Discover the unique tastes of Italy's Salento region with wine and olive oil tastings, plus visits to a pasta factory, a fish market, and a culinary workshop, all while exploring some of the regions most historical towns, such as Lecce, Ostuni, and Alberbello. Enjoy cooking classes, as well as farm-fresh breakfasts and dinners at your cozy farmhouse lodging, set within a scenic olive grove. End the trip with the archeological wonders of Matera, a stunning hillside city designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Highlights

  • Explore the historic village of Alberobello and its unique Trulli houses
  • Discover the hidden charms of Ostuni, Otranto, and Lecce on guided walking tours
  • Enjoy wine tastings, olive oil tastings, and regional cooking classes
  • Visit the UNESCO Heritage Site of Matera and its famous Sassi cave network
  • Delight in the seaside towns of Gallipolli and Santa Maria di Leuca

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Salento - Olive Oil Tour and Tasting Andrano
Day 2 Guided Tour of Lecce - Visit a Pasta Factory in Maglie Andrano
Day 3 Visit the Turquoise Waters of Otranto Andrano
Day 4 Discover the Prehistoric Seacaves in Zinzsulusa - Dinner in Gallipoli Andrano
Day 5 Visit the Scenic Towns of Alberobello and Ostuni Andrano
Day 6 Enjoy Cooking Classes and a Burrata Tasting Andrano
Day 7 Day Trip to the Seaside - Transfer to the UNESCO Town of Matera Matera
Day 8 Experience the Archeological Wonders of Matera Matera
Day 9 Tour the Amazing Paleolithic Cave Network of Matera Matera
Day 10 Depart Italy  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Salento - Olive Oil Tour and Tasting

Italian Olive Groves
Italian Olive Groves

Welcome to Southern Italy! After arriving at the airport, your driver will transfer you to your accommodation in the quaint town of Andrano, where you'll sleep soundly in a historic farmhouse set in an olive grove. Settle into your room and enjoy a tour of the farm's charming property.

If your flight arrives early enough, the tour of the farm will include the unique process of making olive oil (seasonal from October to January). You'll visit the mill where your host, Emilio, will explain the traditional procedure still used by the farm today. Following your tour, a delicious tasting of organic olive oil awaits.

Return to your room for a little relaxation before enjoying dinner at the farmhouse. Your hosts will serve you typical food from the Salento region, including organic produce directly from the farm. Your meal will be expertly cooked by Chef Emilio himself, ensuring the perfect taste of the traditional dishes.

Day 2: Guided Tour of Lecce - Visit a Pasta Factory in Maglie

The Ancient Roman Amphitheater in Lecce
The Ancient Roman Amphitheater in Lecce

After breakfast at the farm, your driver will take you on an excursion to the city of Lecce, which is often called the Florence of the South. A professional guide will lead you on a walking tour of the city, one of Italy's official capitals of Baroque architecture. Several stone gates lead you into the historic old town, which is brimming with monuments. Start in the Piazza del Duomo, which is surrounded by the Catholic churches of Campanile and Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption.

Stroll down the main street, admiring the buildings until you reach the Roman amphitheater, which was built in the 2nd Century. Peruse Sant'Oronzo Square and the Lecce Castle before meandering the side streets for lunch. Afterward, enjoy some time relaxing in the old town, stopping into the many quaint shops. 

You'll then visit an authentic  pasta factory in the town of Maglie, where you'll learn about the factory's origins and purchase some freshly-made pasta.

The drive back to the farmhouse is quite scenic, following a coastal route along the Adriatic Sea. Your driver is happy to show you several viewpoints overlooking the rocky coastline and the turquoise waters. You'll return just in time for a hosted dinner at the farm, featuring traditional seafood dishes.

Day 3: Visit the Turquoise Waters of Otranto

Otranto Along the Adriatic Coast
Otranto Along the Adriatic Coast

Your hosts will provide another delicious, farm-fresh breakfast for you to enjoy. This will be the perfect fuel for your day sightseeing along the coast. Your driver will take you to the scenic seaside town of Otranto, where an English-speaking guide will lead you through the historic old quarter. Spend some time at the Aragonese Castle and the Church of Saint Peter. 

Your guide will also show you the unique beach and natural pools of Marina Serra, a rocky, cave-like cove that provides excellent opportunities for sunbathing and swimming. 

Your next stop is the seafood market in Porto Badisco, another great town for swimming. Here you can break for lunch before returning to the farmhouse. In the late afternoon, Chef Emilio will host a cooking class. He'll teach you all about the preparation of the traditional dish, pasta salentina

After your cooking class, you'll enjoy your masterpieces, along with some fresh fish, for dinner with your hosts.

Day 4: Discover the Prehistoric Seacaves in Zinzsulusa - Dinner in Gallipoli

Scenic Coastal Towns of Puglia
Scenic Coastal Towns of Puglia

Today's excursion will take you to both sides of the peninsula, starting with Santa Maria de Leuca at the most southern end of Italy's boot. After breakfast, your driver will take you on the scenic journey south, stopping at the prehistoric sea cave in Zinzsulusa along the way. The southern side of the Ionian coast is lined with dramatic caves, the perfect place to spot some wildlife.

Upon your arrival in Santa Maria de Leuca, you'll meet your guide for a tour of the quaint, seaside town. The scenery here is stunning, allowing you to see as far as the coasts of Albania and Greece on a sunny day.

After enjoying Santa Maria de Leuca, you'll head to the other side of the peninsula to the town of Gallipoli, a popular and glamorous touristic spot with a gorgeous old town. Your professional guide will lead you through the twisting streets to a typical pizzeria napolitana, where you'll enjoy dinner before returning to the farmhouse.

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Day 5: Visit the Scenic Towns of Alberobello and Ostuni

Town of Alberobello
Town of Alberobello

In the morning, you'll enjoy a farm-fresh breakfast at your accommodation. Then you'll prepare for a day trip to two of the most popular towns in Puglia: Alberobello and Ostuni.

Your first stop is Alberobello, the famous village with traditional, white-colored Trulli houses. These 14th-century homes are made of limestone and constructed with prehistoric building techniques, meaning no mortar is used. A private guide will lead you through the town, where you can learn about the unique history of both Alberobello and the surrounding region. 

After your tour, you'll break for lunch and enjoy some free time to peruse the charming shops in the town. In the afternoon, you'll head to Ostuni, known as the "White City" due to its white-washed facades. The city has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and creates quite the dramatic scene as it sits atop a high hill overlooking the sea.

After your time in Ostuni, you'll return to the farmhouse to enjoy dinner with your hosts, prepared by Chef Emilio, of course.

Day 6: Enjoy Cooking Classes and a Burrata Tasting

Fresh Burrata Mozzarella
Fresh Burrata Mozzarella

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the farm before meeting your driver for a day trip to the small town of Maglie. Maglie hosts one of the most important agro-food artisan workshops in the area, including a chocolate workshop. You'll learn about the typical Salento cuisine and how it's traditionally prepared, trying your hand at a few techniques and enjoying the tastes.

After your food workshop, you'll visit a mozzarella cheese factory where the famous burrata cheese is made fresh each and every day. Of course, you'll be able to enjoy the taste as you learn about the production process.

In the afternoon, you'll have plenty of free time to enjoy lunch in Maglie, as well as the charming streets and unique shops, plus a wine tasting in a historic cellar to try some of the famous white wines of Salento. Upon returning to the farm, you'll join another cooking class, this time with Chef Emilio.

Relax on the property before enjoying your farewell dinner with your hosts.

Day 7: Day Trip to the Seaside - Transfer to the UNESCO Town of Matera

The Stunning City of Matera at Night
The Stunning City of Matera at Night

After your final farm breakfast, you'll bid farewell to your hosts and the beautiful farmhouse and head out for a scenic drive to the eastern coast of Puglia. Here you'll enjoy a a guided tour of the picturesque, seaside village of Castro. Your guide will show you the beloved coastline, with its dramatic, rocky cliffs that drop down into the turquoise surf. There are many natural caves that line the coast, as well as excellent places for swimming.

You'll then head northwest to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera, a splendid city that earned the European Capital of Culture in 2019. It's one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, a maze of twisting streets and narrow alleys. The 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Mary sits atop of the city's hill, its bell tower dominating the skyline for miles in each direction. Matera is the perfect city in which to simply wander and get lost, happening upon its quaint shops and cafes at your leisure. 

Your accommodation is set in the Sassi area. Settle into your room and relax before enjoying a hosted dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 8: Experience the Archeological Wonders of Matera

Scenic Views of Matera
Scenic Views of Matera

Awake for a leisurely breakfast at your accommodation, then meet your guide for a private transfer to Murgia Timone. This amazing, rocky landscape is made of limestone and provides easy walking paths and incredible archeological sites. A private guided tour will help you discover sites such as the cave churches of San Falcione and the villaggio trincerato (entrenched villages).

Afterwards, you'll visit the National Archaeological Museum in Matera to learn more about the unique terrain and its dwellings, such as the famous rock chapel of San Vito. You'll enjoy the rest of the day in Matera, where you can meander the gorgeous stone streets, the historical sites, and charming shops. Lunch and dinner will be on your own at your leisure. Enjoy the traditional tastes of the region, including the famous, rustic "Matera bread".

Day 9: Tour the Amazing Paleolithic Cave Network of Matera

Modern Life in Matera's Ancient Sassi Caves
Modern Life in Matera's Ancient Sassi Caves

Enjoy one last breakfast at your hotel before meeting with your local guide for a private tour of historic Matera. You'll start at the Palazzo Lanfranchi, a fantastic museum filled with medieval and modern artwork. The stunning architecture and views of the city alone are reason enough to visit.

Next is the old town of “Sassi”, a unique experience of caved rock and rupestrian churches. The city of Matera is built on a hill, making it the perfect setting for cave dwellings. In Sassi, you'll find archways built on top of one another, their doorways leading into the sides of the rocky hill. The network of caves is from the Paleolithic Era, with many expansions over the centuries. There are palaces, churches, homes, terraces, and more, all carved into Matera's hillside.

You'll return to your accommodation for a little rest and relaxation before enjoying a farewell dinner with your hosts.

Day 10: Depart Italy

Trulli Homes of Alberobello
Trulli Homes of Alberobello

It's time to say goodbye to beautiful Southern Italy. After breakfast at your accommodation, your private driver will take you to the airport in time to catch your flight home, or onto your next destination.