Untouched Italy: Basilicata & Puglia Tour

The most authentic Italy can be found in the towns and villages of regions like Basilicata and Puglia. To discover this real side of Italy, we'll take on you excursions to visit quaint little villages like Alberobello or Martina Franca, and Baroque towns like Lecce, all in Puglia.  In the region of Basilicata, we'll see towns that seem to be clinging to the rocky cliffside like Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. You'll walk the streets that were made famous in movies like Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ in Matera, and even the mysterious ghost town of Craco. Haven't heard of these towns and places in Italy?  That's because they remain "untouched" - reminiscent of the unspoiled and authentic Italy, evoking an appreciation for the country’s least-exploited destination.  It's in these sites that you will discover the true Southern Italy and these lesser-known locations with which will ensure you experience these regions at their most authentic


This tour has been designed especially to immerse you in the local culture. Every day you’ll explore a part of these 2 regions and discover its incredible beauty: architecture, sacred sites, characteristic historic towns, food and wine, and locals. Yet you’ll have plenty of free time to relax and explore on your own and enjoy the unique native lifestyle.  In this itinerary we have included the very best of Southern Italy, through places where you can truly get the real feel of the region, staying in lovely places and exploring with expert local guides.

Our "Untouched Italy" Tour is a fully-escorted tour with all of your accommodations, excursions & tours, transportation and most of your meals completely arranged and included.   This will be a journey of exploration, of the warm locals, art and tradition, food and wine, and the genuine atmosphere. 

Details

Day 1 - Arrival Day/​Benvenuto! 

Welcome to Southern Italy!  After arriving to the Bari airport, the group will be met by our private driver for the week and transfer us to our lodgings.  Your accommodations for the next six nights is in a typical local agriturismo (farmhouse) or , situated about 5 miles from Matera (Basilicata) in a nature reserve that is full of wildlife and greenery. Each room has access to a large terrace where you can enjoy spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding area or perfect to sit outside with a glass of wine!  All of the food served at meals at our agriturismo is locally produced, organic, and typical of this region of Southern Italy. The farm grows a range of delicious fresh produce including, olives, aubergines (eggplant), oranges, cherries, watermelons and much, much more. In addition, there are also many donkeys, sheep, chickens, cats and dogs that live at the farm. ​During your free time you can take a stroll through the woods, borrow one of the bikes or even enjoy a spot of bird watching.  Enjoy a welcome aperitivo and then the rest of the afternoon & evening is yours to explore or relax until our group Welcome Dinner. (D)


Day 2 - Matera: The Town of Stone

After breakfast at our agriturismo, we'll head off to Matera.  Matera, “The town of stone” became the first site in the world declared a "cultural landscape" by UNESCO (UNESCO World Heritage site).  This unique town, built into a hillside where caves and houses merge together, is a place where great directors of cinema have set films for its penetrating and evocative atmosphere. Enjoy a private guided walking tour, lunch, and some free time to explore or shop.(B, L, D)


Day 3 - Pasta & Olive Oil Day at our Agriturismo

 This morning after breakfast, we will begin with a pasta workshop at the farm.  This fresh pasta workshop offers you the chance to learn how to make the various types of pasta that define Southern Italian cuisine. In this hands-on workshop, we'll teach you all about the techniques and different types of pasta that are made in this part of Italy.  Afterwards, you'll get to eat all that lovely pasta (made with your own hands) in a great meal cooked by the local cook just like a real Southern Italian! After lunch, we'll tour the farm's olive grove learning all about how to grow olives. Afterwards, we'll take you to the local olive press where you can see how the olive oil at our agriturismo is produced and of course you'll get to taste it! (B, L, D)


Day 4 - A Day in local villages and (Ghost!) towns

After a leisurely breakfast at our accommodations, we will head off to see some very unique and interesting local villages in the Basilicata region - one is even a ghost town! For nearly fifty years, the town of Craco has stood uninhabited.  In 1963, the last 1,800 residents were forced to leave this village for their own safety due to the risk of earthquakes and landslides. Today, thanks to the dramatic landscape and unique atmosphere, Craco has been the set of many movies including 'Saving Grace' , James Bond 'Quantum of Solace' and the hanging of Judas scene in Mel Gibson’s the 'Passion of the Christ'.  We'll also visit two other tiny villages in this area with some very unique history.  Dinner with local wines at our villa.  (B, D)


Day 5 - Cheese & Wine Day at our Agriturismo

Today after our breakfast, you'll learn all about how to make fresh mozzarella with the local "Casaro" (cheesemaker).  This resident cheesemakercomes from a long line of Southern Italy mozzarella makers and there's not many people in the world who know more about this than him. In this demonstration we will guide you through the process of making this wonderful cheese and then, of course, you'll get to taste it!  In addition to the fresh mozzarella that we will make, we will have the opportunity to taste some of the other local cheeses of this region. Italian cheese is world famous but some of the most well known Italian cheeses can be found in Southern Italy. After lunch, we'll have a wine tasting.  In this wine tasting experience, we'll lay out a variety of Southern Italian wines for you to taste with our own 'Sommelier' or (wine expert) to guide you through the different flavors.  (B, L, D) 


Day 6 - Day in the mountain towns of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa
After breakfast, we'll depart for the Dolomites of the South, where you can find the beautiful mountain towns of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. Set amongst majestic mountains and lush scenery, these towns will show you yet another side to the wonder that is Basilicata. Both villages belong to the “I Borghi più belli d'Italia” (The most beautiful villages of Italy), an association of small Italian towns of historical interest​. Here you will also find the “Volo dell’Angelo (flight of the angel) – A zip line adventure that takes you on a journey between the peaks of Castelmezzano to the village of Pietrapertosa.  It is one of Basilicata’s most exhilarating tourist attractions that is not for the faint of heart. You can have the option of a packed lunch from our agriturismo for a little picnic, or opt to lunch at one of the local restaurants on your own.  Farewell dinner with local wines at our agriturismo that evening.  (B, D)


Day 7 - Transfer Day to Puglia and Trip to Polignano a Mare & Monopoli

After our final breakfast at our agriturismo, we'll bid our fond "arrivederici" as we move onto our adventures in Puglia. We’ll first stop in Polignano a Mare and enjoy a walking tour in its charming “borgo”.  Polignano a Mare is a cozy and charming little town on the Adriatic coast, with beautiful narrow streets, romantic balconies and breathtaking views of the sea. For lunch, we'll be savoring some local delights. In the afternoon we continue exploring another iconic sea town of Puglia: Monopoli.  The “Paese vecchio” as it is called by the Monopolitans, is scattered with narrow streets paved in “chianche”, arches and alleys and homes at one time inhabited uniquely by fishermen, still intent on mending their nets.  Check in at your masseria outside of Ostuni. Dinner tonight at our masseria. (B, L, D)    


Day 8 - Everything White: Ostuni and Alberobello

​After breakfast at your masseria, your discovery will take you to experience another mozzarella-making place (caseificio), as well as to the two famous white stone charming villages of Puglia: Ostuni and Alberobello.  Ostuni is an architectural jewel, commonly referred to “the White Town” (“La Citta Bianca”, in Italian) for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. The brightness of its whitewashed houses, a series of levels, staircases, small roads, alleys, arches, make Ostuni a truly special intimate town.  Lunch will be traditional style in a cozy, authentic place.  Then we will move on to  the fairy-tale town, of Alberobello, the Unesco town of 'Trulli' - the conical shaped homes.  (B, L, D)


Day 9 - Wine, Cisternino and Martina Franca 
Today’s Puglia exploration will take you today to two more incredible charming little towns both imbued with personality and aristocratic rural style: Cisternino and Martina Franca.
Our first stop is the town of Cisternino, which is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The “borgo” combines the downtown alleys, balconies, stairs and terraces dancing in white streets.  Next, we'll experience the wines of Valle d’Itria at a local winery over a tasting during which you will learn all about the wine making in Puglia.  Lunch will be a fun experience of local delicacies. After lunch we’ll explore another gem of Puglia, the Baroque town of Martina Franca. Dinner tonight at our villa. (B, L, D)


Day 10 - Cooking Class and Gallipoli

Today, we will all don aprons and immerse ourselves in the local culinary culture, making Orecchiette Pasta and Focaccia Pugliese with some local nonne. It will be also a day of wine and food tasting in a truly unique atmosphere.  If you are an enthusiast of Italian culture, art, cuisine, wine, lifestyle, or classic music, or if would you simply like to immerse in the local culture, then this is the perfect day for you.  Our lunch will consist of all the wonderful delights we created in the kitchen.  Your day of discovery in the Salento continues, heading to Gallipoli, the town of fishermen, on the Ionian coast and in the province of Lecce. It is divided into two parts: the new part of the city and the historic center built on an island of limestone and connected to the mainland via an arched bridge. It is a mecca for seafood lovers.  Dinner at our masseria. (B, L, D)


Day 11 - Olive Oil and Lecce
Breakfast at our masseria. Today we’ll learn about Olive Oil production in Puglia with a visit to an Olive Oil farm and tasting of 2 varietals of extra virgin olive oil.  Later, we’ll move onto Lecce and discover the capital of Barocco and lifestyle in Puglia.  A walk through the magnificent elegance of Lecce will be a great way of discovering the city of Baroque and visiting the most important historic sites (Piazza Duomo, Piazza Sant‟Oronzo, Anfiteatro Romano, la Via dei Palazzi di Lecce, Porta Napoli) and artisanal studios. Enjoy lunch in the centro storico (Historical Center) and some leisure time to enjoy its unique atmosphere. 


​Day 12 - Departure Day

Early morning breakfast at our masseria as we say our goodbyes. We'll board our vans and depart for the Airport.  Bid Arrivederci to Italy!  


Key: B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner​,  included

*Itineraries are subject to change. Vitalia Tours and its partners will strive to provide you with the best possible tour and experience.  It is our intention to adhere to the outlined itinerary as published.  However, please be advised that it may be occasionally necessary to substitute an activity due to events that cannot be predicted.  Therefore, Vitalia Tours reserves the right to make changes in accommodations, tours or excursions, meals, and itineraries at any time should it become necessary or desirable.

Itinerary:*

Deposit: $2000.00 at time of booking to reserve your spot

Balance due: February 16, 2018


Traveling Solo? We can suggest a roommate so that you avoid having to pay the single supplement!

Not Included:


  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance**
  • Travel documents & fees: i.e. passport and visas (if required)
  • Any telephone, cell, data & internet usage*
  • Items of a personal nature​
  • Travel-related expenses outside of the tour itinerary
  • Any food or beverage ordered by traveler that is not included or presented during meals including: wine and other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks & gelato
  • Any taxes on personal items purchased
  • Optional tips to guides, staff or drivers. These are not required and are given at your discretion.



There is free wifi at our accommodations

**  We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment.  This is to ensure that you are covered in the event of loss of deposit and cancellation fees, medical emergency or health expenses, personal accident, flight cancellation or delays and to protect your luggage against any loss or damage.​ ​​​​​​ ​

This Tour Includes:


  • Small group size: Maximum of only 12 travelers
  • 6 Nights in an agriturismo in Basilicata
  • 5 Nights in a typical 'Masseria' set in Puglia
  • All breakfasts, buffet style
  • 8 Lunches
  • All Dinners
  • Regional wines with most meals
  • Land transportation for the duration of the tour
  • Private full-time escort, interpreter and driver
  • Private bus/van for our daily excursions
  • Guided walking tours throughout
  • All excursions and entrance fees as outlined by the itinerary
  • Cooking lessons
  • Mozzarella making demonstrations
  • Winery tours and tastings
  • Trips to local markets
  • Cheese & olive oil tasting events
  • Transfer from/to airports 
  • Pre-trip information packet
  • Local VAT taxes and government fees, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, and parking fees​​​​ ​

​​​Dates: April 16 - April 27,  2018

12 Days/11 Nights

  
Where: Basilicata & Puglia
Group size: 6-12 Guests Maximum

Tour Cost: $4950 USD per person/double occupancy
$750 USD single supplement

April 16 - 27, 2018

Tour Highlights:


  • 6 nights in Basilicata in a quaint agriturismo
  • ​5 nights in Puglia in a typical masseria
  • Private guided walking tour of Matera
  • Visit a  "ghost town" in the region of Basilicata
  • See the 'Trulli' of Alberobello
  • Several wine tasting experiences in both regions
  • Walking tour of Lecce
  • Visit to an olive oil farm with tasting
  • Private cooking lesson (pasta and focaccia making!)
  • Mozzarella cheese making lesson  
  • Shop at local markets
  • Watch local artisan demonstrations

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Vitalia Tours and Celebrations, LLC, Tours Operators & Promoters, Gilroy, CA