Puglia's position as Italy's gateway to the Orient meant that it was easily occupied by many marauding invaders during its history: including the Normans, the Turks, Greeks, Romans and Goths. This rich mixture of civilisations and cultures has left an intriguing legacy to explore, which makes travelling here feel genuine and unlike anywhere else in Italy. This guided walking trip combines time discovering archeological and architectural treasures with hiking through valleys and along coastal paths surrounded by landscapes of red earth, olive groves and vineyards. See the unique dry stone cottages known as trulli in intriguing Alberobello and the cave houses known as Sassi in Matera. Explore the enchanting maze of narrow streets in the 'white city' Ostuni, the seaside village of Otranto facing the Adriatic and visit the elegant Baroque city of Lecce.
Make your own way to Lecce, capital of the Salento region. From the train station you can take a taxi (allow EUR15-20) to your accommodation located in the historical centre of the city. Inside a 17th century building, this charming B&B will be your home for 2 days. Lecce is a city with the charm of Prague, the stonework of Florence and about the size of Siena. Within the old town walls there are numerous churches and convents, cultural sites, ancient monuments, museums, libraries and cafes. It is a city to get lost in, to meander through not knowing what will greet you at the next turn. We recommend you take some time to wander through the old streets, relax in the piazza overlooking the amphitheatre and enjoy the ambiance of the city before you meet your guide and group at 6pm at the hotel. This evening you will enjoy dinner in a typical restaurant which is brimming with atmosphere.
The focus today is Otranto, a little seaside village facing the Adriatic Sea, which you'll reach by train. Visit the Norman Cathedral to see the unique 'Tree of Life' mosaic floor before hiking along the coastline, discovering flowers and Mediterranean vegetation and the Saracen watchtowers. Return by train to Lecce and enjoy a free evening discovering its main monuments.
Distance: 10km/6.2mi, ascent: +100m/328ft, descent: -100m/328ft
Private transfer to Ostuni (approx 1 hr). This striking hilltop village is known as the "white city", due to its fortress of whitewashed building clustered together on the hillside. Its charm lies within the enchanting maze of Greek-style narrow streets and fine Mediterranean architecture. Free time to discover this fairy tale-like town before dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight in your hotel.
A morning hike to discover the unique countryside of Ostuni: enjoy a nice walk through millenary olive groves on red clay-like soil with wonderful views of the Adriatic. Lunch with typical country products at a 'masseria'/farm before walking back into town. At 4pm, a private transfer will take you to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alberobello, with its intriguing dry-stone dwellings known as trulli, in the beautiful Itria valley. Your accommodation is in a typical trullo in the historical centre. Wine and typical product tasting, overnight in Alberobello.
Distance: 7.5km/4.6mi, ascent: +100m/328ft, descent: -150m/492ft
Today you discover the Itria Valley, walking along an old aqueduct which is still the largest water pipeline in Europe, to Locorotondo. Pass between olive trees, vineyards and trulli through this enchanting landscape. Free time to explore pretty Locorotondo before returning by train to Alberobello. Dinner at leisure.
Distance: 13km/8mi, ascent: +150m/492ft, descent: -150m/492ft
After breakfast, transfer to Matera and hike to the deep canyon over which the town has been built. Here we will come across troglodyte villages and ancient rock churches and enjoy a breathtaking panorama over the deep cliff. Bus ride back to Matera and settle into our accommodation in the heart of the historical centre. Free time to explore this amazing city, one of the oldest in Italy and UNESCO Heritage listed since 1993. "Sassi di Matera" means "stones of Matera“. In the 1950s, the government of Italy forcefully relocated most of the population of the Sassi to the surrounding modern area. Slowly the Sassi area has been regenerated for tourism with hotels, restaurants and artisan workshops located in the old cave dwellings. The town was the backdrop for Mel Gibson's “Passion of the Christ” movie. Overnight in Matera. Dinner is at leisure.
Distance: 9km/5.6mi, ascent: +150m/492ft, descent: -350m/1148ft
A wonderful hike to discover the Murgia plateau facing Matera, admiring rock churches dating from the 8th century painted with Byzantine frescoes. The landscape here is of pastures and stone farmhouses, and there is the chance to watch the flight of different types of falcons. Dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight in Matera.
Distance: 6.5km/4mi, ascent: +350m/1148ft, descent: -350m/1148ft
After breakfast, your luggage will be dropped off at Matera station, the trip concludes. We can assist with a private transfer to Bari if required (a supplement applies).
Great and varied scenery and walks. Our guide was superb. She went well above what was required. Great recommendations for dining and touring. Always upbeat. A great organizer.
E. Najgebauer., ON, Canada
Per Person, Twin Share