7 Day Luxury Small Group Food and Wine Tour of Puglia
Savour creamy farm-produced burrata. Sip wine beneath grape-heavy vines. Sample fresh-from-the-ocean seafood. Inspired by the slow food movement, this tour introduces the culinary traditions, tucked away villages and breathtaking architecture in this sublime corner of Italy.
Our adventure map
Day by day
First Day welcome to Bari
Arrive into Bari and enjoy a private transfer to your pre-tour accommodation where the rest of your day is at leisure.
Second day we visit Castel Del Monte then Matera and dine in Martina Franca
So we begin by walking in the footsteps of knights and noblemen at Castel del Monte – a UNESCO Heritage site with a remarkable octagonal shape to explore. After working up an appetite, we pause at Famiglia Olanda Caseificio Artigianale for our first taste of Puglia food culture: smooth burrata and silky mozzarella cheeses. After lunch it’s on to Matera and another journey back through time. Here, a guided tour of the historic centre takes us to the rock-carved Sassi – ancient cave dwellings and houses that have hugged the hillside for thousands of years. As dusk sets in, it’s time to relax into our slow food welcome dinner. Just outside the Baroque city of Martina Franca, in the elegant surrounds of a country mansion, we wrap up today’s delicious introduction to the region’s cuisine. (L, D).
Hotel: Relais Villa San Martino
Third Day we head to Castellana Caves and Alberobello then Martina Franca
It’s not often you have the chance to see a natural wonder first thing in the morning. But, following breakfast in Martina Franca, we head below ground to the spellbinding Castellana Caves. Look up to see stalactites and down to find fossils that are hidden throughout these fairy-tale grottos. There are enchanting sights above ground too. In Alberobello, there’s the chance to marvel at the prehistoric cone-topped trulli dotted across the landscape. That brings us to a sociable hour and a civilised spot for wine tasting. And what better place than Locorotondo? Part of the Itria Valley wine trail, it’s home to traditional whites that are mellow on the palate with just a hint of peach. After that, you could carry on exploring the historic culture of Martina Franca or simply settle in to a local restaurant. From here on, the evening’s all yours. (B)
Hotel: Relais Villa San Martino
Fourth Day we sample Ostuni and Masseria Ferri then head to Lecce
With its jumble of icing-sugar buildings, pretty Ostuni wholeheartedly lives up to its nickname: the White Village. And it’s here that we begin day three of our tour. This pretty hamlet is huddled in quintessential Puglia countryside, so it’s only right that lunch today is in a rural masseria – a country estate. Open out your napkins and ready yourself for a farm-grown feast. While we let lunch go down, we drive on to Lecce – our home for the night. Elaborate Baroque architecture at every turn makes this is a showstopper of a town that’s best seen on foot. As we meander, we’ll stop for tasters of local favourites such as olive studded puccia leccese bread and sweet pasticciotto leccese cakes. (B, L)
Hotel: Suite Hotel Santa Chiara
Fifth Day its onto Otranto and Depressa then Gallipoli
Emerald lake. Turquoise seas. Pink-hued hills. The pretty as- a-postcard harbour town of Otranto is where we swap town and country for a seaside sojourn. A stop at the beautiful bay of Porto Badisco gives us a chance to try freshly caught sea urchins – a not-to-be-missed treat. We wash them down with a selection of wines at Castel di Salve, famous for growing its own Negroamaro, Primitivo, Malvasia Nera di Lecce and sweet Aleatico grapes. Then it’s on to the historic fishing port of Gallipoli where the sun sets on day four of our trip. (B)
Hotel: Relais Corte Palmieri
Sixth Day we sample Gallipoli and Nardo then tour Manduria with an evening in Gallipoli
When in Gallipoli, we do as the fishermen do. That means an early start down at the fish markets where stalls are piled high with a dazzling array of seafood. Here, we’ll taste raw shrimp and shellfish, straight off the boat. Then we woo ourselves away from the water with a trip to the old town of Nardo. It’s a treasure trove of some of Puglia’s finest Baroque architecture. And it’s yours to enjoy at your own pace. This is an area renowned for exquisite red wines. So it’s only right that we pay a visit to Manduria’s Museo della Civilta del Vino Primitivo for a guided tasting – and pay homage to the celebrated Primitivo grape. Then, as dusk descends, we say farewell to Gallipoli with a sumptuous slow food dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Hotel: Relais Corte Palmieri
Seventh Day we see Gallipoli and Polignano a Mare then return to Bari
Within its peaceful honey-stone cloisters and Romanesque architecture are thousands of years of history. And when we step inside Santa Maria di Cerrate on day six of our tour, we’ll discover a monastery with roots deep in Puglia’s rich food culture. Leaving the monastery behind, we climb the coastal road up to Polignano a Mare – the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ and our final stop. Whether you explore the watchtower ruins, wander through the Arco della Porta, slip inside the 13th century Mother Church or simply gaze across the idyllic shoreline, this ancient cliff-top town is yours to explore. And with that, it’s time to say goodbye to this exquisite region and its epicurean delights, as we round up our tour back in Bari. (B)
- Private transfers to and from the airport
- 6 nights’ accommodation
- Tour leader
- Luxury mini-coach transportation
- European breakfast daily (B)
- 2 x evening meals (D)
- 2 x lunches (L)
- 3 x food and/or wine tastings
- Local guides in Matera and Lecce
- Included Entrances: Castel del Monte, Sassi di Matera, Castellana Caves, Museo della Civilta del Vino Primitivo, and L’Abbazia di Santa Maria di Cerrate.
Taste artisan cheeses at Caseificio Famiglia Olanda
Stop for lunch amid 18th century tenuta in a hilltop masseria
Step inside the cellar of Castel di Salve to discover wines crafted from Puglia’s indigenous grapes
Sample the fishermen’s catch in Gallipoli and Polignano a Mare
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