Ravello - Bari - Matera - Lecce - Ostuni

From the Amalfi Coast to Puglia

Destination
Ravello - Bari - Matera - Lecce - Ostuni
Dates From
04/10/2019
Duration
12 nights
13 Days
Price From
$6400
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SMALL GROUP TOUR

Our Amalfi Coast to Apulia tour showcases four nights on the unforgettable Amalfi Coast at Ravello, home to fabulous gardens, spectacular views and world renowned classical music concerts. We’ll take a boat cruise to picturesque Positano, visit the maritime museum at ancient Amalfi, try some limoncello in famous Sorrento and discover Greek Temples at Paestum.

Apulia, the less traveled and many treasured heel of the Italian boot, reveals mysterious castles and cone-shaped Trulli homes and provides the country’s best food and excellent Primitivo wine.  Our historic district lodgings are in the capital port city of Bari, Baroque Lecce, the white city Ostuni and the absolutely unique experience of the gorge and cave dwellings at Matera.

Inclusions

  • Day 1 arrival transfers from Naples train station & airport
  • 12 nights accommodation in charming hotels
  • Tourist accommodation tax
  • All ground transportation and porterage Days 2-12
  • All breakfasts, 5 dinners & 3 lunches, beverages included
  • All activities and admissions listed in the itinerary
  • Full-time professional tour manager
  • All ground transportation
  • Day 13 morning transfers to Brindisi airport

Itinerary

Day 1

Late morning transfers from Naples train station and airport, where you will be met by your tour manager. Our first stop is for a fascinating afternoon guided tour through the streets of Pompeii, the ancient Roman city that remained buried for 1800 years underneath ash and stone from the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Ravello, once home to ancient Roman villas, was later the second city of the powerful Amalfi maritime republic with a population of 40,000. Spectacular views, wonderful semitropical gardens, a grand open square and 11th century cathedral highlight this small piece of Italian paradise. In more recent centuries Ravello has played host to many famous composers and writers like Richard Wagner, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and Gore Vidal. Our four night stay at the elegant Hotel Villa Maria will begin with aperitifs and welcome dinner on the hotel balcony overlooking the stunning Amalfi Coast.

Day 2

Morning at leisure. Ravello, a noted resort during ancient Roman times and later part of the Amalfi Republic, has in the last few centuries been home to famous writers and composers. It has much to enjoy with its sea views, wonderful gardens, pedestrian only lanes and enormous town square.

2pm departure for a boat cruise to colorful Positano, dramatically perched on a cliffside overlooking a deep blue sea.

Late afternoon return to Amalfi, the most intriguing city of this whole amazing coastline. The Amalfi city-state, unlike the rest of Italy (Venice excluded), didn’t disappear into the so-called Dark Ages, but maintained a continuity of wealth and influence from Roman times until the 11th and 12th centuries when it suffered sackings first by Normans, then twice by Pisa. Its decline was completed in the 14th century, when an earthquake caused most of the city to slide into the sea.

Today it is a beautiful small town that hugs the harbor with winding pedestrian lanes and 5,000 inhabitants. Our guided tour will take us through the tiny squares and alleyways, the Arsenal (medieval shipyard) and the Norman cathedral.

Included seafood dinner at a local trattoria.

Day 3

Paestum, an ancient Greek and Roman town founded in 720 B.C., is home to three of the best preserved Greek temples in the Mediterranean. Paestum was abandoned during medieval times and its existence forgotten until the 18th century. Our local guide will walk us through the archeological complex and museum bringing this powerful town of Magna Graecia back to life.

Late afternoon and evening free in Ravello.

Day 4

Sorrento, our morning destination, sits atop a cliff looking down on the Bay of Naples. Narrow, winding lanes, artisan shops, wisteria hanging from terraces and the smell of citrus flowers all add to the charm of this historic resort town.

Mid afternoon we’ll take the famous Amalfi Coast scenic drive back to Ravello. Evening free.

Day 5

Leaving the Tyrrhenian coast we will cross the Italian peninsula to the Adriatic Sea. Our first stop is at a trattoria where we will experience the unique local cuisine and wines.

Afternoon guided visit to Castel del Monte, the enigmatic octagonal castle erected by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century.

Transfer to Bari, the capital city of Puglia, where we’ll be staying at the elegant Hotel Oriente, located in the Murattiano historic district.

Evening on your own

Day 6

Bari Vecchia, the fascinating old town, with its clustered homes and narrow winding lanes, lies on a peninsula extending out to the two Adriatic Sea ports. The modern part of the city, laid out in a grid pattern during Napoleonic times, features the city’s major shopping area and a long seaside promenade, the lungomare, where fishermen sell their catches right off their boats.

Morning free for your own explorations.  Afternoon guided city walking tour that includes the Norman -Swabian fortress and the 11th century cathedral that contains the remains of Saint Nicholas.

Included dinner

Day 7

Morning visit to Trani, a beautiful port town that was once the possession of Venice.  Trani’s origins date back to early Roman imperial days. Its historical notes begin in the 9th century, during the time of the Lombard and Byzantine dominations. In later centuries it was under the rule of Normans, Germans and Aragonese. Today, Trani is a prosperous fishing town with a lovely port and beautiful pedestrian only piazza.

Afternoon transfer to the “Sassi” of Matera, a spectacular agglomeration of cave dwellings built into the soft tufa stone of deep ravines. Our hotel for the next two nights is the Locanda di San Martino or the Hotel Palazzo Viceconte, both located in the heart of the Sassi historic district.

Day 8

Inhabited since prehistoric times, there were 18,000 resident Sassi cave dwellers as recently as the 1950s when they were forcibly evacuated for inadequate sanitation. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area has been repopulated, the homes renovated, many transformed into elegant hotels and restaurants. This morning we will have a fascinating guided tour through these antique lanes including a visit to the Peasant Culture Museum.

On the plateau above the gorge, just 100 meters from your hotel, the more modern Matera offers an architectural gem of a city center with open squares, fountains and inviting shops.

Included dinner

Day 9

Today our first stop is Manduria, where we’ll visit a local winery for a tasting of their excellent “primitivo” wines and a visit to their Wine Culture Museum. Included light lunch.

Afternoon transfer to the historic district of Lecce, where we’ll be staying at the 18th century Patria Palace Hotel for two nights.

Lecce presents an architectural feast. An ancient settlement of the Messapii tribes, it is the principal Baroque city of Puglia. Baroque, in architecture, is a theatrical style begun in late 16th century Italy as a statement of the power of the Catholic Church in response to the Protestant Reformation.

Day 10

Morning local guide tour of Lecce.

Afternoon trip to the ancient Roman and Byzantine town of Otranto, the easternmost point on the Italian peninsula. Our guide will take us through the 1000 year old walled hamlet and the 11th century Norman cathedral with the best preserved mosaic floors in southern Italy.

Day 11

Morning visit to the medieval town of Galatina to see the 14th century Santa Caterina d’Alessandria Cathedral where there are frescoes so vast and magnificent that you might imagine yourself to be in Assisi.

Our next destination is Brindisi, the famous Adriatic Sea port of the ancient Romans and the terminal point of the Appian Way. Included lunch.

Ostuni, one of the most beautiful hill towns in Puglia, is white, all of it – the houses, shops, churches, streets – set under a deep blue sky and perched on a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The upper historic center is a maze of twisted lanes and staircases, homes constructed one on top of another, and arches that seem to hold it all together before spilling out into an enormous square full of bars, shops and restaurants that is the lower town.

Inhabited at least since 1000 BC by native peoples, Ostuni was destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic wars, rebuilt by the Greeks, taken over by Romans, sacked by Gauls and revived during medieval times. Our hotel is the labyrinthine 13th century Hotel La Terra.

Our guided tour of the city will be followed by a tasting of local products.  You’ll have the evening on your own to further experience the wonderful local cuisine.

Day 12

At Alberobello there is a village of one thousand fairytale-like Trulli, round white houses with tall conical roofs. Our local guide will explain their mysterious origins and why people continue to build them.

Afternoon tour of an 11th century Masseria (fortified farmhouse) with a tasting of olive oils from their ancient olive trees.

Farewell dinner of local Apulian delicacies and last limoncello in Ostuni.

Day 13

Morning transfers to Brindisi airport and train station.

DATES & PRICES

Starts Ends Price Status Book
20/09/201902/10/2019$6400 p/p twin shareFully Booked
04/10/201916/10/2019$6400 p/p twin shareOn Request
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Exclusions

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