The coastal gems of undiscovered Italy
Situated in the 'heel' of Italy, lesser-known Puglia is a glorious region of labyrinthine ports, whitewashed villages and ancient historical dwellings. Take in its fabulous attractions during an all-inclusive stay on the coast.
Depart on your flight to Bari then transfer to the 4* Pietrablu Resort & Spa, which enjoys a splendid coastal setting close to Polignano a Mare. Puglia is nicknamed the 'wine cellar of Italy', and you may notice that the railway lines run through the middle of vineyards and among the olive groves. The region's rugged, bright coastline is home to secluded, deserted beaches - landing points for 2,000 years of invasion - and there is an unhurried and relaxed way of life here, as you will see in the day-to-day activities of friendly locals. Your stay is on an all inclusive basis, and after checking in you are free to unwind ahead of dinner.
This morning you visit the beautiful village of Locorotondo, considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in the whole of Italy, offering mesmerising views across the surrounding valley.
Continue to Martina Franca, with its stunning Old Town, a warren of narrow lanes where each twist and turn brings you face to face with extravagant baroque architecture.
Later enjoy a visit to Polignano a Mare, historically one of the most important ancient settlements in the area, and admire this beautiful little town perched on top of a cliff. Here you are at leisure to explore the centre with its charming pavement cafés or perhaps make a visit to some of the prehistoric caves that litter the coastline.
Today's excursion is to Lecce, a beautiful city known for its baroque streets, attractive squares and leafy lanes. The rail journey down from Polignano a Mare is impressively scenic; travelling along the coast, the train passes villages of whitewashed houses and olive groves. In Lecce you have a guided tour, with sights including the Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by the bell tower of Lecce's cathedral, and the quaint Old Town, before time at leisure to get lost amidst the stone gargoyles and gremlins adorning the unique 17th century buildings.
You could also perhaps visit Lecce's Roman amphitheatre - an archaeological treasure part excavated in 1938 which tells the story of the spectacles on show here to entertain the soldiers stationed in the town.
Enjoy an excursion to Alberobello, a charming town packed with as many as 1,400 'trulli' - peculiar cone-shaped stone houses. These unusual homes line the surrounding hillsides, and have UNESCO World Heritage status. Resembling large stone beehives, they were originally built without any kind of mortar so they could be quickly dismantled and easily rebuilt. This allowed the occupiers to evade tax collectors when word spread of their approach and the countryside here is covered in thousands of trulli. After a half-day tour, your afternoon is at leisure.
Travel to Bari, Puglia's capital where you enjoy a tour of the Old Town, tucked onto a headland edging out into the Adriatic Sea. Home to the city's 11th century church, the Romanesque Basilica di San Nicola, Castello Svevo, or 'Swabian Castle', as well as a couple of grand piazzas, you'll be transported back in time as you hear about the stories that rose this old port city to economic prominence.
Later, you travel to Trani, 'the pearl of Puglia' on your excursion today. You are free to explore this historic fishing town and its harbour, revelling in its casual atmosphere that evokes the nostalgia of 1950s seaside glamour.
Your tour today visits remote Matera, a town in Basilicata set in a small canyon. Much less visited than other destinations in Puglia, Matera best known for its 'Sassi' - ancient troglodyte caves used as dwellings since the Palaeolithic era. Over the last decade many of the Sassi have been adapted into fantastic houses, hotels and restaurants and you enjoy a guided tour before an afternoon to explore at your own pace.
Now deserted, these dwellings were inhabited as recently as the 1980s and are a wonderfully-well preserved reminder of the past, so much so that in 1993 they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
You are free to relax at the hotel today, why not head to the private beach and relax before your journey tomorrow, soaking up the last of the Italian atmosphere. This evening enjoy a final group meal together.
After breakfast this morning, check out and transfer to Bari airport for the flight back to the UK, where your tour comes to an end.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 26 verified reviews
Hotel excellent as were the travel arrangements and the tour manager. We feel that the programme of trips was overcrowded. This was acknowledged in discussions with the tour manager. The guides were of variable quality.
Had no issues and generally the holiday went well.
We had a great time but others did not, which upset us. RD did not make any mention of the amount of uneven, rising, long walks that were to be made. Those with walking sticks, crutches and very slow walkers either had to exhaust themselves or miss out of half of the tours.
Lovely places to see and of historical interest. Seamless transfers to and from airport which means no stress.The manager we had was great.He couldn't do enough for us and a gosh.Hotel was lovely too
Everything went according to plan. Great Tour Manager and good company.
I have written to the company with full details of good things and those which were not so good.
Everything about the holiday from the tour manager excursions the other people on the holiday and hotel where very good It was the 1st hotel I have stayed at for a longtime and not wished I had packed domestics The bathrooms were spotless 3 trips on the 1st day was hard work and the trip to Bari was not so interesting We had a trip to Ostuni organised by a lovely lady on the trip and thought this was a much nicer place to visit.
Good and interesting excursions
Puglia is a lovely area, with really fascinating towns to visit. I could have spent more time in several of the places. The Hotel, accommodation, food, grounds, beach area were all excellent. It is a shame that there is nowhere near to explore when walking
5 stars because our rep was very helpful, the accommodation was brilliant as was the food. All in all a great holiday experience
The coastal gems of undiscovered Italy