9-Day Hidden Jewels Of Southern Italy

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Explore the heel of the boot during one of the top culinary tours of Italy.

Explore this spectacular strip of land on this southern Italy trip that extends into the Mediterranean Sea, full of castles, pretty fishing villages and striking architecture.

Food and wine vacations don’t get any more thrilling, as you’ll discover touring the magnificent vineyards and forests where olive groves enshroud old manors. Highlights include Lecce (the Florence of southern Italy), charming seaside towns of Gallipoli, Otranto and Matera, famed for being carved right from the rock.

As this is a self-drive private tour, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to do as you please along the way.

Day 1: Barletta On Your Own
Day 2: Trani
Day 3: The Striking Architecture of Alberobello
Day 4: E-Bike Tour of Locorotondo
Day 5: A Day in Lecce
Day 6: A Free Day in Otranto or Gallipoli
Day 7: A Journey to Matera
Day 8: Rock-Hewn Miracles in Matera
Day 9: Departure from Bari


9 days, 8 nights


Italy: Matera, Gallipoli, Otranto, Lecce, Alberobello, Locorotondo, Taranto, Trani, Grottaglie, Selva di Fasano


2 travellers

Presented by Stel from Mitchell Personnel Solutions Pty Ltd
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– 8 nights accommodation
– 6 activities
– 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners
– Airport transfer
– Entrance fees
– Ground transportation
– Licensed English speaking guides


– Domestic flights
– Travel insurance
– International flights
– Entry visas / airport departure tax
– Alcohol beverages
– Gratuities
– Personal expenses
– Laundry
– Trekking permits

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Pick up your car at Bari Airport and drive to Barletta: admire its beautiful churches and basilicas and don’t miss the beautiful castle, the meeting point for all crusaders leaving to or arriving from the Holy Land. Your hotel is in Trani.

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11:15 to 12:00

From: Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla
To: Trani

Pick up your rental car and drive out to Trani in Barletta, where you’ll admire its beautiful churches and basilicas and don’t miss the beautiful castle, the meeting point for all crusaders leaving to or arriving from the Holy Land .

Palazzo Filisio Hotel

13:00 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 3)

Just a short walk from the Trani train station, Palazzo Filisio Hotel is set in a 17th-century building overlooking the Trani marina next to the grand Basilica Cattedrale di Trani.

Inside, the ten beautifully airy rooms feature wooden floors and all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay. In the deluxe rooms and suites, you’ll be treated to a view of the city or the ocean.

Each morning, breakfast is served in the adjoining modern restaurant and you can also enjoy meals throughout the day here.

Address: Palazzo Filisio Hotel Regia Restaurant, Piazza Duomo, Trani, Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, Italy


Explore Trani, a city that oozes medieval charm and another crossroads of cultures, where the magnificent cathedral appears to be suspended between the sky and the sea. Tuck into a flopping-fresh seafood lunch in a small local restaurant, where the fruits of the sea are reeled in just offshore that lines the city. This picturesque town has a laid back feel that warrants sitting outside and soaking up the atmosphere.


09:00 to 15:00
6 hours

Known as one of the ‘Pearls of Puglia’, Trani is a quaint fishing town which oozes Italian charm. Home to a harbour filled with fishing boats and a charming historic centre, its cobblestone streets and medieval churches draw visitors in.

As well as its charm, the town is also famous for its sweet dessert wine, Moscato di Trani, which you must absolutely taste whilst here. Alongside its marina, there are plenty of bars which spill out onto the streets inviting you in for a tipple or two.

In the historic centre, you’ll find medieval churches, polished streets, stunning houses and its majestic cathedral said against the blue sea.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: 76125 Trani, Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, Italy

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Kick things off with a guided tour of Alberobello, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and celebrated for its characteristic cone-shaped homes called “trulli”. Pause for lunch in the old town at a restaurant built in a trullo that dates back to 1400. After lunch, move on to Locorotondo. Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, it’s home to the white balcony in Murgia dei Trulli, known for its circular whitewashed beauty wrought from stones and mortar

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10:15 to 12:00

From: Trani
To: Valle d’Itria

Borgo dei Lecci Puglia

12:15 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 5)

Set within a former nobleman’s farmhouse, the Borgo dei Lecci is a true luxury B&B. Surrounded by a lushes garden, outdoor pool and numerous terraces, you will surely feel at home here. With a private bathroom, patio and outdoor seating, the luxury only continues throughout your stay here. For true relaxation, Borgo dei Lecci Puglia offers a range of wellness facilities including a fitness centre and a sauna.

Address: Borgo dei Lecci Puglia, Viale del Leccio, Selva di Fasano, BR, Italy

Trulli of Alberobello

13:00 to 17:00
4 hours

One of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy, the Trulli of Alberobello were added to the list in 1996. Alberobello, a small inland village, is renowned for its historic centre made up of these interesting white pyramidal structures that have made its landscape unique and one of the most interesting in Italy.

The name ‘Trulli’, derives from a Greek word for ‘dome’ and is representative of the cone-roofed houses. Whilst these in Alberobello are the most famous, they can also be found throughout various other provinces in Italy.

The archaeological finds in the first Trulli settlements have been said to date them back to the Bronze Age, whilst the ones you see today date back to around the mid-14th century. These limestone dwellings were made using a mortarless construction technique; they are remarkable examples of prehistoric buildings in this region.

These small white structures feature two layers of walls to provide insulation, a gutter system to collect rainwater and fireplaces and ovens built into the walls.

Address: Via Duca D’Aosta, numero 8, 70011 Alberobello BA, Italy

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Embark on an e-bike tour of the sites, if you prefer, an alternative way to admire the Adriatic coast is on two wheels, with a professional guide at the ready to lead the way. You’ll find calm is these old streets, where an air of quiet calm filled the white-wash town, sprinkled with vibrant flowers – this is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy!.

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08:00 to 09:00

From: Savelletri
To: Locorotondo

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Locorotondo by E-bike

09:00 to 12:00
3 hours

Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Locorotondo is a small town of the Itria Valley that fascinates visitors with its old town and the characteristic pitched roof white houses.

A guided tour will take you to discover the long winemaking tradition of the Apulian territory. Dive into the heart of Puglia, riding our e-bikes through the wonderful Itria Valley countryside. Immerse yourself in the fascinating atmosphere of the vineyards, villages, Trulli and prepare yourself to enjoy the flavours, perfumes and colours of this beautiful region.

Address: 70010 Locorotondo Metropolitan City of Bari, Italy

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Discovering the secrets of Salento cuisine in an old townhouse in Lecce.

Start directly in the garden (Seclì) to get the ingredients to prepare some typical dishes: orecchiette and minchiareddhi (homemade pasta), ciceri e tria (pasta with chickpeas), potato pitta, pittule (deep-fried pastry balls), beans and chicory. At the end of the lesson you will have dinner with what you have prepared, accompanied by excellent local wines.

Featured Image

08:00 to 09:30

From: Valle d’Itria
To: Lecce

Lecce Highlights

10:30 to 13:00
2 hours 30 minutes

A half-day private guided tour of Lecce takes you into the heart of the city named “The Florence of the South” because of its wealth of art, its elegance and culture.

Visit the historic centre and its monuments in the local Lecce Baroque style, with such a wealth of embellishment: The Cathedral and Santa Croce Church, a symbolic monument of Lecce Baroque period. Your guide will introduce you to the buildings, their history and the long-standing traditions of Lecce that fit so characteristically well with the city.

Address: Anfiteatro romano, Via XXV Luglio, Lecce, Province of Lecce, Italy

Risorgimento Resort

14:00 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 7)

Inn in 1400, historic hotel in 1800, today Risorgimento Resort is a five-star deluxe resort with 47 rooms and suites of contemporary design. The Risorgimento Resort of the Vestas Hotels & Resort group is the 5-star luxury hotel in the historical centre of Lecce. The history of an ancient residence dating back to the 1400s meets modernity.

Live a unique experience for its high service level: 47 rooms and suites with contemporary design furnishing that recall the territory of the Salento. The hotel team will light up at your arrival, the rooms will inspire you with the local splendour and the tradition of food and wine will embrace you with the gourmet flavours.

Address: Risorgimento Resort, Via Augusto Imperatore, Lecce, Province of Lecce, Italy

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Discover Apulian Flavours

17:00 to 20:30
3 hours 30 minutes

Discovering the secrets of Salento cuisine in an old townhouse in Lecce.

We’ll start directly in the garden (Seclì) to get the ingredients to prepare some typical dishes: orecchiette and minchiareddhi (homemade pasta), ciceri e tria (pasta with chickpeas), potato pitta, pittule (deep-fried pastry balls), beans and chicory.

At the end of the lesson, you will have dinner with what you have prepared, accompanied by excellent local wines.

Address: Lecce, Province of Lecce, Italy

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Choose from exciting options for what to do next. Will you spend the rest of the day in the ancient maritime town of Gallipoli? Or opt instead to explore the town of Otranto just across the way with its charming narrow streets, a pretty harbour and a castle facing the Ionian Sea. Your day is free for you to hop in your car and explore Puglia at your own pace.

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08:00 to 17:00

From: Savelletri
To: Gallipoli


09:00 to 12:00
3 hours

Situated in southern’s Italy’s Puglia region in the ‘heel’ of the boot, Otranto is a historic seaside town fortified by ancient walls and ancient port on the Adriatic Coast. Characterised by stunning blue waters, whitewashed buildings and rocky crags, Otranto is often featured as one of Italy’s most picture-perfect destinations.

From Otranto on a clear day, you can see across the straight to Albania. Otranto is renowned for its 15th-century Aragonese Castle and the beautiful 11th-century Otranto Cathedral complete with a rose window and ornate mosaic flooring. On the harbour, you can climb the Torre Matta Tower to be greeted with panoramic views of the sea.

Like much of this area of Italy, Otranto has a rich and vibrant past beginning as a Greek settlement then a Roman port and later being ruled by the Byzantines, the Normans and the Aragonese. During the late 15th century, Otranto was invaded by the Turks and locals that refused to convert to Islam were executed. Now, the 800 skulls of these locals are placed behind glass in the Otranto Cathedral.

Being enclosed in historic walls, Otranto manages to preserve its ancient atmosphere which you can enjoy as you stroll its maze of alleyways and whitewashed buildings.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: 73028 Otranto, Province of Lecce, Italy


13:00 to 16:45
3 hours 45 minutes

Named after the Turkish town, Gallipoli literally translates to mean “beautiful city” – and for a good reason too!

Part of the Salento Peninsula, Gallipoli is fronted by a beautiful beach and azure waters that lead to its fortified old town that dates back to the 14th century, however, the castle that dominates it was built in the 13th century.

From the Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines, Goths, Normans and many more, until Italy was unified, the island-town was constantly under siege. However, the stunning Baroque churches and evident wealth of the former trading port has not been harmed.

It’s a truly stunning town to explore which is all the more accentuated by the promenade that offers beautiful views of the coastline of Puglia.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: 73014 Gallipoli, Province of Lecce, Italy


Find yourself seduced by the stunning Salento region, kissed by sun and sea at every turn. Visit Taranto, known as “the Spartan city” since it was the only colony ever founded by Sparta, way back in 706 BC. The next stop is the village of Grottaglie, famous since the Middle Ages for the beautiful ceramics made here; wander through the district that’s home to many ceramic workshops to get a feel for the village’s creative flair. Later in the day, arrive in Matera.

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09:00 to 14:00

From: Lecce
To: Matera


10:00 to 11:00
1 hour

A city steeped in history, and the first and only city to be founded by Sparta, Taranto’s past is filled with war and unrest, and the city still holds a little of this essence, but underneath its hard exterior is charm.

As a major naval port, Taranto has a tinge of the industrial revolution that cannot be avoided, great chimney rise up in a way that may make you forget you are in Italy until you reach the old fishing port, where that familiar hue of Puglia.

Delving deep into Taranto’s history is the Aragonese castle, and the faint traces of its consistent invasions. As a city trapped between two seas, Taranto was always the first to be invaded, having been occupied by the Normans, the Spanish and Saracens who all left their mark.

Address: Taranto, Province of Taranto, Italy


11:15 to 12:00
45 minutes

Found on the outskirts of the industry Taranto, Grottaglie is a small village known for its adorable winding cobbled streets, small houses and thriving artistic community for which the village has become famous.

Wandering the streets, you’ll notice an explosion of terracotta as the craftsmen’s shops spill out onto the pavements. A skill that has been handed down through generations and is proudly kept within this village, Grottaglie pottery is an art, so much so that the form and colour of the pottery are almost worshipped as an act of local devotion.

Address: 74023 Grottaglie, Province of Taranto, Italy

Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & Spa

14:00 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 9)

Kick back in a charmingly relaxing environment at Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel.

Designed to immerse you in one of the oldest cities in the world, Aquatio sits in the centre of the Sassi. With just 35 rooms, carefully attention to detail and the golden hue of the cave rooms will immerse you in the Old World.

There is nothing more intimate than the cosy cave rooms and suites of this luxury hotel. You’ll feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of what you know as you sink into the rock-hewn pool and lose yourself in the healing wonders of the space. It’s time to escape!

Address: Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel

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Head out on a private guided tour of Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with entire neighbourhoods excavated from stone, with an incredible network of tunnels and buildings carved right into the rock. Discover surprises around every corner in the maze-like streets of the Sassi, part of Matera that oozes the ambience of a quintessential Italian town. Unwind with dinner at a local restaurant, tasting the town’s unique delicacies such as its pane di Matera bread.


09:00 to 11:30
2 hours 30 minutes

Once a place of poverty, malaria and high rates of infant mortality, Matera has risen in the ranks significantly in the last few years, now becoming a European hotspot.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage area in 1993, Matera is renowned for its ancient cave dwellings known as ‘sassi’ and is one of Italy’s most fascinating icons. Situated on a rocky outcrop, Matera is made up of a series of caves carved into the mountainside which now house museums, restaurants and bars. In Matera, you’ll spend a lot of time in caves!

One of the most unique and spectacular places in Italy, Matera’s remote location has kept it away from the masses which means it maintains its beauty.

Address: 75100 Matera, Province of Matera, Italy

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This is the final day of your southern Italy trip. Drive back to Bari airport to drop off your car in time to check in for your departing flight.

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10:00 to 11:00

From: Matera
To: Bari