of white light. From the ancient town, up the hill, you can see a beautiful coastline wrapped by green fields. The medieval heart of the town, called "Terra", is crisscrossed by narrow alleys, steep stairways, craft shops, family-style restaurants, and small courtyards adorned with geranium planters. The 15th century Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral boasts a rare 24-spoke rose portal. Don't forget to try the legendary "bombette", thin slices of veal stuffed with cheese, rolled, skewered, then grilled. After time for lunch on your own, we'll arrive at our resort in the late afternoon, so you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings, some R&R, then a fabulous group dinner near the resort.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Friday | Day 8 | Cook with a Family in their Masseria

Enjoy a fun group cooking class at a traditional family Masseria, a fortified farmhouse in typical Pugliese style, dating back to the 1600’s. You will be able to sample life in southern Italy with the family's warm hospitality. After lunch with local specialties, we'll head back to the resort, where you can enjoy the rest of the day to relax by the pool, have a massage or spa treatment, spend time by the beach, and completely free your mind. Tonight we’ll enjoy a nice Italian aperitivo in a nearby village. You will be able to enjoy dinner on your own if you're still hungry after the aperitivo.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, light dinner

Saturday | Day 9 | Alberobello and the Trulli

Explore the beating heart of the Valle D'Itria, Alberobello, one of the world's most unique places and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll visit the community of Trulli, dating back to the 1400's with our expert City Guide, who will tell us about life in these peculiar cone-shaped dwellings and how they came to be. On our way back, we'll stop in Locorotondo, a circular base village with stunning views of the countryside, where you can enjoy lunch on your own. Then enjoy some free time in the afternoon to relax at the resort. Tonight you'll learn about olive oil and savor home-made dishes at a nearby family-owned farm, surrounded by thousand-year-old olive groves and beautiful lush gardens with large tropical plants and fragrant citrus trees.

Meals included: breakfast, dinner

Sunday | Day 10 | The Coastal Flair of Polignano a Mare

After checking out from the hotel, we'll drive back up to Bari. On the way, we'll make a stop in Polignano a Mare, a charming coastal village, perched on the edge of a jagged cliff overlooking the Grotta Palazzese, a large and dramatic cave. After check-in, enjoy some extra time to experience the history and liveliness of Bari, explore its vivacious nightlife and bustling streets. Let the memories of the trip fill up your thoughts before returning home.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch

Monday | Day 11 | Arrivederci! Until we meet... and eat again!

Thank you for choosing Nada's Italy for your Italian adventure. We hope to have you back and experience more parts of this colorful culture again soon! Until next time, beautiful ITALIA says Ciao!

Meals included: breakfast




What's included in the Puglia Paradise Tour:


  • 2 Nights in Bari + 2 Nights in Matera + 3 Nights in Lecce + 3 nights in Masseria. A trip totaling 11 Days/10 Nights (depart the US on Thursday and return on Monday).
  • This tour begins and ends in Bari.
  • Small group travel: maximum of 12 travelers per group!
  • Fully escorted day trips with professional private drivers and full-time service of English-speaking Italian Nada's Italy Tour Director.
  • Meals included: all breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners (included meals are shown at bottom of the description for each day.)
  • Beverages included: bottled water, soft drinks (in limited amounts), coffee, and 2 glasses of wine per person (choice of red or white) with included lunches and dinners.
  • Destinations Included: Bari, Matera, Altamura, Lecce, Locorotondo, Gallipoli, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, Alberobello, Galatina, Otranto, St. Maria di Leuca, among others (tinerary and destinations may vary depending on the time of year and are subject to weather conditions.)
  • Unique Activities included: Tours of historic sites by Nada's Italy local City Guides (Bari, Castel del Monte, Alberobello, Lecce, and Matera), visit to a 15th century bakery in Altamura, boutique winery tour & lunch, boat excursion with lunch, visit to an ancient underground olive mill, cooking class in family Masseria, visit to a papier-mache' shop in Lecce,  Taranta dance show, and much more!
  • Private Transportation for day trips and transfers in comfortable air-conditioned Mercedes Executive vans (does not include: transfer from and to the airport, airfare, or any other personal travel expenses).
  • A+ Rated Customer Service With Nada's Italy you can rest assured that your travel experience will be completely stress-free. Your personal Journey Coordinator will assist you with any additional services you may need, provide expert packing and travel advice, and answer any questions you may have before your trip.
  • Return Traveler Program: receive up to $800 credit per person towards any future trips you take with Nada's Italy!
  • No bag limit (many tour companies have a 1-bag limit per person).
  • Taxes & Fees: Local VAT taxes and government fees, City Tax, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, parking fees.
  • Staff & restaurant tips (additional gratuities can be given at the sole discretion of each individual traveler).



What's Not Included in Tour Package

Trip price does not include airfare and anything that is not specified to be included. Price does not include any personal related expenses or travel-related expenses outside of the scheduled itineraries. The food & wine that is included is what is presented during meals.

Before you sign up, please note the following:


>     The first day of this tour is Friday (you will need to book your flight from the USA on Thursday to get to Bari on Friday). The last day of this tour is Monday (arrival in the U.S. is the same day of departure on your way back). Some tours start and end in different cities, make sure to book your flights accordingly.

>     Airfare is not included. Nada's Italy can assist with Business and First Class airfare. Please let us know if you need information about arrival and departure airport for this tour.

>     Reminders, hotel information, and arrival instructions will be sent only by email, please make sure we have your current email address.

>     Transfers to and from the airport are not included in the tour rate. Please contact us if you'd like to add transfers to your tour package.

>     You must be in good physical condition to sign-up for this trip. This is not a physically challenging trip, nonetheless, there will be a lot of walking uphill, downhill, walking over uneven pavement, and standing for extended periods of time.

>     Even though tips to staff and restaurants are included, it is suggested that you put aside approximately $100 (US) in combined gratuities for your driver & Tour Director for your trip (and any voluntary additional restaurant gratuities are at your discretion).

>     Nada's Italy strongly recommends that you purchase Travel Insurance for your trip. For suggestions on policies and a quote, please contact us.

>     You should know that air conditioning in Italy, as well as WIFI connection, are not always as reliable as they are in the United States.

>     The hotel staff assigns rooms to guests, some rooms may include stairs. A view is not guaranteed. As Nada's Italy works mainly with luxury historic inns and small upscale boutique hotels, rooms differ in size and layout. In general, Italian bedrooms and bathrooms are smaller compared to US standards. Each room has its own en-suite bathroom with shower and/or tub, hair-dryer, and basic toiletry set. Please contact us if you have specific requests/needs.

>     It is your responsibility to obtain the required documents to travel to Italy, please verify with your own country's travel laws and government agencies. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.

>     In the unlikely event your tour does not reach the minimum participation requirement of 6 travelers, we will work with you to choose another available tour or tour date. We will do our best to make the transition as smooth as possible.

>     Add extra nights and extend your stay in this amazing country. Contact us for a quote (subject to availability).


>     Please note: while we do our best to adhere to our published itineraries, they may be changed at the discretion of the  Tour Leader due to weather conditions and any other unforeseeable circumstances.

>     Unless stated otherwise, all rates are per person, based on double occupancy, land only, in USD, and subject to availability. Rates may vary by departure date and are subject to change without notice.  Nada’s Italy reserves the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update rates, fees and surcharges at any time without prior notice.


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