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Puglia & Basilicata

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Whitewashed villages and sparkling coastlines welcome you to Southern Italy on this journey through Puglia and Basilicata, featuring time in Rome, Lecce, Monopoli, and fascinating towns that beg your exploration.

10 days From $2,095 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2023 Tour code: GR-PBSA-23

About the tour

Overflowing with history and coastal allure, Southern Italy hosts this exciting expedition featuring big-city attractions and small-town charms. Enjoy time in the Puglia region, nestled in the heel of the boot, as well as in Basilicata, beloved for its rugged terrain. Each charming locale renews your spirit for adventure, opening your eyes and heart to the delights of Italy's southern half.

Begin your journey in Rome, where a guided tour introduces you to the Eternal City's most significant sites. The journey proceeds across Italy, arriving at Santa Maria al Bagno on the Adriatic Coast. Using this quaint beach resort town as a base, enjoy day trips to Lecce, Galatina, and Gallipoli, each with unique histories and features to keep you on the edge of your seat. Continue further north in the heel to seaside Monopoli; Alberobello, with its prehistoric Trulli; and Matera, where you will see UNESCO World Heritage-designated cave dwellings. Your tour concludes in the port city of Bari. A journey through the ages by way of Italy's idyllic landscapes, this tour is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Rome

Arrive in Rome and transfer independently to your hotel, where you will meet your Tour Manager and fellow travelers. Once the largest city in the world and the center of the powerful Roman Empire, the city's architecture charts the passage of time through its wonderfully preserved Roman monuments and buildings with distinctive medieval, Renaissance and Baroque features. Overnight Rome. 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Rome

We discover the many famous sights of Rome on a guided tour. We pass the incredible Colosseum, Italy's most famous classical sight, and the Roman Forum as well as Piazza Venezia and the Pantheon. Later, you're free to savor Rome's beauty at your own pace. The city is rich in world-class museums and galleries, though simply walking through the atmospheric streets is a treat. Overnight Rome. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Santa Maria al Bagno

Leaving Rome, we travel across Italy by rail - a scenic journey which takes us along the gorgeous Italian-Adriatic coastline. We travel into Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy - a rural region with an undiscovered feel. We arrive in the town of Lecce in southern Puglia then transfer by coach to our seafront hotel in the fishing town of Santa Maria al Bagno, our relaxing base for the next four nights. There's free time to get to know our lovely surroundings, possibly take a refreshing swim in one of the hotel pools, visit the private beach or spend some time on the sun terrace which overlooks the sea. Overnight Santa Maria al Bagno. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Lecce

We visit the town of Lecce today on a guided walking tour. With an interesting Old Town of elaborate Baroque architecture, Lecce has been dubbed 'the Florence of the South', and the city's narrow alleys are ideal for exploring on foot. We visit the Chiesa di Santa Croce, with its intricately carved rose window and grand chandeliers, and the Piazza del Duomo, the main square, in the shadow of Lecce's cathedral. Our guided tour ends in a traditional café, where we sample a Leccese coffee, made with almond milk and poured over ice and 'pasticciotto', a Southern Puglian dish. We then have a free afternoon to explore the town. Overnight Santa Maria al Bagno. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 –Santa Maria al Bagno at Leisure

You have a day at leisure to explore the town of Santa Maria al Bagno or relax at the hotel. Due to its beautiful coastline and good swimming beaches, the town buzzes with vacationers during the height of summer. There is an attractive promenade overlooked by elegant estates and palazzos. The traditional town center is just a short walk from the hotel, and above is the 'Tower of the Galatena River' a set of four medieval fortress towers known locally as 'the four columns'. The town was the site of a 'displaced persons camp' after World War II, and a small museum tells the moving story of refugees who were given temporary homes in Santa Maria al Bagno and how they were welcomed by the local population. Overnight Santa Maria al Bagno. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Galatina & Gallipoli

We set off for a full day of sightseeing, first to Galatina - one of the region's hidden gems, off the well-worn tourist track with an impressive domed cathedral. After some free time here, we continue to the historic town of Gallipoli which we explore with our local guide. Overnight Santa Maria al Bagno. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Monopoli

Today we travel by coach to Lecce then by rail to Monopoli, an old, whitewashed town with a characterful harbor. After checking into our hotel, we enjoy a walking tour of the town with a local guide. Overnight Monopoli. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 - Alberobello

Our excursion today is to Alberobello, a town unlike any other. The town is packed with hundreds of 'Trulli' - cone-shaped, limestone houses built in a style that dates to prehistoric times. We meet our knowledgeable and friendly guide, Mimmo Palmisano, also known as 'Mr Alberobello'. We sit down to a delicious lunch in his family's restaurant before a guided tour, with Mimmo's unique and fascinating insights. Overnight Monopoli. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 – Matera

We visit Matera in Basilicata, which sits in a small canyon and is famous for its 'Sassi', a collection of ancient cave dwellings that have UNESCO World Heritage status. We explore the maze of winding streets and Paleolithic-era abodes, some of which date back to the 8th century and were inhabited until as recently as the 1950s. Matera has flourished in recent years and there are many boutiques, craft shops, bars and cafés to discover in your free time after our tour. Overnight Monopoli. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – Return Home

Your tour of Southern Italy concludes after breakfast where you are free to continue your onward journey.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

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