Day 6—Lecce / Santa Maria Leuca - May 21                            

Today after breakfast we will begin our journey to Santa Maria Leuca; the southern most tip of the heel of Italy.  SM Leuca is the cape where the two seas come together, the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea, called Punta Ristola.. We will have a short guided tour of the city and a visit of the Basilica of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae (end of the earth). Santa Maria di Leuca was founded in fact in the early 1st century AD by monks. After Saint Peter's passage a cross was built in his honor and after some restructurings. Lunch (included) in SM Leuca. On the road back to Lecce we will make a brief scenic stop in Gallipoli; an ancient town with a long and significant history.  The beauty of this southern Italian town is inscribed in its name: Gallipoli comes from the Greek kallipolis, which means “beautiful city.” Dinner (on your own) and overnight in Lecce.

Day 8  - Lecce / Alberobello / Bari—May 23
After breakfast, departure for Alberobello which is the center of the trulli, the circular stone cone-shaped buildings. Over 1000 trulli make up the historic center of this town which was declared in 1996 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. A walk through the streets of the Monti district leads to the Church of S. Antonio.   Visit this quaint little village on your own, browsing through some of the open houses where the owners welcome guests to see a living trulli, still occupied and lived in by families.  There are many boutiques, wine and liquor shops for tasting and many cafes, bars and restaurants to enjoy some refreshments or just take a break. Lunch and free-time (on your own). Later we will continue our drive to the city of Bari, capital of the Puglia region.  Dinner tonight (included) and overnight in Bari.


Day 1—USA / Naples, Italy—May 16

Day2—Matera in Basilicata—May 17                                                                                 
Upon arrival we will board our motor-coach from Naples Capodichino Airport to Matera. Upon arrival we will check into our hotel and have some time to freshen up. Afterwards, we will gather for a welcome drink before a short orientation walk and then on to dinner in a local restaurant with regional cuisine and local wines. In Matera we will discover the magnificent city of the Sassi, typical caves carved into the ravine, used as a dwelling. The Sassi di Matera (UNESCO World Heritage Site) were excavated and inhabited starting from the prehistoric period and up to World War II.  The city was made famous in 2004 for the filming of “The Passion of Christ” with Mel Gibson. Dinner (included) and overnight in Matera.

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Day 12—Naples, Italy / Newark, NJ, USA— May 27
This morning, with heavy hearts and even heavier luggage, we board our trans-Atlantic flight home to the USA. We’ll bring fond memories of fun days touring the Apulian region of Italy.  Bon Voyage.

We will visit Arco Basso to watch the ladies making the traditional pasta of Bari called Oricchiette outside their homes.  During the Bari Walking Tour you will visit the main attractions of the old town like the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, the Fresh Pasta street, the Cathedral, the Norman Castle, the narrow streets, the fish market and the warm local people.

This evening we will do a Wine Crawl with food tasting. Let's have some fun, meeting new people, drinking some local wine and chat about this place! We start with a nice waking guided tour to visit Bari by night and at the end of the tour we all go for wine tasting and dinner like a big group of friends, spending the evening like a local!  Overnight in Bari. 

Day 7  - Lecce / Wine Tasting  /Otranto—May 22                    
This morning you are free to relax and sleep in if you wish. We will gather the group in the hotel lobby (time to be announced, approx. noon), for a wine tasting experience at local cantina within the city walls. Delve into the world of Puglian wine without leaving Lecce’s old town with this wine tasting experience in the heart of the Baroque city. Take a break from sightseeing and relax at a local wine bar for a guided tasting featuring four different regional wines paired with local specialties. Later this afternoon, we will leave on an excursion to the beautiful city of Otranto, on the coast.  It’s home to the 15th-century Aragonese Castle and 11th-century.

Otranto Cathedral, with a rose window and ornate mosaic flooring. At the harbor, Torre Matta tower has sweeping sea views. In Otranto we will visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Assunta; sacked by the Ottomans in 1480. 18,000 invading Turks destroyed and launched a full blown attack on Otranto, destroying most of the city. Eight hundred survivors took refuge in the church, given conditional clemency by the Turks if they converted to Islam. Those that refused were all slaughtered, these are known as the martyrs of Otranto.
Dinner tonight (included) in Otranto before returning to Lecce for overnight.

Day 4 - Matera / Ostuni / Lecce—May 19
Today after breakfast we depart this magnificent city and travel south, what is referred to as the Florence of the Baroque, capital of southernmost 

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Day 5- Lecce City Tour—May 20     

After breakfast today we visit Lecce on foot; a walking tour is the best way to see this city. As mentioned before, it’s referred to as the Florence of the Baroque due to it’s Leccese sandstone Baroque architecture. Between 1550 and 1750 the capital of the Salento region saw a period of economic and artistic heyday, and the historic center emerged completely transformed. Visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce, Piazza Duomo, the Government Palace and Piazza Sant'Oronzo with the Roman Amphitheater. In Lecce one of the most popular arts are “carta pesta” a beautiful tradition handed down for generations.    


Carta pesta is simply paper mache` a poor material, as wood was always a very precious resource.  You can see these artists creating in the many shops or in the streets. Later, after the tour, wander these alleys and streets and take in the fascination of this marvelous city. Visit one of the many café`s and enjoy a cocktail or coffee and a must is to try the “pasticiotta Leccese”.  Dinner tonight (included) in a local restaurant featuring local cuisine of the region.  Overnight in Lecce.

Day 11—Bari to Pimonte, Napoli—May 26
Today, after breakfast we depart this beautiful and amazing region of southeastern Italy as we cross the peninsula from east to west, from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean Sea.  We will arrive in Naples area; a region that remains in your heart. Glimpses of an unparalleled panorama, rules of life that apply only here and nowhere else on earth. Naples province is a true theater of life. In this area we are in very close proximity to the International airport for the next day’s departure.  This evening we will have a farewell dinner (included) with wine and Neopolitan fare in a family owned trattoria style restaurant high up in the hills of Pimonte, across the Bay of Naples. In Ristorante Del Sorbo, owner Anna will be our host.

Day 9—Bari  - City Tour—May 24
The capital of Puglia and one of southern Italy’s most prominent cities, Bari combines seaside charm and historical appeal. A major Mediterranean cruise port, the university city is also known for its old town, which boasts churches, picturesque courtyards, and other tucked-away gems. Its maze like old town, Bari Vecchia, occupies a headland between two harbors. Surrounded by narrow streets, the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola, a key pilgrimage site, holds St. Nicholas’ remains. Set along the Mediterranean Sea, the old town of Bari Vecchia boasts a historic vibe with narrow meandering alleyways leading to sites like the 13th-century Cattedrale di San Sabino and the Fortino di Sant’Antonio. Its many piazzas are lined with trattorias, cafes, and shops galore, and it’s also home to a lighthouse.

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Day 3—Matera  Full Day Walking Tour—May 18                               
After a good night’s rest and a good breakfast, we will meet our guide for a full day walking tour of this amazing pre-historic city. You've never seen anything like Matera. Nicknamed the 'subterranean city' for its rock-hewn buildings, this small city in the Basilicata region of southern Italy will leave you speechless. The biggest draw is the 'Sassi,' a fascinating multi-level network of cavern houses, but the city is filled with surprises. We’ll walk on the "Strada Panoramica dei Sassi", with beautiful views of the ravine and cave houses. We will be able to visit a cave house and a cave church, hewn by hand and primitive tools out of the mountain. Dinner (included) and overnight in Matera.

Day 10 -  Polignano a Mare -  Hometown of Domenico Modugno “VOLARE” - May 25

A handful of years ago, back when Puglia was yet to reach the imaginations of non-Italians, an image surfaced that forever changed the course of the region’s tourism; a photo of a small pebble beach edged by limestone cliffs, white-washed houses, and the most vibrant of aquamarine waters. This image was of Cala Porto in Polignano a Mare. Today we will sail around Polignano on a Catamaran and enjoy a light lunch on board. 

One of the most popular things to do in Polignano is to take a boat trip along the coast - not only will you be treated to an alternative vantage point on the historical city, but you’ll also stop at impressive caves and have the chance to swim in beautiful azure waters. Light lunch (included) onboard.  Afterwards, free-time to explore this little jewel of the Adriatic.  Return to Bari late afternoon. Dinner (on your own) and overnight in Bari.

Italy, Lecce. Enroute to Lecce, we will stop in Ostuni; is a city in Italy’s Apulia region that's known for its whitewashed old town. Ostuni Cathedral combines Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine elements. The tour of the medieval village is a unique, cultural and exciting experience by Tuk Tuk.

Later we will visit a wine cellar immersed in the Apulian countryside and discover the history of the family and how the local wine is produced. Walk in the vineyard to discover the secrets of the wine varieties. Afterwards, enjoy a tasty four-course lunch (included) paired with four local wines. Later we continue on to Lecce.  Upon arrival at our hotel, check-in, time to freshen up before our Welcome Drink at the hotel.  Dinner (on your own) and overnight in Lecce.

Meet Anna and her family as we dine on some of the most traditional dishes of the Neapolitan and Sorrentine peninsula cuisine.  Follow Anna on Facebook. - (link will open in a new window)

All the dishes are prepared in old world Neapolitan style home type cooking. Overnight in Pimonte, NA.