Sulmona - Peschici - Molfetta

Abruzzo & the Gargano Peninsula

Destination
Sulmona - Peschici - Molfetta
Dates From
20/06/2022
Duration
8 days
7 nights
Price From
$5,100
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SMALL GROUP TOUR

Puglia is the “heel” of the Italian boot, the Gargano Peninsula is its “spur” and Abruzzo form the “ankle”. Hugging the south-eastern seaboard of Italy and looking towards the Balkans, the mountainous region of Abruzzo differ considerably from Puglia, the richest of the two. From the dramatic Alpine peaks of the Gran Sasso to the wild wolves in the national parks; from craggy medieval hill towns to the sandy Adriatic coastline and Slow Food -Abruzzo offers everything an Italophile could wish for. For years the region’s wild beauty was hidden from the world by the Appennines. Abruzzo is a region that is almost two-thirds mountainous parkland-ideal for hiking, horse riding or, in winter, skiing on the Grand Sasso or Maiella Ranges. Gourmands will delight in Abruzzo’s outstanding restaurants, and superb local wines like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano.

Nature’s colours are bold in Puglia, and man-made shapes are simple – with chunky, cubic houses and conical-roofed cottages dotting the countryside. Its extensive coastline bears the marks of many conquering invaders: the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks. The regions to be explored are also rich in their own culinary and folkloric traditions and we take time not only to explore grand palaces and mighty castles but also learn about the local people as we visit their picturesque villages and view their traditional homes. We taste the local produce, sample the local wine and enjoy a display of the local traditional folklore.

This truly unique and very special tour is not to be missed with a small, friendly group limited to 12/14 participants only!

Highlights & Inclusions

  • Guaranteed departures private small group travel: small, friendly group limited to 12/14 participants only!
  • More than 10 included sightseeing tours & cultural experiences
  • Transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned luxury 20 seats motorcoach
  • Transfers while overseas, baggage transfers & porterage are included
  • Included gratuity for city guides only
  • Hotel city tax is included
  • Entrances to archaeological sites are included
  • All breakfasts, 3 foodie experiences, 3 lunches, 4 dinners (main meals include regional wine, mineral water, espresso coffee or tea only)

Itinerary

Day 1: ABRUZZO-A REGION WHERE THE WONDERS OF NATURE RULE SUPREME

We meet in Rome railway station at 10.00 for a fascinating drive to the Abruzzo region, stopping in the nearby hills to learn about the Roman Emperor Hadrian, at the ruins of his monumental villa at Tivoli. An enthusiastic traveller and builder, his lasting legacy includes his great wall across Britain, the domed Pantheon, and his stylish beard. After lunch on your own and a visit to the Hadrian’s Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage, we’ll drive up and over the Apennine spine of Italy, and on to the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Spend the first three nights of your Abruzzo experience at the central boutique hotel “Ovidius” located near the Cathedral of the enchanting town of Sulmona. Situated at the foot of the Maiella Mountains, between two national parks, Sulmona is renowned for its confetti (crunchy sugar-coated almonds) and its master goldsmiths. The central square is one of the region’s most picturesque, framed by a stunning medieval aqueduct. Dinner is included this evening in a local tavern where you’ll feel like one of the family and eat like a local! Overnight stay in Sulmona.

Day 2: BACKROAD SULMONA,CONFETTI MUSEUM & WINERY EXPERIENCE

In the morning, we take a private tour around the ancient town of Sulmona famous as the home of both Ovid, with our locally born guide to have the key sights explained to us. The tour includes a lunch in one of the best restaurants of Sulmona and the visit to the Confetti Museum. Sulmona is filled with ancient buildings, such as the Palazzo dell’Annunziata, which combines Gothic and Renaissance styles. The Museo Civico holds a collection of local antiquities, costumes and paintings. When it comes to wine, Abruzzo is known for its Montelpulciano D’Abruzzo and today we venture out to visit a family-run vineyard. The evening is all yours to head to the old town for a meal or taking in the atmosphere of the evening “stroll”. Overnight stay in Sulmona.

Day 3: LOCAL TRADITIONS IN SCANNO & COOKERY LESSON IN PACENTRO

Today’s tour takes you drive across the outstanding Abruzzo Mountains and National Parks to the well-kept medieval hill-town of Scanno, located on a rocky spur by a clear mountain lake. Scanno retains a medieval feel with its narrow alleys, courtyards and Renaissance churches, the most important of which Santa Maria della Valle. The medieval fountain Fontana Sarrocco with its Romanesque arches has become one of the town’s symbols. Artisans still practise crafts such as lacemaking in styles particular to Abruzzo. Continue to the charming village of Pacentro for an exclusive cooking class with a local family to learn how to make fresh pasta. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in Sulmona.

Day 4: ABBEY OF S.GIOVANNI IN VENERE, UNESCO TRABOCCHI COAST & ROMAN TOWN OF VASTO

Today, we transfer you to the Gargano promontory, forming the spur of Italy’s boot, a striking contrast to the Adriatic’s flatter coastline. This is a land of whitewashed coastal towns, wide sandy beaches interspersed with secluded coves, and craggy limestone cliffs topped by deep-green pine and scrubby Mediterranean maquis (underbrush). En-route, we’ll visit the Abbey of S.Giovanni in Venere, a Benedictine monastery and church dating from the 6th century. The church has 13th century frescoes and a crypt with Roman columns. Continue to the UNESCO World Heritage protected, the 70 km Trabocchi Coast where examples of vanishing trabocchi can be found. The origins of these strange fishing catching structures are not clear. Some hypothesize that immigrants built them in the late 1600s.Others date their system of engineering to the 8th century. Trabocchi have wooden beams and nets with an intricate system of weights and balances to scoop up the fish, while staying connected to land. A special law now preserves some 20 remaining trabocchi dotted along the coast. Following an included hearty lunch in a typical trabocco while looking at the ocean, your journey continues to the Roman town of Vasto for time at leisure to make your own discoveries or simply wandering its colourful winding streets and alleys. Our unique accommodation for the next three nights is a wonderful Apulian Masseria (Farmhouse) “La Chiusa Delle More” located near the majestic village of Peschici. The owners, Antonella and Francesco will be thrilled to welcome you in their house. Overnight stay in Peschici.

Day 5: MAGICAL VIESTE & BOAT TRIP

Vieste is one of Italy’s most attractive coastal towns, situated on a rocky promontory overlooking turquoise waters with beaches either side. A magnificent town of white houses clinging to the coastline, narrow cobbled streets leading to stairways and agave covered arches. Today, you’ll visit the ancient village with narrow streets that climb towards the Cathedral, between whitewashed houses and colourful bazaar. After an included “foodie experience”, you’ll be sailing around fascinating Vieste and its prehistoric caves (weather permitting). Rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, our dinner is taking place at the Masseria in the company of Antonello and Francesca. Overnight in Peschici.

Day 6: UNESCO MONTE SANT’ANGELO, FORESTA UMBRA & PESCHICI

Perched on a rocky spur, the town of Monte Sant’Angelo commands great views over the surrounding Foresta Umbra. It was put on the pilgrim map after Archangel Michael was said to have appeared at a grotto here in AD 493.The Santuario di San Michele has a shrine to St Michael-its bronze doors were cast in Constantinople in 1076.The building has a genuine cave chapel and other shrines including a 16th century statue of Michael in Carrara marble and Frederick II’s Silver Cross, said to contain a piece of the True Cross. Near the grotto stands the irregularly shaped Castello Normanno Svevo Aragonese and the large pentagonal Torre dei Giganti. After an included lunch in a local farmhouse, we continue driving to the magical Foresta Umbra, an ideal respite from the sun under arcades of oak, larch, maple and ash trees. With more than one third of Italy’s flora, the woods are a botanist’s dream. We end the day experience in Peschici, a beautiful town founded by the Slavs perched on a rocky cliff by the sea. Built onto the rocks above the coast, the 10th century Castello di Peschici has rooms full of medieval and Renaissance torture devices. Overnight in Peschici.

Day 7: SIPONTO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA, SALT PANS MUSEUM & MEDIEVAL MOLFETTA

Our last day in the Gargano Peninsula features a visit to the ancient port town of Siponto where a glowing golden stone church from the 11th to 12th century and a wire art installation of the older church next to it make this a unique site to visit. The artist made a wire suggestion of a church complete with figures on top of the ruins of a very early building. Plus there are even earlier (from Roman times) ruins on the site as well and an intact mosaic floor. We then continue to the salt town of Margherita di Savoia which developed as a result of the salt flats that stretch along the coast north of Barletta-the salt works date as far back as the 3rd century BC. The story of the salt continues at the Museo Storico della Salina (the Salt Museum) which we visit today.We end the day in the port town of Molfetta for the last night staying at the exclusive “Hotel Dogana Resort” or similar. In the evening we’ll celebrate you with an “arrivederci dinner” in a local restaurant sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. SALUTE! Overnight in Molfetta.

Day 8: ARRIVEDERCI PUGLIA!

Morning transfers to Bari airport and train station. You might also like our beautiful 10 days small group tour to Unknown Puglia & Basilicata.

DATES & PRICES

Starts Ends Price Status Book
20/06/202227/06/2022$5,100 p/p twin shareAvailable
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06/09/202213/09/2022$5,100 p/p twin shareAvailable
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03/06/202310/06/2023$5,250 p/p twin shareAvailable
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05/09/202312/09/2023$5,250 p/p twin shareAvailable
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16/10/202323/10/2023$5,250 p/p twin shareAvailable
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Exclusions

Single supplement (is available if required)
Optional excursions/sightseeing
Meals and beverages other than those specified
Tips/Gratuities
Everything which is not clearly specified under inclusions

* Please note, price is subject to fluctuation and availability is subject to change until booked and confirmed *