A Week in Puglia

This tour is a great post option to our CPE The Islands of Venice Conference@Sea

8 DAYS, 7 NIGHTS | 13 - 20 May 2019


Enjoy an intimate travel experience on Tauck’s week long Puglia Italy tour. Explore the long heel of Italy’s boot to discover sights, tastes, and gorgeous seascapes you’ll find nowhere else...  like Matera, the “Subterranean City,” where the Sassi houses are caverns and the streets are sometimes the roofs of other houses... Trulli houses, tiny fairy castles made of limestone slabs, built without mortar... Castel del Monte, a 13th-century citadel with a strange design and history. Discover Renaissance frescoes in Galatina. Stay multiple nights in “Masserias,” fortified 16th-century farmhouses turned into elegant hotels. Enjoy wine and olive oil tastings at vineyards yet undiscovered by the maddening crowds… tours of a medieval castle enticing with soul-stirring views and wines… meals tempting with bounty of the sea and land, and stays at breathtaking masserias (farmhouses).


Details of our Tour with Tauck, from $6,240 pp*

Day 1: Arrive in Bari, then welcome to Matera

Tour begins at 6:00 PM at the Palazzo Gattini, Matera. We will meet you upon arrival at Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport on your trip to Puglia, Italy and transfer you to your luxury hotel, set in a 15th-century stone palace in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera in Puglia. Nestled on the tip of Italy’s boot, Puglia welcomes with seaside delights, mouthwatering cuisine and entire cities resplendent in art, architecture and warm hospitality. Join us this evening for a rooftop welcome reception, followed by dinner in a local restaurant, and experience your first taste of Puglia’s enticing cultural delights.


LODGING : PALAZZO GATTINI, Once home to the Gattini Counts, Matera’s oldest noble family, the Palazzo Gattini has been transformed by architect Ettore Mocchetti into a boutique luxury hotel that exudes the sophistication and refinement of its noble lineage. A stay here reflects the history of more than six centuries of the Gattini family. Each of the hotel’s guest rooms is unique in its own way; every open door tells a story or recounts a legend. Walls of mazzaro, a local limestone used for indoor environments, are accented and contrasted by rich fabrics. Furnishings have been created by the best local craftsmen; and suffused and gentle lighting invites you to relax and slow down the pace. Throughout the Palazzo Gattini, the splendor of the past is intertwined with the technology and modern comfort of the present. Each room is equipped with a minibar; soft bathrobe and slippers made in Italy; rich “Cotè Bastide” toiletries; two telephones with direct dial; air conditioning; 220 power adapter and LCD color TV.


Day 2: The Sassi of Matera & a 13th-century castle

Today you'll hop aboard a tuk-tuk for a ride through the winding streets of Matera in Basilicata, home to a settlement of cave dwellings that dates back to Paleolithic times – and one that starred in Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, our local guide shares insights about Matera's famous rock dwellings, known as Sassi (for "stone"), which you'll see piled haphazardly atop one another across the sides of a steep ravine; they began back in antiquity as natural caves and grottoes, and over the centuries were adapted as homes, and were lived in until 1960. Go inside a typically furnished cave home, before driving to Alta Mura, the “City of Bread” for a taste of local life. Take a guided tour inside 13th-century Castel del Monte this afternoon, one of the best-preserved castles in southern Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it also is featured on the Italian version of the one-cent euro coin! Spend the evening at leisure back in Matera.



Day 3: Baroque treasures of Lecce

Drive through the countryside to Lecce today, stopping en route at a winery known for its Puglian Primitivo wine. Enjoy a tasting tour and lunch and continue on to your hotel in Lecce. A guided walking tour of the city's 300-year-old cobblestone streets includes a close look at its Baroque monuments and architectural sites that give credence to Lecce's nickname as the “Florence of the South" – the ornate 15th-century Chiesa di Santa Chiara; the 2nd-century Roman Amphitheater, unearthed in 1901; the Piazza del Duomo; and the allegorically dressed Basilica de Santa Croce, a must-see site inside and out. Spend the remainder of the day exploring as you wish.


LODGING : RISORGIMENTO RESORT: A 5-star hotel with 47 guest rooms dating from 1880 and recently refurbished, Risorgimento Resort is ideally located in the historic heart of picturesque Lecce, steps from the main square and the Roman amphitheater. Spacious and handsomely decorated, all guest rooms have individually controlled air conditioning, minibars, TVs, Wi-Fi, and large marble bathrooms. Hotel amenities include a fitness center, gym, and a wellness spa noted for its atmospheric treatment rooms and services like hamman, chromo-aroma showers and cloud baths. A choice of dining venue includes Le 4 Speziere Roof Garden, Le 4 Speziere Restaurant where regional fare is served, and a comfortable bar and lounge.

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Day 4: Galatina, Otranto & Zoe entertainment

Head to nearby Galatina, home of the “Tarantella,” for a tour of the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria where you will view impressive frescoes depicting biblical stories. On a visit inside the Baroque Chiesa di San Paolo, see the church well that was reputed to have healing powers from magic spiders. After lunch, drive to the fortified seaside town of Otranto for a guided walking tour of its historic sites. See its famous castle and visit its medieval cathedral, home to a magnificent floor mosaic (and wooden coffered ceiling) along with its macabre crypts. Dinner tonight at an authentic masseria delights with a family-style farm-to-table menu that showcases ingredients grown on site and “Officina Zoe” pizzica folk music and dance.



Day 5: Through Puglia to Ostuni & on to your Masseria

Spend the morning at leisure, before driving to an Apulian masseria for a tour of its grounds and a lunch featuring locally produced ingredients. En route to your masseria hotel in Savelletri di Fasano, explore the multi-level medieval city of Ostuni, charming with whitewashed houses.


LODGING : MASSERIA TORRE MAIZZA / MASSERIA TORRE COCCARO: Authentic 500-year-old masserias fortificata, country manor houses fortified against pirates back in the day, Masseria Torre Maizza and Masseria Torre Coccaro are part of ancient farming estate located in the heart of Puglia. Masseria Torre Maizza offers luxury accommodations in 33 en-suite guest rooms, each of which is furnished with locally sourced antiques, whitewashed vaulted ceilings and a private terrace to exude a rich sense of place and modern-day amenities, including Internet and a spacious bathroom, to ensure a comfortable stay. Nearby Masseria Torre Coccaro, a family-run working farm with a whitewashed tower façade, has 28 guests rooms with en-suite baths and patios that are also furnished with antique furniture from the region and contemporary amenities.

Equally delightful, the masserias are both set amidst centuries-old olive trees and botanical gardens, and offer guests swimming in outdoor pools or in the sea, golf, complimentary mountain bikes, jogging paths, Aveda spa services, a fitness center, access to a private beach and yacht, and a choice of restaurants. On the grounds of Masseria Torre Maizza, restaurant Le Palme specializes in locally procured fish, prawns, meat and cheese, with seasonal vegetables from their own estate gardens, and poolside Le Colonne offers limited menus of fresh local dishes. The restaurant Egnathia in Masseria Torre Coccaro, set under the star-shaped vaults of the old stables, serves traditional Puglia organic cuisine, and the restaurant at Coccaro Beach offers fresh fish and sushi.


Day 6: Trulli in Alberobello

Regulated by an edict enforced by the Kingdom of Naples in the 15th century, mortarless buildings and home in the southern region of Puglia called trulli were constructed only of stone during that time, with many still standing distinctively intact today. Today, visit the "barnyard district" of Rione Aia Picola in the town of Alberobello, tightly packed with alleys lined by whitewashed trulli once inhabited by the farmers who built them. There no shops or cars here, lending to the authenticity of this unique experience. See the Trulli Sovrano, the town’s only two-story trullo and its most impressive, built in the 18th century for a local priest and today a museum of religious relics. You'll have some time at leisure to explore more on your own and sample a taste of local fare. This evening’s dinner at a classic Puglia seafood restaurant gives you an opportunity to savor the catch of the day fresh from the sea.



Day 7: Seaside Polignano a Mare & a farewell dinner

Built into a rugged ravine pitted with caves and painted with deep blue grottoes, the seaside town of Polignano a Mare is renowned for its cliff diving; for inspiring the 1958 international hit song "Nel blu dipinto di blu" (a.k.a. “Volare”) by Italian singer, songwriter, actor and Parliament member Domenico Modugno (who was born here); and, according to the locals, for its ice cream. Enjoy time to wander in town before returning to your resort. Join us for a farewell dinner tonight.



Day 8: Journey home

Your trip ends in Savelletri di Fasano. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre Coccaro to Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport or Brindisi Airport, regardless of time or day of departure. Ask at booking about extending your stay with additional hotel nights in Savelletri di Fasano or in Bari. You should allow three hours for flight check in.




  • ALL SMALL GROUP DEPARTURES averaging 24 Tauck guests! A small group size means a more personal travel experience highlighted by stays at chic smaller hotels in fabulous locations.

  • A two-night stay in Matera in Basilicata, with sightseeing by tuk-tuk and guided exploration of the Sassi cave-dwelling settlement, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Guided tour of Castel del Monte, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Southern Italy

  • Two nights in the Baroque city of Lecce, known as the “Florence of the South”

  • Lunch at a winery known for Puglian Primitivo wine

  • A visit to Alberobello’s famous limestone trulli houses

  • Guided walking tours of Galatina and Otranto

  • 15 meals (7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners), airport transfers as noted, gratuities to local guides, service charges, porterage and taxes

This tour is a great post option to our CPE The Islands of Venice Conference@Sea