Puglia, Lecce and Vieste - Undiscovered Italy

shares

Blessed with abundant sunshine and fringed by the bountiful waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Puglia is a land of plenty. One of the most fertile regions of Italy, it produces more olive oil than the rest of the country combined, most of its fish, 80 per cent of Europe’s pasta and more wine than the whole of Germany. Unsurprisingly, its natural riches have attracted a host of invaders throughout history – ancient Greeks colonised the area in the 8th century BC, then came the Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Spanish and Bourbons, before Puglia became part of unified Italy in 1861. Each culture has left a distinct footprint, from the local dialect peppered with Greek expressions to the Moorish ambience of the narrow streets of Bari, where traders’ wares spill out onto the cobbled streets. It is this melding of cultures that makes Puglia – the ‘heel’ of Italy’s great ‘boot’ – delightfully different.

Overlooked by many who prefer to head to Italy’s better-known attractions, Puglia echoes with its own history. In Lecce, an imperial column marks the end of the Appian Way, one of the greatest Roman roads, and Hannibal dealt Rome its heaviest defeat at nearby Cannae. A gem of a baroque city, Lecce also boasts around a hundred churches of myriad styles, ranging from Romanesque to Rococo. Its centre is a labyrinth of alleyways, and it’s easy to imagine Roman officials, medieval merchants and richly clad bishops going about their lives. Every town seems to have a Norman cathedral, decorated with intricate stonework, colourful frescoes and fine paintings. Huge Spanish-built castles overlook the rolling countryside, while the ports that once thrummed with crusaders embarking for the Holy Land now have a relaxed feel.

As you explore, it becomes evident that Puglia is not the Italy of the north. Its rugged limestone landscape is carpeted with olive groves and dotted with villages of white, flat-roofed houses resembling those of Greece and its islands, while the beauty of the forested Gargano Peninsula stands comparison with the more famous Amalfi coast. But there are many features unique to this area, none more so than the trulli, the cone-shaped houses that have become unofficial symbols of Puglia.

Here in the deep southeast of Italy, nature and history are powerful influences, the locals still wink cheekily at authority and the relaxed and communal way of life is in harmony with the sunny climate. Famed for its passionate embrace of life, simple cuisine, flavoursome wines, historic cities and charming coastal villages, it’s a delightful place to get away from it all.

Holiday Highlights

  • Return flights
  • Seven nights four-star half-board accommodation
  • A journey discovering a fascinating and unspoilt collection of cultural and scenic gems
  • Guided tour of Lecce, one of Italy’s finest baroque towns - often compared to Florence
  • Visit to Alberobello, home to the unique ‘trulli’ houses, set amid stunning countryside
  • Guided tour of Matera, the amazing cave village and UNESCO world heritage site
  • Visit to Bari’s old town, once home to ancient Greeks, Saracens and Normans, with an amazing Romanesque cathedral, final resting place of St Nicholas – Father Christmas!
  • Enjoy a pasta making demonstration and light lunch in Puglia
  • Visit to Castel del Monte, one of Italy’s finest medieval castles
  • Stay in ancient Vieste’s delightful old town, beautifully situated on one of Italy’s most inspiring coastlines
  • Drive along the Gargano coast, one of Europe’s most stunning seascapes
  • Tour the beautiful national park and Crusader church of Monte St Angelo, where the Archangel St Michael appeared and one of Europe’s most important medieval pilgrimages
  • Escorted by our experienced tour manager

What's Included

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement of £165 per person. The price includes seven nights with breakfast and dinner, all tours as mentioned, return flights, airport departure taxes, guided tours of Lecce, Bari and Matera, pasta making demonstration in Puglia, and the services of a Riviera tour manager throughout. Where hotels feature a swimming pool, this will be open during the summer months - weather permitting.

Holiday Provided By

Please click here to view the Terms and Conditions of travel (this link opens in a new window).

from
£849
Departure Airport:

Number of Passengers:

Please enter the ages of all passengers at time of travel. Children (2-15)
April 2019
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Key:
Available
Limited Availability
Alternatively, if you'd prefer to book by phone, please call our sales team on
01283 742300