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  • Italy: Discovering Puglia
Overview

Explore the lesser-known Coast and Villages of the Italian Heel

We love Italy — the scents, flavors, scenery, and the people. The landscapes are soul-stirring, with sweeping vistas of vineyard-cloaked hills, stately cypress trees, and gnarled olive groves grounded in red earth.

The Puglia region, located in the heel of Italy’s "boot," is known for its unique whitewashed architecture in seaside towns, lack of tourists, and farmland that cascades into coastlines. It is a place where the union of art, food, and nature has been celebrated for thousands of years, in a region that has endured numerous wars, invasions, and dozens of civilizations — all of which have left their mark on the land and culture. Join us as we venture to this western "gateway to the East" and explore a lesser-known side of Italy the crowds have yet to find.

What Our Guests Have To Say About This Tour

Authentic Italy

★★★★★
5 5 1
The Boundless Journey tour in Puglia was wonderful. We were able to experience the land, culture and cuisine of this remarkable area of Italy. This was due in no small part to our guide, Giuseppe, with his extensive local knowledge and contagious enthusiasm for all things Puglian, that allowed us to see the place through his eyes. Starting with our cooking lesson with Gianna, our trek along the Adriatic coast, our visit to the house of a local aristocratic family we felt a growing involvement with the life of the area. The stay at an olive farm near Ostuni allowed us to further experience a “farm to table” theme that was started in Lecce. We were able to see olive production from 2000 year old trees, as it was done in the past to the most modern and high tech facility. Walking several miles through seemingly endless olive groves, we were rewarded with a visit to a small farm that welcomed us in to sample their homemade pecorino cheese and local wine. The last section of the trip included a stay at a Trulli in Alberobello, a unique and unexpected pleasure. The tour of Matera, with its caves was remarkable. It is one of the most unusual cities that we have ever visited. A final word about the food must be added. The restaurants were small, farm to table places run by enthusiastic and passionate chefs, proud of their local cuisine and knowledgeable about their local wines. No wine themed tour of Italy would be complete without tasting these delicious and increasingly notable world class wines. We wish to thank you for this opportunity to visit this very authentic part of Italy.

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Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Arrival and Transfer to Lecce

  • Activity Overview: Driving
  • Activity Length: 2 hours

Welcome to Puglia! We meet our guide at 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Oriente, centrally located in downtown Bari. We then drive approximately two hours, south along the Mediterranean coast, toward the tip of Italy's "heel" and the city of Lecce. Upon arrival, we check-in to our hotel and have a brief orientation meeting with our guide followed by dinner together this evening, where we toast to our adventures to come!

Accommodations

Santa Chiara Suite Hotel
Lecce, Italy

Santa Chiara Suite Hotel is a 4-star boutique hotel located in Lecce’s enchanting old quarter, 300 feet from the cathedral. The roof garden on the 4th floor has a bar, outdoor seating, and views of the historic center. The 21 rooms are elegantly decorated with modern Italian design.

Day 2

Lecce

  • Activity Overview: Walking on city streets
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 2-4 hours, about 3 miles

After breakfast this morning, we dive into our first experience of regional gastronomy. We begin with a visit to a local market, where we learn about and select seasonal produce. We then set off for our cooking class, where we have the opportunity to create a full meal typical of the Puglia region, from appetizer to dessert. We reap the benefits of our efforts this afternoon, enjoying our meal with a well-deserved glass of wine.

Later this afternoon, we meet our local guide for a walking tour of Lecce. Known for its dazzling array of Baroque architecture, Lecce also has deep roots in Greek culture, a long history of traditional papier-mâché craft, and the lively ambience that accompanies a university town. We learn about the history and culture of this "Florence of the South" as we stroll through piazzas, admiring ornate stonework full of allegorical meaning, and visit a local papier-mâché workshop. Dinner will be together this evening.

Accommodations

Santa Chiara Suite Hotel
Lecce, Italy

Santa Chiara Suite Hotel is a 4-star boutique hotel located in Lecce’s enchanting old quarter, 300 feet from the cathedral. The roof garden on the 4th floor has a bar, outdoor seating, and views of the historic center. The 21 rooms are elegantly decorated with modern Italian design.

Day 3

Otranto and the Adriatic Sea

  • Activity Overview: Walking on country roads, trails, and along the coast
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3-5 hours, about 7 miles

Today begins with a guided exploration of another iconic town in Puglia — Otranto. Teeming with history, Otranto lies at the easternmost point of Italy on the Adriatic Sea — historically, a prime location for a port during the expansion of global trade, but which also left it susceptible to attack by foreign seafarers. We hear tales of conquest as we walk through the streets of this medieval old town, tour the Spanish castle, and visit the Otranto Cathedral — known for its enormous 12th-century "Tree of Life" floor mosaic.

From here, we head to the coast for an easy walk along the coves and creeks for which Salento is famous, and perhaps take a dip in the Adriatic Sea if the weather is warm. En route back to Lecce, we stop for a short walk to see the hidden Palascia lighthouse, high on a cliff with views of the sea all around.

Arriving back in Lecce, the evening is yours to relax, explore, and dine at your leisure.

Accommodations

Santa Chiara Suite Hotel
Lecce, Italy

Santa Chiara Suite Hotel is a 4-star boutique hotel located in Lecce’s enchanting old quarter, 300 feet from the cathedral. The roof garden on the 4th floor has a bar, outdoor seating, and views of the historic center. The 21 rooms are elegantly decorated with modern Italian design.

Day 4

Ostuni

  • Activity Overview: Walking on city streets
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 3 hours

Our destination this morning is Ostuni, often called la Città Bianca, or "the White City," for bright, whitewashed building walls. Originally painted with lime to brighten the dark medieval alleys, the white walls also kept the interior temperature of buildings cool. In later centuries, the practice continued during epidemics to quell the spread of disease.

Our first visit is a typical masseria, a farmhouse located on an expanse of land that was traditionally used for agriculture. These were often owned by wealthy barons, and showcase an architectural style that is a hybrid of rustic country living and the elegance demanded by the noblemen who built them. We'll tour their ancient underground olive oil mill and taste the farm's current products.

This afternoon, we have time to settle in to our accommodations and independently explore the crooked streets of Ostuni. The uniform white color catches the colorful light of dawn and dusk, and it is a delight to get lost in the labyrinth of narrow passages. From the pinnacle above town, take in sweeping views of the surrounding landscape and Adriatic coast. Perhaps enjoy an apéritif before wending back through the maze, where we meet to dine together this evening.

Accommodations

Masseria Valente
Ostuni, Italy

This 18th-century typical farmhouse is set in a large garden and is located mid-way between Ostuni and the coast. Relax and enjoy quintessential Italian countryside, the onsite pool and veranda, and well-appointed rooms.

Day 5

Parco Dune Natural Reserve

  • Activity Overview: Walking on country roads and trails
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-5 hours, up to 6 miles

We begin today with a short drive toward the coast, our destination is a natural dune reserve that we explore on foot. Our guide leads us on a walk along an ancient Roman road surrounded by olive trees, some of which are thousands of years old! Along our route, we stop at a masseria, where local farmers tell us how they produce a traditional style of cheese using a 500-year-old recipe.

After lunch, we visit a nearby wetland, and meet fishermen who work in the area. We enjoy the beach, perhaps taking a walk or relaxing in the sun, before our return to Ostuni for dinner and leisure time this evening.

Accommodations

Masseria Valente
Ostuni, Italy

This 18th-century typical farmhouse is set in a large garden and is located mid-way between Ostuni and the coast. Relax and enjoy quintessential Italian countryside, the onsite pool and veranda, and well-appointed rooms.

Day 6

Alberobello

  • Activity Overview: Walking on paths and stairs
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 2-3 hours, about 2 miles

This morning, we transfer to a large complex of caves set in a limestone plateau known as Grotte di Castellana. A guide leads us through this otherworldly underground cavern; along our walk, we learn about its wide array of stalagmites and stalactites, fossils and formations — millions of years old!

Next, we head deeper into the beautiful Itria Valley to Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its trulli. A trullo house is a dry, stone dwelling with a conical roof — a style of architecture completely unique to towns in this valley, with some structures dating back to the 14th century. We explore the old districts of Rione Monti and Rione Aja Piccola, with over 1600 trulli houses, and are invited into one of these buildings to learn more about this ancient building technique.

Later today, we visit a family-owned winery where we learn about the local viticulture and wine production of this region, and have the opportunity to taste a selection of their wines.

At day's end, our immersion in Puglian gastromy and culture continues at a traditional farmhouse where we meet the owners and enjoy a home-cooked dinner using products from the farm.

Accommodations

Le Alcove
Alberobello, Italy

Ideally-located in the main square of Alberobello, Le Alcove offers an opportunity to spend an evening in a carefully restored trulli house. Each room offers its own unique decor and ambience, but all interiors are cozy and luxurious.

Day 7

Matera

  • Activity Overview: Walking on cobblestone streets
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 2-3 hours

We drive inland approximately one hour this morning to Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage town located in the Basilicata region. Set on the edge of a ravine, Matera is one of the oldest cities in Italy, and has been inhabited continuously since the Paleolithic Era. Here, we have a guided walk of the Sassi district, known for its homes carved out of the limestone caves and cliffs. Formerly, the area was one of Italy's poorest, with entire families living alongside their livestock in cave dwellings that lacked running water or power. This led to a near-constant outbreak of malaria and other diseases, and the area was often referred to as "Italy's shame." The city began to modernize in the mid-20th century, when the government demanded inhabitants move out of the grottoes and into newer buildings. Today, the revitalized Sassi district showcases a well-preserved living history, with some former cave dwellings now operating as restaurants and inns.

We have the afternoon free to explore independently before returning to Alberobello. This evening, we gather for a farewell dinner and celebrate our successful journey!

Accommodations

Le Alcove
Alberobello, Italy

Ideally-located in the main square of Alberobello, Le Alcove offers an opportunity to spend an evening in a carefully restored trulli house. Each room offers its own unique decor and ambience, but all interiors are cozy and luxurious.

Day 8

Departure

Today we say arrivederci to Puglia! A group transfer to Bari Airport will be provided after breakfast.

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2020
Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

Sep 19-26, 2020

Take over a date for your group! See "Make It Private" on Dates & Prices tab.

2020 Land Cost

From $4,995 Per Person


Single Supplement

First one reserved:$175

Additional:$675

See single supplement policy below.

2021
Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

May 29-Jun 5, 2021

Sep 18-25, 2021

Take over a date for your group! See "Make It Private" on Dates & Prices tab.

2021 Land Cost

$4,995 Per Person


Single Supplement

First one reserved:$175

Additional:$675

See single supplement policy below.

Pricing Notes

2021 PRICING GUARANTEE

Please note that we are holding our 2020 pricing for 2021 dates. For bookings received prior to 2021 pricing being set, Boundless Journeys will cover the first 5% of any increase in pricing, and will only ask travelers to pay any amount beyond a 5% increase.

MAKE IT PRIVATE

10+ Guests: $4,995 per person

4 to 9 or Guests: $5,395 per person

Make it Private price is based on Land Cost only, and a guarantee of the specified number of guests in double occupancy. For groups smaller than the numbers shown, or those requiring single occupancy, we reserve the right to adjust the per person price. Additionally, some trips have minimum group sizes. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for details.

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals, except dinner on Day 3
  • Local wine and beer with included dinners
  • Entrance fees and local guide fees
  • Activities as noted in the itinerary
  • All on-tour transportation
  • One roundtrip group airport transfer
  • Explorers Club savings on your next scheduled, small-group trip (conditions apply)
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Italy: Discovering Puglia is rated 2, easy, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). It features walks of varying lengths and easy -to-moderate difficulty that average 3-6 hours per day. Walks on this tour will be on varying terrain, including cobblestone streets in and around villages and some dirt roads and trails. Walks are broken up by rest, cultural activities, and meals. Please refer to the detailed itinerary for descriptions of the activities on each day of the trip.

Meeting Point

At the Hotel Oriente in Bari, Italy at 2 p.m.

Departure Point

The tour ends after breakfast on Day 8. A group transfer is provided to the Bari airport.

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Airport
Bari Airport in Bari, Italy (Airport code BRI)

Arrival Recommendation
We recommend arriving in Italy at least one day before your tour begins. This will give you time to rest after your travels and recover from any effects of jet lag. It may be most convenient to spend a pre-trip night at the Hotel Oriente in Bari, as this is our meeting place on Day 1.

Meeting Time and Place
In the lobby of the Hotel Oriente in Bari at 2 p.m. for a group transfer to Lecce. For those arriving in Bari on Day 1, a pickup will depart from the airport at 1:30 p.m.

Departure Time and Place
There will be a group transfer to Bari Airport (about 1 hour driving time) after breakfast on Day 8. We recommend scheduling your departing flight no earlier than 11 a.m.

Weather

The weather in late spring and early fall is usually very pleasant, with daytime temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the upper 80s, dropping to the 50s and 60s at night. While these months are not in Italy's "rainy season," there can be cool breezes or showers at any time.

Alberobello

May

High: 72
Low: 55

September

High: 78
Low: 62

Lecce

May

High: 68
Low: 55

September

High: 75
Low: 64

When to Go

The shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall take advantage of warm weather while avoiding the crowds of (often Italian!) tourists who flock to Puglia in July and August. Day time temperatures during May and September are usually warm enough to swim, but still cool enough for comfortable walking. Springtime sees colorful wildflowers in bloom, cascading over stone garden walls. In the fall, vineyards burst with purple grapes as the harvest begins.

Cuisine

Italy is famous for its cuisine, and with good reason. Located in the heel of Italy's "boot," Puglia is a traditional agricultural region, known for homestyle, country-inspired cuisine. Local wheat, tomatoes, artichokes, beans, fennel, peppers, onions, beef, and lamb are commonly found in many dishes. Puglians pride themselves on their pasta, orecchiette, shaped like little shells and usually served with meat and vegetable-based sauces. Puglian pasta is traditionally made only from durum wheat flour, water, and salt, because eggs were historically considered a luxury. In addition, fresh burrata, an abundance of seafood on the coast, and desserts made from regional almonds, honey, and sweetened ricotta cheese ensure a complete experience of local flavors.
One dinner (on Day 3) is not included in your trip cost as we believe that venturing out on your own is an important part of discovering a new culture. Vegetarians can be accommodated.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

From $4,995 / person* *airfare not included
8 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Sep 19-26, 2020
    May 29-Jun 5, 2021
    Sep 18-25, 2021
Take over a date for your group! See "Make It Private" on Dates & Prices tab.
Activity Level 2 Easy to Moderate

Easy to moderate walking, 3-6 hours per day on varying terrain, including cobblestone streets, city streets, and some dirt roads and trails.

Read about our Activity Levels
  • Group Size: 4-10 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

Prefer a Custom Tour?

Questions?

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1-800-941-8010

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