Puglia & Basilicata Tour
- Day-by-Day Itinerary
- Puglia & Basilicata Overview
- Boutique Hotels
- What's Included
- Dates & Pricing
"Open my heart and you will see, Engraved inside of it, Italy!"
Our small group tour of Italy presents a unique approach to discovering the best Italy has to offer.
(Drive time to Lecce approximately 40 minutes.)
Check-in hotel, orientation walk, included dinner.
Called the Florence of the South. It's an amazing Baroque town built out of local stone which gives the entire town a golden hue. The architecture, food, people, and tourist free center is amazing.
For most people, Lecce is an Italian city too far. But perhaps that's half the secret of this delightfully tourist-free town. Lecce sits at the bottom of the boot (the Salento peninsula), in the Puglia region. Built largely in the 16th and 17th centuries, clearly no one said 'when' as the architects piled on the decorations. Buzzards, putti, wolves, Saracens in turbans - it's truly an ornamental mayhem.
The Leccese stone, from which the town is built, is so soft you can literally carve it with a spoon. The masons soaked it with milk to set it hard ensuring a result with golden honey hues.
A capital of southern Italian cooking, the city brims with rustic restaurants serving the hearty peasant cuisine and robust red wines of the Puglia (Apulia in English) region.
Day 2: Lecce
Included Dining: Welcome Dinner
Exclusive: Story® Original Experiences
This morning we enjoy a tour of Lecce, known as the Florence of the South, with our Guide. Boasting 300-year-old cobblestone streets your walking tour will take in the Baroque monuments and architecture that give it its nickname.
Later we return to the hotell for the afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Lecce Day Trips
Story® Exclusive: Regional Wine Tasting
Enjoy 2 Day Trip options today. You may choose from:
Gallipoli (Lecce to Gallipoli- 50 minutes)
From the Greek, Kallipolis, meaning "beautiful city", Gallipoli is charming fishing village. It's filled with small characteristic streets, incredible seafood restaurants, beaches, and a long, fascinating history. Built on a limestone island, it is linked to the mainland by a 17th century bridge.
*Note--This destination is more "off the beaten path" than Otranto, another popular day trip from Lecce. I visited it last year and found it charming and delightful.
- Wine Tasting at Leone de Castris Winery - (Lecce to Leone de Castris- 30 minutes)
Salice Salentino is a town & wine region in the heel of the "boot," Puglia, Italy. This hot, arid region has seen many landlords over the years, from the Greeks, to Romans, Lombards, Byzantines, Turks, Spanish (Aragonese), Venetians, until finally part of a unified Italy in the 19th century. Throughout all these cultural a DOC of the Puglia wine region in south-eastern Italy.
The Leone de Castris Winery Info:
A famous winery that began producing wine in 1665. The first bottling plant in Puglia was actually launched by Leone using Negroamaro, which helped to introduce this varietyto the rest of the world. Negroamaro, Malvasia, Bianco d'Alessano and Aleatico are among the main grape varieties used to make wines, sparkling wines and a grape-based aquavit. The imposing winery building has a very old wine cellar with high arched ceilings and a well-equipped wine- tasting room. It is an interesting and pleasant place to visit,and there is also the Wine Museum to explore, dedicated to the memory of two of Puglia's leading wine-growers - "Pieroand Salvatore Leone de Castris".
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Day 4: Leave Lecce early in the morning and drive to Alberobello with 3 stops along the way.
Stop 1: Ostuni Olive Oil Tasting (Lecce to Ostuni-1 hour)
Olive Oil Tasting
Why an Olive Oil Tasting?
There are 60 million olive trees in Puglia! Puglia's relationship with olive trees dates back 3000 years! Of the estimated 60 million trees (no one knows for sure) - about six million are considered monumenti or monumental trees and just under half a million are known as "ulivi secolari" (literally centuries-old olive trees). More olive oil comes from Puglia than any other region. Approximately 40% comes from Puglia and no other region even comes close in production!
Stop 2: Visit and Lunch in Ostuni - Walk around the historic center of Ostuni then Lunch on their own and free time to explore the city.
Ostuni is one of the most stunning cities in southern Italy famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. It is a genuine and charming example of Mediterranean architecture.
Stop 3: Visit to Martina Franca - Orientation walk &free time to explore (Ostuni to Martina Franca-35 minutes)
Located on a hill in the heart of Puglia, Martina Franca is the largest town in the lovely Valle d'Itria-(Trulli Country). The town's historic center is a jewel with charming winding alleys and whitewashed buildings. I stayed here 2 nights and loved it.
(Drive Time-Martina Franca to Alberobello-25 minutes)
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Day 5: AlberobelloIncluded Dining: Dinner Tonight
Amazing Trulli village and UNESCO world heritage site. It is situated in the Valle d'Itria, a green stretch of countryside dotted with the famous whitewashed cone-roofed trulli houses.
We Arrive early evening, check-in, Included Dinner.
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Day 6: Alberobello
Today enjoy a visit to the barnyard district of Rione Aia Picola in Alberobello. The 'streets' or alleys feature the Trulli houses. The town itself is an architectural treasure featuring medieval and Renaissance era structures. Many have balconies and the flowing flowers are reminiscent of Venice.
Return back to our hotel for the balance of the day at leisure.
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Day 7: Depart early morning (Drive time Alberobello to Matera 1hour 10 min)
The Sassi of Matera -Spread over one side of a gorge alongside the modern town, the Sassi is an area of extraordinary dwellings, half-carved and half-built from the surrounding tufo (tuff) rock, in which people have been living since Palaeolithic times.
Matera has been on Unesco's World Heritage list since 1993 and is the oldest inhabited peninsula. Several caves have been carefully restored, parts as museum, but most as proper homes, or as holiday homes, small businesses, hotels, and B&Bs.
Day 1 in Matera - Arrive, check-in, Tour of Matera with Local Guide.
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Day 8: Matera
Day 2 in Matera - Day at leisure to explore the town.
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Day 9: Leave Matera early morning and drive to Trani with 2 stops along the way.
Included Dining: Dinner Tonight
Stop 1: Grotte di Castellana -- **Drive time Alberobello to Grotte di Castellana-25 minutes
Probably the most stunning Caves in Italy - For tour allow 2hours min.
The Castellana Grotte (Castellana Caves), are the longest and most famous underground caves in Italy, having been discovered in 1938. The caves consist of numerous different chambers, all showing dramatic palettes of colour and shapes in stalagmites and stalactites. The most famous is the Grotta Bianca (White Cave), which is an amazing collection of ultra thin, ultra white stalactites. Tours in English are available here and will range from 50 minutes - 2 hours duration, where you will cover a distance of 1km - 3km of caves depending on if you include the Grotta Bianca.
**Drive time-Grotte di Castellana to Polignano a Mare-35 minutes
Stop 2: Polignano a Mare - Lunch and explore.
A shining gem on the coast of the Valle d'Itria, perched atop a 20 metre-high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. Polignano is famous throughout the world for three things. First of all is, cliff diving. In recent years the town has hosted the Red Bull diving competition, attracting crowds of 45,000 people in 2010!
Second is its outstanding ice-cream, which you really cannot afford to miss on a hot summer's evening. The third and possibly most famous export of Polignano a Mare, however, is the great Domenico Modugno, who wrote and sang numerous classic songs, including the massive international hit, Volare (originally entitled Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu)! The wonderful song, you might well find yourself involuntarily singing or whistling, "Volare, oh,oh... Cantare, oh,oh,oh,oh... Nel blu dipinto di blu... felice di stare lassù...".
Trani 2 Nights.
Trani is known as the "Pearl of Puglia" and for good reason. It is a beautiful, historic port town that was once in the possession on Venice. With a beautiful marina full of elegant yachts and a harbor filled with fishing boats, Trani enchants her visitors. Its historic center is a delight with its medieval churches, glossy limestone streets and faded yet charming palazzo. The town's most beautiful site, the Cattedrale di San Nicola Pellegrino, dominates the seashore from a spectacular position at the water's edge.
Day 1 in Trani - Arrive early evening, check-in, Included Dinner.
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Day 10: 2nd Day in Trani
Day 2 in Trani - City Tour with Local Guide AND included tour to the Unesco World Heritage Site...Castel del Monte located 35minutes from Trani.
Afternoon at Leisure, Final Dinner.
CASTEL DEL MONTE -- Literally means "castle on the hill". Built by emperor Frederick II in the thirteenth century, it served more as a hunting lodge than a castle. The most fascinating thing about this building is the design, imbued with symbolic significance and laid out with mathematical and astronomical precision. The castle is built to an octagonal pattern, with an octagonal tower on each corner. Castle del Monte is really an impressive sight.
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Day 11: END of Tour - Guests Departures--Bari - Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla
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Heart of City Hotels mean your experience is like none other in the travel industry.
There is a difference between centrally-located hotels and Story's Heart of City hotels. No taxis or shuttles required when you're in the historical heart of the cities and villages.
Our small group Italy tour hotels feature historical architecture with all the amenities you'd come to expect. The properties are located in the heart of the cities, towns and villages. We proudly feature the following Italy tour hotels which have been personally inspected for quality and standard. On very rare occasion, we may substitute any Italy hotel for a Italy tour property of equal or greater quality and standard.
Remember, availability in tour hotels may be affected based on seasonal demand. Alternate hotel properties of equal quality will be used when the following hotels are not available.
Leece Accommodations - 3 Nights
Alberobello Accommodations - 3 Nights
Matera Accommodations - 2 Nights
Trani Accommodations - 2 Nights
What's Included in Your Small Group Tour?
What's Included in this Small Group Tour of Italy?
We've tried to include everything on our Guaranteed Departures ~
However, make note of the following:
- Breakfast is included daily
- Wine Estate Experience
- Lunch is not included - Our Tour Captain and Guides will offer great, affordable suggestions for delicious lunches everyday.
- 3 dinners are included, on other nights our Tour Captain will invite you to join them to unique restaurants each night.
- We Stay in the Very Heart of Cities & Towns.
- Airfare is not included.
- Travel Protection is not included. Story Land and Sea recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travelex plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Click here to get a quote and purchase on their website. Remember, you are responsible to arrive at the point of tour origination. If you are delayed for any reason, your vacation may be at risk even if Story made your airfare arrangements. Airfare is a completely separate booking from your land vacation. You can cancel your vacation with a 100% refund up to 90 days prior to departure. Within 90 days you will begin receiving penalties per the terms of the Tour Application should you have to cancel.
- Gratuities Included: Story Land & Sea® includes gratuities for Local Tour Guides, Drivers, Hotel and Restaurant Staff included.
- Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.
That's it ~ everything else excluding personal item purchases is included. Read on below for all of the inclusions to this tour of Puglia and Basilicata:
Something for everyone…Whether you’re a “first-timer” to Italy or have visited many times, we invite you to join us for this exciting tour program. For one set price, you’ll be staying in first-class accommodations in each city and have the experience of local, English-speaking tour guides. You’ll have a chance to visit all the major, “must-see” sites, plus enough free time on your own to visit the places that really matter to you…or, you can simply enjoy that time relishing your first taste of Italy - it’s entirely up to you. Also included are in-depth tours in each city, group transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach, admission and entrance fees for each stop on our tours, breakfast each morning and five all-inclusive dinners with wine!
And if you have been to Italy before and maybe want something a little different, you have the opportunity of choosing to go as a “first-timer” (there are many sites you could see a hundred times and still find something new!) or adding on whichever tours and attractions are to your liking and interest, essentially building your own trip (simply call us at 1 (877) 865-6711 for a custom quote).
Get Started: Ask a Question, Schedule a Call, Request a Trip Quote, or Have us Craft Your Trip