Exploring Italy’s unique Puglia and Basilicata regions from historic ports to Norman castles and the Baroque splendour of Lecce
Bari - 2 nights
Lecce - 2 nights
Matera - 1 night
Alberobello - 2 nights
The unique geographical shape of Italy has historically opened it to influences from across the seas as much as overland from the north, creating a richly varied European cultural heritage. The south-east corner or 'heel' was part of 'Magna Graecia' before Roman domination and was later conquered by the Normans.
In addition to historic ports, Norman castles and Baroque splendour, two further, unusual variants are added - the Trulli and the Sassi. Unique to the region, the Trulli of Puglia are small dwellings with uncemented white stone walls and conical tapered roofs of mysterious origin. Their age and the theories for their existence are shrouded in mystery and suggest origins from ancient Greece, the Crusaders, Byzantines or even, possibly, some form of medieval tax avoidance!
At Matera in Basilicata the unusual geography resulted in unique cave settlements, in use until recent times. The old city rises on a rocky promontory into which are built the Sassi: houses, refuges, grottoes and chapels. The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen settled here, building many Norman castles, his masterpiece being the octagonal Castel del Monte, considered the perfect balance between square and circle.
Bari developed from Roman Barium and the regional capital for the Saracens and Byzantines. The Normans turned it into a busy port that it is today, building the castle, Basilica of St. Nicholas and Romanesque cathedral, whose sacristy is appropriately known as the 'Trulla'!
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Local Expert Guide
Group Size: 8 – 22
Day 1 Fly to Bari, Puglia’s elegant capital. Two nights at the 4-star Oriente Hotel.
Day 2 Explore the historic Trani port and the cathedral. Visit Castel del Monte. (B)
Day 3 Visit Brindisi viewing Porta d'Oriente, Castello Svevo and the beautifully decorated church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro. Continue to Lecce for two nights at the 5-star Patria Palace Hotel. (B)
Day 4 Visit Lecce, the 'Florence of the South', famous for its Baroque churches and buildings carved from local stone. Private palazzo visit for an aperitif. (B)
Day 5 Travel to the heart of old Taranto. View its cathedral and castle; then visit the Archaeological Museum. Continue to Matera. Overnight at the 4-star MH Matera Hotel. (B)
Day 6 Visit Matera, famous for its 'Sassi'. Explore the unique landscape of Sassi Barisano and Sassi Caveoso with the Cathedral dominating the valley. Continue to Alberobello via Altamura. Two nights at the 4-star Grand Hotel Olimpo near Alberobello. (B)
Day 7 Travel to the Baroque town of Martina Franca and visit the Ducal Palace. Discover the Trulli area with these unique dwellings including Trulli Sovrano. Visit a wine cellar and museum. Wine tasting with appetisers. (B)
Day 8 Travel to Bari for a walking tour. Return flight. (B)
This is a full itinerary with some visits on foot with some uneven surfaces and inclines.
A 4-star liberty-style hotel located in the heart of Bari overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and close to the old town and many restaurants. Restaurant, bar, rooftop garden and WiFi (free). 75 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
A 5-star hotel, formerly an 18th century mansion centrally located in the historic centre of Lecce with many restaurants close by. Restaurant, bar and WiFi (free). 67 air-conditioned rooms with safe, hairdryer, mini-fridge, tea/coffee-making facilities and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
This 4-star hotel is located 5 minutes’ drive from the Sassi area. Surrounded by green hills and landscaped gardens this hotel has a restaurant, bar, indoor pool, gym, spa and WiFi (free). 125 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, minifridge, tea/coffee making facilities and TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
A 4-star hotel based near the historic centre of Alberobello with restaurants, bar, roof garden and WiFi (free). 31 air-conditioned rooms with safe, hairdryer, mini-fridge and TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
per person in a twin/double room
British Airways from Gatwick
Supplements per person
Single supplement £375
British Airways Club Europe from £195
Extra Nights - Bari
(per night) £110
Single supplement £85
Arrival transfer £55
Transfers to/from airport with group included
Air travel and taxes, entrance fees, transfers, 7 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, itinerary as described, services of local guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government and local tourist taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
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