Southern Italy tour: Puglia

10 days/9 nights
An unforgettable tour of Puglia to discover the main attractions of the “Heel of Italy” and the suggestive Sassi of Matera. You will discover the great artistic, cultural and natural heritage of this region: the symbols of imperial Puglia such as Trani, with its Cathedral and the Swabian Castle, and Castel del Monte, immersed in the typical Apulian landscape. The Itria Valley will unravel before your eyes with the incredible Trulli of Alberobello and the charming village of Locorotondo, while the wonderful underground caves of Castellana will take you on an accessible journey “to the center of the earth”. The ancient centers of Salento will welcome you among the authentic jewels of the Lecce Baroque, and then move on to Basilicata to admire Matera, among the famous Sassi and the incredible caves and rock churches.

The tour continues toward Murgia and Val d’Itria walking among the trulli of Alberobello and the charming village of Locorotondo. The tour will end in Santa Maria di Leuca, a magical place considered by the ancients to be the limit of the emerged lands.

An accessible private van equipped for the wheelchair will take you from Bari or Brindisi airport to your hotel in Bari.

Our vans are designed to be large and comfortable. They can accommodate up to six wheelchairs of any type and size and are equipped with an electric hydraulic platform that facilitates the ascent and descent at each stage of the tour.

Once you arrive at your five-star hotel in the historic center of Bari, where you will enjoy a six-night stay, you will be escorted to your room so that you can leave your luggage and relax for a while. The Outreach Team has previously checked all the rooms in every detail: from the width of the doors to the height of the bed, including the spaces in the shower and between the bathroom fixtures.

Should you need the addition of any service to make your stay more comfortable at the hotel, the Outreach Team can provide you any type of equipment you need. Furthermore, once at the hotel you will meet your personal guide with whom you will discover all the details of the program.

Outreach has partnered with the most authoritative associations of bilingual guides in Italy: each of them specializes in art history and boasts many years of experience in inclusive tourism.

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An accessible private van will drive you to Trani, also known as “the pearl of the South”, a charming city overlooking the harbor, renowned for the high density of characteristic fishing boats.

Its historic center is a real treasure trove and houses the ancient Jewish quarter of Giudecca. The city stands out with its breathtaking scenery, rich in history and harmonious architectural lines, both permeated by the influence of Frederick II of Swabia, who made Trani its maritime fortress.

The Cathedral of Trani stands splendidly overlooking the sea: made up of three superimposed churches, it is a true masterpiece of Romanesque art, sculpted in local white and pink stone. An expert bilingual guide will allow you to discover all the secrets of this timeless Cathedral.

After a tasty gourmet brunch, you will head to the splendid Gargano area. You will walk along the large salt flats of Margherita di Savoia, where you will have the opportunity to admire colonies of elegant pink flamingos. You will then reach Monte Sant’Angelo to visit the Sanctuary with the Grotto of San Michele Arcangelo, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour continues to San Giovanni Rotondo, a well-known pilgrimage stop for travelers from all over the world and a representative place of Padre Pio. At the end of the day, you will return to the hotel for dinner and rest.

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The day begins with a guided tour of Bari, the Apulian capital and a uniquely charming city. The tour leads you through a specially designed itinerary that crosses the ancient streets of Bari, reminiscent of the streets of an ancient Arab Kasbah, full of hidden alleys protected by ancient walls and markets of all types and sizes. It will be possible to walk the streets of Bari Vecchia, breathing the daily and traditional life of the city. The tour continues with a guided tour of the ancient city with the Cathedral of San Sabino and the famous Basilica of San Nicola, the symbol of the city.

After a fish-based lunch in the heart of the city, your accessible private van will drive you to Castel Del Monte, an octagonal castle and a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, built on a hill by Frederick II of Swabia around 1240. The Castle can only be visited on the outside, along the entire perimeter of its walls. In 1996, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee included the Castle in the World Heritage List in order to promote the enhancement and valorization of its historical and artistic heritage due the perfection of its forms, the harmony and the fusion of cultural elements from Northern Europe, from the Muslim world and from classical antiquity.

Gondola ride Venice

The Itria Valley, also known as the Valley of the Trulli, is an authentic land rich in ancient traditions and history.
You will immerse yourself in an almost fairytale-like landscape, where incredible white villages stand out among the green of the countryside made up of marvelous expanses of olive trees, almond trees, vineyards and the red of the earth.

An unparalleled town in the heart of the Itria Valley, also included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1996, the “capital of the Trulli” is truly surprising for its shapes and colors. In its city center, lie more than 1500 trulli, very white dry stone buildings, traditional of Southern Puglia, with a conical and pyramidal shaped roof.

The bilingual guide, expert in art history, will lead you through an accessible path designed specifically to let you discover all the secrets of this characteristic village, where the atmosphere takes us back to past centuries.
The tour continues to Martina Franca, the second stop of the day, known for its splendid Baroque architecture and for the famous Valle d’Itria Music Festival.

The viewpoint of the Itria Valley, overlooking the countryside dotted with trulli and the green of the vineyards, is part of one of the most beautiful belvederes in Italy.
Immediately after, the tour stops in Locorotondo, called after the traditional circular shape of each town in the area. In this small village, houses are often refer to as “cummerse”, due to the sharp, pitched roof.

You will enjoy in an accessible and traditional local restaurant, where you can savor local dishes served in elegant vaulted stone rooms. In the Apulian cuisine, first courses are a must: among the most famous one you will find the homemade “orecchiette with turnip tops”, or the “tiella”, made with rice, potatoes, mussels, onions and tomatoes.

On the way back you will stop by Ostuni, known as the “white city”, where you will visit the picturesque old town among the whitewashed alleys, the squares and the panoramic terraces of the ancient village. At last, you will be stunned by the refined Romanesque-Gothic cathedral.

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The Castellana Caves are an opportunity to admire one of the most surprising natural places in the region, which extends into one of the most beautiful and spectacular underground caves of karst origin in Italy.
Located at the gates of the Itria Valley, these Caves lie on a limestone plateau created in the upper Cretaceous, about one hundred million years ago.
The beauty of the underground paths will leave you breathless: caves with fantastic names, canyons, fossils, stalactites and stalagmites attract visitors from all over the world every year. The visit to the Castellana Caves winds along a 3 km guided path inside the White Grotto, where natural beauties and precious crystals stand out along the entire route. An expert bilingual speleologist guide will take you on a completely accessible “journey to the center of the earth”. A shorter route is also possible, if requested.

After the visit, you will move inland by van to reach Putignano, where you will have lunch in a slow-food tavern that offers simple and genuine dishes of the Apulian tradition.

After lunch the tour will continue to Taranto, a fascinating and contradictory city, nicknamed the “City of the two seas”, due to its particular position between Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo. You will visit the “MARTA – National Archaeological Museum of Taranto”, free of architectural barriers and with internal paths accessible to anyone. The Museum has one of the richest and most important archaeological collections in Europe, whose extraordinary masterpieces are living testimonies of millennia of history. Among these, worth mentioning are the “Ori di Taranto”, a unique collection of jewels.

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Matera, one of the oldest cities in the world, has become an iconic destination due to its “Sassi” and the “Park of the Rock Churches”; both recognized World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1993. Furthermore, in 2019, Matera was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture. The city’s unparalleled beauty and extraordinary charm turned Matera into a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that it was chosen as a movie set by famous directors such as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ” and the latest James Bond’s movie “No time to die”.

The guide will lead you along the “Piano”, namely the historic center of Matera, through an accessible path designed ad hoc. You will visit the Baroque Church of San Francesco da Paola, and then head towards the architectural jewel of the Church of San Giovanni Battista, a masterpiece of the Apulian Romanesque style. Do not miss a visit to the splendid Cathedral of Matera, also in Romanesque style with Baroque interiors and built in the “Civita”, the highest and most visible point of the city. You will continue the visit of the Baroque Matera in the square of San Francesco d’Assisi, where the homonymous church is located.

The tour continues with a visit to the most famous viewpoints of the city, such as the Belvedere Guerricchio and Piazza Pascoli, overlooking the Sasso Caveoso, where beautifully preserved houses are almost completely carved into the rock. From here, you will relax and enjoy the view of the splendid panorama of the Sassi and the Murgia Park.

Finally, you can have lunch in a typical cave in the Rione Sassi, left to its natural charm for a timeless tasting experience. Among exposed tuff rooms, characterized by elegant details in transparent glass, you can savor the gastronomic delights of Basilicata in a unique fusion between the flavors of the Murgia and those of the sea.

In the afternoon, your accessible private van will drive you to Gioia del Colle, where you will visit the National Archaeological Museum and the Castle. The tour continues towards one of the best wineries in the region, where you can taste the famous Primitivo wine at one of the excellences of Puglia: in an ancient and refined setting, you will taste five different wines in a crescendo of sensations and emotions.

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Puglia holds an extraordinary casket of cultural treasures, starting with Lecce, also known as the pearl of Salento. The city is among the most beautiful testimonies of Baroque art in southern Italy. In recent years, it has also become an important destination for international tourism. After breakfast, you will leave for Lecce, where you can enjoy, for three nights, your exclusive accommodation in an accessible five-star hotel.

You will spend a day among the wonders of this city of art, full of splendid buildings and Baroque churches. Known as “the Florence of the South”, it will amaze and fascinate you in every precious and intimate corner, from the center to the more peripheral areas. Its ancient origins and the archaeological remains of Roman domination blend uniquely with the richness and exuberance of the typically seventeenth-century Baroque churches and palaces. The streets of the center of Lecce make for a real open-air museum. The guide will accompany you through an accessible route designed ad hoc, starting from the splendid Piazza del Duomo, housing the Cathedral of Maria SS. Assunta, towards a tour full of art in order to discover the marvelous “Lecce Baroque style”.

You will have lunch in an elegant restaurant where you can taste the flavors of dishes and recipes coming from the traditional Salento home cooking, one of the richest and most famous throughout Southern Italy.

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Your accessible private van drive you towards the tip of the heel for a fullday to discover Salento. The first stop will be Otranto, the easternmost city in Italy. Also known as the “Gateway to the East”, the city appears as a white fortress on the sea and is included among the most beautiful villages in Italy. You will take a guided tour of the this UNESCO World Heritage Site and visit the Cathedral characterized by a sumptuous Byzantine floor mosaic, a true masterpiece depicting the “Tree of Life”, considered by many experts to be an encyclopedia of Christianity. Another testimony of the historical importance of Otranto is undoubtedly the imposing Aragonese Castle, an ancient military fortress built between 1485 and 1498 by Alfonso of Aragon. With a pentagonal plan and surrounded by a protective moat with cylindrical angular towers, the castle is currently used as a splendid theater for exhibitions and cultural events.

The tour continues to Galatina, a beautiful artistic city and birthplace of “pasticciotto”, a typical Salento dessert made of shortcrust pastry, filled with custard and baked in the oven. In the historic center, the Mother Church of Saints Peter and Paul, with its Baroque façade, dominates the overlooking Piazza San Pietro, where the chapel of San Paolo and the “well” are located. The latter is perhaps the most important testimony of tarantism, the folklore around the obsessive and frenetic dance that represents liberation from the bite of the tarantula. A real marvel is the basilica of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria due to the spectacular internal lining of frescoes of Giotto influence, comparable to those of the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi. The lunch break will offer you a creative, contemporary and refined gastronomic proposal based on the essential values of Mediterranean cuisine.

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Elegant like a woman from the past, Santa Maria di Leuca stands on a promontory that embraces the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The southernmost tip of Salento is a striking destination for its ancient history reflected in the crystalline sea and the silence surrounding the church to which it owes its name. The Basilica is also known as Santa Maria De finibus terrae (“Santa Maria of the end of the world”), based on an ancient belief that considered it to be at the limit of all the emerged lands. An expert bilingual guide will walk you on this Sanctuary of ancient origins, born at the beginning of Christianity on a temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. After the visit, you will leave by van towards Gallipoli, stopping by for lunch in an elegant gourmet restaurant where you can immerse yourself in the authentic sea flavors of Puglia.

Following this refreshing break, you will visit the town of Gallipoli, known as the Pearl of the Ionian, with a guide expert in art history, on a fully accessible guided tour. Its historic center is a medieval mainland village floating on the sea, with narrow streets, white buildings in the typical style and balconies built in Baroque style with stone directly from the city of Lecce. Lecce stone is indeed an easily workable limestone rock, often carved by the sea wind with natural arabesques that sometimes interact wonderfully with the baroque friezes. Among the valuable monuments, you can admire the Angevin Castle, the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, the Church of the Sacred Heart and the Greek Fountain.

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After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, your accessible private van will drive you to the airport in order to board back home.

Gondola ride Venice

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