Naples and Apulia

Naples and Apulia

Explore the beauty of the Sorrento peninsula, the “heel” of Italy’s boot, which looks onto two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian. An extraordinary journey through two of southern Italy’s regions; sometimes green and lush with large vineyards and olive groves, sometimes rocky and rough with ravines, caves and gorges where ancient civilisations settled.
NAPLES, Grand Hotel Santa Lucia – 4*
SORRENTO, Hotel Antiche Mura – 4*
MATERA, Hilton Garden Inn – 4*
LECCE, Hotel Risorgimento – 4*
BARI, Hotel Nicolaus – 4*
DAY 1: ROME - NAPLES

Arrival at Rome airport. After clearing customs, you will meet your tour manager for a comfortable transfer to your hotel in Naples. Check-in and time to rest. Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy; a walking tour through Spaccanapoli (a long straight street that splits Naples in two) and its colourful streets will be the perfect opportunity to discover Naples’ most magical and genuine locations. You will then proceed to the Royal Palace, the Maschio Angioino, the Capuano Castle and the lungomare, and take a walk along the beach from where you will enjoy stunning views. Dinner and overnight stay in Naples. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 2: VESUVIO - POMPEI

After breakfast, you will take a tour of the “sleeping giant”, Mount Vesuvius (weather permitting). After the tour, we stop at a famous farm that produces amazing olive oil and a delicious wine called Lacrima Christi. Along with a wine expert, you will visit the winery, walk through the vineyard and taste some fine wine. In the afternoon we drive to Pompeii, “the metropolis of ancient times,” for a private guided tour of this incredible archaeological site. We then return to the hotel for a succulent dinner and, if it takes your fancy, a traditional show. Dinner and overnight stay in Naples. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 3:  AMALFI COAST

After breakfast, enjoy a full day excursion on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. We will make a short stop in Positano to take in the stunning views, ideal for taking pictures that will be the envy of your friends. Then we proceed to the town of Amalfi that was one of Italy’s four Marine Republics along with Venice, Pisa and Genoa. In the afternoon we visit the charming little village of Ravello, a mix of history and legend. During the day there will be a Limoncello tasting, after which , we drive back to the hotel in Sorrento. After dinner, we take an evening walking tour in Sorrento and maybe some well deserved gelato. Dinner and overnight stay in Sorrento. ( Meals: B. D.)

DAY 4:  AMALFI COAST - CAPRI

After breakfast and check out from the hotel, we drive to the town of Sorrento. Here you will be transferred by ferry to the island of Capri for a full day private excursion. Along with a panoramic tour of the island, which includes the villages of Capri and Anacapri, your expert guide will give you an introduction to Axel Munthe the man, and his famous memoirs, written in 1929. This unique experience will ofer an insight into this unique Swedish character who lived here in Capri for over 50 years. You will also visit a very special place in Capri; Villa San Michele, Munthe’s home and its beautiful garden. At the end of the day we return to Sorrento and check in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 5: MATERA

After breakfast and check out from the hotel, board your private coach that will take you to Matera, where you will spend the night. Matera is famous, in the main, for an area of the town called “I Sassi” (ancient buildings carved into the rock). Visiting this area transports you through time along the human journey from the Palaeolithic age to the present day. You will also admire the rock churches built by religious communities, who were always looking for the soul’s purification, and the elegant streets of the Piano, rich in seventeenth century monasteries and palaces. Matera is also known for its bread and baked goods and that is why your next stop will be a local bakery for a tasty treat of Matera’s bread, Focaccia bread and traditional biscuits. Dinner and overnight stay in Matera. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 6:   TARANTO - LECCE

This morning we leave Matera for the town of Taranto, called the city of two seas because of its location on a strip of land that sits between two seas. The artificial channel that connects them is surmounted by the famous Swing Bridge, beyond which lies the heart of old Taranto. You will visit this ancient Medieval town with its Cathedral of San Cataldo and Aragonese Castle, also known as Castel Sant’Angelo. After lunch we move on to Grottaglie. The surrounding area is very rich in clay and it is therefore perfect for the production of pottery crafts. The origin of pottery crafts in this town dates back to the Middle Ages. You will visit a ceramics workshop to experience this ancient art. At the end of the day we depart to one of the most beautiful towns in Apulia: Lecce. You will check in, relax and have some great food at the hotel. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 7:  LECCE

Lecce is the capital of a stunning region in Apulia called Salento. Lecce is also called the Florence of the South, thanks to its fabulous architecture. Your visit to Lecce will begin in the main square (Piazza Duomo), considered the most elegant part of the town. Not far from the square, you will find the evidence of Roman colonisation with the ruins of a traditional Roman amphitheatre. You will also visit the renaissance palace, Palazzo del Seggio, also known as the “Seat,” the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Castle of Charles V. Not to be missed is the Basilica of Santa Croce with its monumental façade and beautiful interiors, a harmonious balance between the sobriety of classical style and the splendour of Lecce’s Baroque. In the afternoon you will take part in an authentic cooking course, a special “hands on” experience, where you will learn not only regional recipes but of the culture of this part of Apulia. Dinner and overnight stay in Lecce. (Meals: B. L. D.)

DAY 8: ALBEROBELLO - BARI

This morning we drive to Alberobello where we spend a relaxing day at leisure. Alberobello has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996 and is world famous for its characteristic cone shaped buildings known as “trulli”. The trulli are built entirely without the use of mortar and are whitewashed inside and out. The trullo originated in the late 1500s when the Count of Conversano authorised the peasants to build dwellings without using mortar so that they could be easily dismantled in the case of inspection, in order to avoid paying building taxes. In the historic centre you will see Aia Piccola and Rione Monti, both national monuments. Here we walk through the incredible alleyways and pay a visit to the Siamese Trulli and the Master Trullo, built around 1700, which is the only dwelling with more than one floor. You are free to explore Alberobello on your own, with time for shopping and lunch before we continue with our itinerary and head for Bari. We arrive in Bari in the afternoon. Bari is a sparkling resort town with a lovely historic centre. We will stop for well deserved refreshing lemonade or iced cofee at one of the many sidewalk cafes. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 9:  B A R I , G R O T T E D I C A S T E L L A N A , POLIGNANO A MARE

This morning is dedicated to a visit to the “città vecchia” the old town. Together with our guide you will see the Basilica of St. Nicholas one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture in Apulia, the Swabian castle, Piazza del Ferrarese, Piazza Mercantile and the old port. Experience Arco Alto and Arco Basso where women make and sell “orecchiette” the typical Apulia homemade pasta. In the afternoon, we tour the Castellana Caves and spend time in Polignano a Mare. “Grotte di Castellana” is a wonderful experience; within its 70-metre deep caves witness an amazing scenario made up of stalactites, stalagmites, fossils, and cavities. In Polignano a Mare we will enjoy the lively and picturesque city centre, the terraces ofering breathtaking views of the Adriatic sea and the jagged coastline. This is also the birthplace of Domenico Modugno the author of “Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare oh oh!). Return to Bari. We say farewell tonight with a typical dinner, giving you the opportunity to savour traditional Apulian cuisine, simple ingredients and rustic flavours together with a large variety of seafood from the Adriatic Sea. (Meals: B. D.)

DAY 10:  LUCCA

Transfer by private coach from the hotel to the airport in Bari.

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