23004
Italy
Winter in Puglia: Italy's Southern Gem
Discover the vibrant history and cuisine of Puglia — a coastal region located on Italy’s “heel” — during the winter months when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.
Not yet reviewed
Program No. 23004RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,499
Flights start at
625
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8 days
7 nights
15 meals
6 B 3 L 6 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Brindisi, Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Lecce
D
Patria Palace Hotel Lecce

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 12:00 Noon. Driving to the hotel approximately 28 miles (45 km); about 1 hour.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before a light snack and our Orientation session. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Unless specified otherwise, the majority of transportation will be provided via motorcoach thereby necessitating ascending and descending a few steps. All meals include wine, coffee and water. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then enjoy a welcome cocktail together at the hotel before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated and served meal with wine, coffee and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow road scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
3
Baroque in Lecce, Cooking Lesson
Lecce
B,D
Patria Palace Hotel Lecce

Activity note: Walking about 3 miles; approximately 2 hours; flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet’s choices include an egg dish, a variety of sliced cold cuts and cheeses, breakfast breads, jams, hot and cold cereals, and fresh fruit with coffee, tea and water.

Morning: We’ll begin with a lecture at the hotel with a local expert focused on discovering the Baroque in Lecce. Afterwards, we will embark on an expert-led walking field trip of Lecce with emphasis on finding examples of the Baroque that were discussed earlier. During the walk, we will explore the Old City and its iconic Baroque monuments, churches, and even some ancient Roman ruins including the Basilica of Santa Croce. The remainder of the morning will be free for independent exploration of Lecce.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We will walk to an ancient Palazzo located in the historical center of Lecce for a hands-on cooking lesson.

Dinner: At the cooking school, we’ll enjoy the dishes we’ve made during our lesson. Wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Otranto, Italian Language Lesson
Lecce
B,L,D
Patria Palace Hotel Lecce

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile total throughout the day; flat terrain. Drive to Otranto is approx. 25 miles, about 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach and transfer to Otranto, a town of Messapian (pre-Roman origin) which, in the wars of Pyrrhus and of Hannibal, sided against Rome. Now, Otranto is a town and commune in a fertile region in the province of Lecce (Apulia, Italy), once famous for its breed of horses. It’s situated on the east coast of the Salento peninsula and the Strait of Otranto connects the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea. While in Otranto, we will go on an expert-led walking field trip through its Old Town to see its signature monuments including the Cathedral di Santa Maria Annunziata and its incredible mosaic floor depicting, among other things, The Tree of Life. Afterwards, we’ll have some time for independent exploration. You may wish to go for a stroll along the harbor, which is small and has little trade.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Otranto, we’ll have plated meals with wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will then board our motorcoach to return to Lecce back at the hotel where we will be joined by a professor for our first Italian language lesson.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Masseria Brancati, Locorotondo, Alberobello
Alberobello (BA)
B,L,D
Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri

Activity note: Driving about 78 miles total throughout the day; about 2 hours total with stops for activities. Walking about 2 miles throughout the day; approximately 2 hours; cobblestone paths; some benches on which to rest.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our private motorcoach and begin our transfer to Alberobello where we will check into our hotel. During our ride we will stop at Masseria Brancati and walk among olive trees dating back thousands of years. The visit will start with an introduction given by an olive oil expert on how olive oil has been produced through the ages. We’ll then continue our transfer to Locorotondo and go on an expert-led field trip in the charming circular whitewashed village, which has a beautiful view over the trulli-peppered Val D'Itria. Locorotondo is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and is a prime example of an Italian “White City.”

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Locorotondo, we’ll have plated meals with wine and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will then complete our transfer to Alberobello and check into the hotel before beginning our expert-led field trip via motorcoach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Alberobello, which is situated on the second step of Le Murge, south of the Canale di Pirro. As we explore, soak in the sights of the iconic white limestone trulli with their conically pointed roofs.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal featuring regional cuisine plus a glass of wine, water and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Bari, Polignano al Mare, Italian Language Lesson
Alberobello (BA)
B,L,D
Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri

Activity note: Walking about 3.5 miles total on mostly flat terrain; approximately 3 hours total. Drive is approximately 75 miles total; about 2.5 hours total, with stops for field trips at various locations.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach and head to Bari for a full morning walking field trip throughout this picturesque port city and its historical center on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. On our way around Bari led by a local expert, we will see the Basilica of San Nicola, the cathedral, the outside of the castle, and the main square of the Old City.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Mola di Bari, we’ll have a plated and served meal with wine, coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After transferring to the small village of Polignano a Mare, we’ll explore the old part of the village on foot with our Group Leader and have a stroll along the waterfront before returning to the hotel for our second Italian lesson with the professor.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Matera, Sassi, Free Time
Alberobello (BA)
B,D
Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri

Activity note: Walking about 2.5 miles total for the day; approximately 2 hours; Sassi is very rocky; several steps and slopes; be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Drive to Matera is approximately 43 miles; about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Via motorcoach, we will transfer to Matera where we will embark on a walking field trip to the Sassi di Matera, the oldest part of the city, led by a local expert. This area was declared a UNESCO world heritage site because it is considered to be the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region that is perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. The first settlements can be dated back to the Neolithic period, approximately 7 thousand years ago, while later settlements illustrate a number of significant stages in human history.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon will be Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated and served farewell meal with wine, coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with your fellow Road Scholars.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet depending on departure time. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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