1 Start in Alberobello.
The trip starts in Alberobello, home to 1500 Trulli (conical roofed houses) that have made its historical centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The origin of these funny-looking stone dwellings is obscure, however, local farmers claim they were originally built in an effort to evade taxes. When the tax inspectors were in the area, the dry stone walls could easily be dismantled by simply removing the key stone above the door and quickly rebuilt after the inspection. Our hotel is located in proximity of the historic centre. In the afternoon after the group's arrival there is usually time to wander through the narrow alleys of the town's centre and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting town at night.
2 Walk over the hills of the Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli; visit Locorotondo, known for its superb wine.
We start the week with a walk to the lovely town of Locorotondo. Sitting on the top of a hill, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and is renowned for its white wine and Cantina Sociale, the local winery. Following narrow country lanes, we walk over the rolling hills of the idyllic Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli. At the end of the day, we take a short train ride back to Alberobello where we stay overnight.
3 Morning visit to the white city of Ostuni; afternoon walk through olive groves and vineyards; visit Agnano Archaeological Park.
In the morning we take a private transfer to the white city of Ostuni, famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. After some free time spent discovering this elegant hilltop town at our own pace, we explore the beautiful surrounding countryside on foot, walking through ancient olive groves and vineyards overlooking the Adriatic coast. Along the route we stop for a visit at the archaeological park of S.M. Agnano. This evening we have a delicious dinner and overnight in a beautiful Masseria – a renovated farmhouse typical of the Apulian region Please note that on selected departures the group will stay overnight in a 4-star hotel in the historic centre of Ostuni instead of the masseria.
4 Free day. Optional activities include visiting the Baroque city of Lecce or the picture-perfect coastal village of Polignano a Mare.
Today is free to discover the many jewels of this beautiful region. We recommend to take a day trip to the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce, known as the 'Florence of the South', and home to over 40 churches, countless palaces, as well as a Roman amphitheatre and theatre. Alternatively, you could travel to the picturesque town of Polignano a Mare, a shining gem on the coast of the Valle d'Itria, perched atop a 20m high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. Both of these destinations are reachable by train from Ostuni. In the evening we will regroup to enjoy a delicious dinner in Ostuni or at the masseria.
5 Morning walk to the Adriatic coast; free time at the beach (in season) and transfer to the UNESCO town of Matera.
This morning we walk from the masseria to the coast, where we have time to relax on a beach or swim in the mild waters of the Adriatic sea (depending on the season). In the afternoon we make our way to Matera, one of the most unusual and memorable tourist destinations in Italy famous for its extensive cave-dwelling districts, the sassi. Our hotel is located in the heart of Matera Sassi UNESCO site, just a few steps from the town's most famous attractions, and offers a terrace with panoramic views across the town. After checking in we enjoy a first glimpse of Matera's enchanting alleys and unique architecture.
6 Short walk in Matera’s Rock Churches Park and guided sightseeing in the town's marvellous UNESCO 'Sassi' district.
Today we enjoy a short hike to the Murgia plateau, a vast protected area home to over 150 rupestrian churches dating back to the 8th century, once inhabited by hermits and adorned with Byzantine frescoes. We descend down the Matera's canyon until we reach a suspension bridge which allows us to cross to the other side of the valley. We then hike to the top of the ravine following a pathway which ends with a spectacular viewpoint of Matera's Sassi district. In the afternoon we walk back to Matera for a guided tour: accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, we wander through the narrow alleys of the town's famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and learn of the history of this fascinating place. Back in Matera we enjoy a delicious produce and wine tasting in the historic centre and the rest of the day is free to discover the city at our own pace. Overnight in Matera. Please note that at the time of writing the suspension bridge connecting Matera to the canyon trail is not accessible due to a landslide. In the event it does not reopen in time for your departure, complimentary transfers will be arranged to the trailhead and back. This would result in the walk being of slightly shorter duration.
7 Walk in the outskirts of Matera exploring prehistoric caves and rugged landscape; overnight in Matera.
Today we will transfer by train and bus to the outskirts of Matera, where our walk starts. The trail will take us through dramatic rugged landscape made of limestone, gravel paths, fields and almond and olive groves, in an area which was once home to prehistoric men and cave dwellings. The area is very picturesque in spring when many species of butterfly, orchid and cyclamen are found.
8 The trip ends in Matera this morning.
The trip ends in Matera this morning.