10 day culinary & cultural adventure in Puglia, Italy
Spend an unforgettable week learning the secrets of a deeply passionate and undiscovered region of Southern Italy in this ten-day wine, gastronomy, and cultural experience in Puglia.
Puglia is the sun-drenched heel of the boot that spans two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian. With a dry Mediterranean climate perfect for wine making, spectacular white-washed villages, a diverse cultural and architectural history, rich fertile soil, and miles of gorgeous coastline, this region is making its mark as an authentic European foodie destination.
• Bread-making demonstration in Altamura at a DOP bakery
• In-depth guided visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Matera
• Olive grove tour and oil tasting at an ancient olive oil estate
• Insider’s look at burrata cheese making at a local farm
• Guided visit to the Trullo Capital Alberobello, a UNESCO Heritage Site
• Hands-on cooking class at a farm house with local “pasta mammas”
• Visit one of the many street markets where locals sell their fresh produce and other items
• Private wine tour and tasting with lunch at a renowned winery
• A special dinner and hands-on cooking class with the executive chef at a state-of-the-art culinary school in a castle
• Free time for relaxing, lounging, spa visits, and shopping
• 5-star accommodations in a city hotel, a countryside agricultural estate (Masseria), and a restored and updated castle that includes the premier Culinary School in Italy.
• Access to up-and-coming vineyards and small producers not usually open to the public.
• Walking tours of the region’s most characteristic cities and towns with certified local guides.
• Special breakfasts daily, except on day of arrival, seven memorable lunches, and seven extraordinary dinners
• Wine included with some meals, and available to purchase with others.
• Guest transfers and shuttles and luggage handling
• Local drivers and guides and a tour manager for the entire trip
Day 1: Welcome to Puglia!Meet this afternoon in Bari and experience a walk through the fascinating old city with our local expert guide, who will bring this incredible city to life for you. Bari is the capital of Puglia with a bustling harbor, a long seaside promenade, a mix of architectural styles from the last several centuries, a modern downtown shopping district, and a vibrant old town center, Bari Vecchia. Dwellings seemingly piled on top of each other, a tangle of alleys that are easy to get lost in, and a lively social scene in the mornings with open shops, pop-up markets, and ladies making orrechiette to sell, and in the evenings at the cafes and street corners, will transport you to another time. To kick our first evening in style we will meet for an aperitivo and a first welcome toast to Puglia and enjoy dinner at a local prize-winning Trattoria. What a start!
Day 2: Bread & Sassi DayAltamura was the first town in Europe to receive the prestigious DoP classification (Denomination of Origin of production) for its bread. We start with a visit to a bakery in Altamura for an in-depth look at the making of this extraordinary DOP bread. Next we take a walk through the Sassi of Matera, a fascinating UNESCO site with our local expert. As a European Capital of Culture, Matera is truly unique. The city was built around an extensive prehistoric settlement of cave dwellings called Sassi, which were inhabited from 7,000 BC until the 1950s! Back in Bari tonight we will enjoy an unforgettable meal at a local restaurant.
Day 3: Burrata & TrulliToday we are off to discover the secrets of cheese-making in the ancient traditions of Puglia. You will meet a local cheese artisan at his farm, where he will demonstrate the art of making fresh burrata and let you try twisting a knot of mozzarella or two! Next we will go in search of Puglia’s famous trulli houses, which were built without mortar by peasants centuries ago. These cone shaped dwellings are unique to the region. In the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello you will see a concentration of over 1,000 trulli. Our expert guide and local superstar will bring the history of this picturesque town to life. After a delicious lunch in an authentic trullo, it’s time for some serious relaxation at your next hotel, a beautiful country retreat.
Day 4: Olive Oil & OstuniToday experience another of Puglia’s most important treasures: olive oil! With 50 to 60 million olive trees, some of which are 2,000 years old (!), all of which are protected by law, Puglia produces more olive oil than anywhere else in Europe. We will visit an ancient estate olive oil estate that has been in use for hundreds of years and provides a fascinating insight into olive oil production. We’ll walk the beautiful grounds of the estate and of course enjoy some olive oil tasting. Then we visit the stunning White City of Ostuni, a labyrinth of white cobbled stone, more Greek than Italian.
Day 5: Sea Caves and SeafoodToday we visit the striking cliff-top town of Polignano a Mare (which hosts the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship). Weather permitting, you’ll visit the dramatic sea caves by boat and imagine the many centuries of smugglers who used the caves. There can be few better ways to enjoy this striking coastline and balmy Mediterranean sun than out on the water. At the port of Monopoli, embark on a delightful gulet-style tall ship, to enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic or just simply enjoy the sea breeze and the lovely views. Local refreshments will be served on board. After three hours on the water, the ship will make port in Polignano for us to indulge in a delicious lunch at a beautiful seafront restaurant, L’Osteria di Chichibio (see the gorgeous photos on their Facebook page). The town itself is a real must-see and is home to some of the very best seafood restaurants in the area. After lunch, we’ll walk through the town and taste the luscious artisan gelato for which the town is famous.
Day 6: At Leisure & Evening Cooking ClassTake a break from the touring today and enjoy a yoga session or spa treatments at the masseria. Or just relax and unwind in the beautiful gardens. This evening we visit a local farmhouse and enjoy a hands-on cooking class at a farmhouse with some talented and extremely welcoming local ladies.
Day 7: Salento Vineyards & Baroque LecceToday we travel to one of Puglia’s most renowned wineries. After a fascinating tour with the vineyard’s expert oenologist, you will be treated to a private lunch and wine tasting over-looking the aging barrels of wine. Next we visit Lecce, the capital of the Salento Province. Known as the “Florence of the South,” the city hosts amazing Baroque masterpieces and treasures of Italy. In Lecce enjoy a dedicated walking tour, where our guide will reveal the secrets of the imposing architecture and millennia of fascinating history revealed before your very eyes. Next, a special treat. We check in at the unique Ugento Castle.
Day 8: Byzantine OtrantoThis morning you will visit Otranto on the Adriatic Coast. Home to a Norman Castle and a picturesque seafront promenade, it’s an ideal town to enjoy a stroll and a seafood lunch. Also visit the Byzantine Cathedral with its extraordinary mosaic floor. Dinner tonight will be at the Castle with Chef Tommaso’s delicious menu.
Day 9: Gourmet Cooking at the CastleEnjoy some down time at the castle on your last day, and then get busy in the kitchen with talented Executive Chef Tommaso Sanguedolce. The castle has its very own professional cooking school, full of state-of-the-art equipment, so you could not be in better hands. Chef Tommaso will share secrets of the Pugliese traditions and provide helpful hints about how to reproduce these dishes at home. After your class, you will feast on the dishes you have made in an extravagant meal.
Day 10: Arriverderci, Puglia"After our final group breakfast, the team will shuttle you to Brindisi Airport and bid you arriverderci!
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