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May 18 - May 27, 2017


Truly Puglia: Yes, Puglia truly is amazing!  Puglia is the stiletto heel on a map of Italy, a diverse long, narrow Region between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, with a wide variety of architectural styles, language, food and wine.  It offers fabulous scenery along the coast with white Greek-inspired  villages, many many  protected towers –some in disrepair, others firmly holding their ground, very rocky terrain, some excellent beaches – others stony;  inland the magical trulli houses, some of which keep the original natural stone colour, others brilliantly white washed, all with a similar cone type roof –either with painted insignias or plain.  Many walled masserie, originally built as protection for groups of people and their animals from the brigands, some now adapted for use as B&Bs, hotels, resorts dot the land.   Our tour is designed to help you discover the” real” Puglia – not only the touristy sites.  It’s all-inclusive from start to finish: there’s no need for you to spend an extra Euro on this trip.  It will be a relaxing holiday with good food and wine over convivial meals, meeting local people and enjoying interesting and varied escorted experiences in a range of towns and sites. We’ll stay  in an original trullo (now beautifully modernised inside of course) for 5 nights.

However we’ll meet in Lecce, the capital city of Puglia, and Italy’s centre of Baroque art and architecture, spending 4 nights there. This city is over 2000 years old, and, along with the area known as Salento, has a long affinity with Greek culture.

One day we’ll take a small wagon train on a little branch line down to the coastal walled city of Otranto, travelling through the olive groves – thousands of olive trees, many of which are more than 100 years old. Because of its strategic position this town has a remarkable history, including Greek, Roman, Norman, Turkish and French “ownership”. In 1480 the Turkish/Ottoman fleet invaded and captured the town - although it was recaptured the following year following the Pope’s call for a crusade.     After walking down to the small harbour and along its promenade, we’ll have lunch right on the cliff tasting Otranto’s uncomplicated  cuisine, perhaps orecchiette with a delicious sauce or a sharp  ricotta cheese, fish or  local speciality octopus that is boiled, fried or cooked alla pignata (in the typical earthenware pot) or fish chowder and spaghetti with mussels. And scrumptious bread named puccia.       Maybe this is wetting your appetite?

We'll be taking trips to places such as Gallipoli, Locorotondo, Cistemino, Martina Franca, Putignano,  Ostuni, Alberobello, Trani, unique octagonal 1200s Castel del Monte, the best known of the many castles built by Roman Emperor Frederick II, with walls 2.5 metres thick. At the end of this tour, if you wish, you can be dropped off in Bari at the rail station or airport.   

On another day we’ll make a short departure from the Region of Puglia to Basilicata and the UNESCO World Heritage Site o fSassi di Matera. Fascinating ancient cave dwellings, believed to be a prehistoric settlement, with the “houses “ or caves, dug from stone.  

Join us in Italy on an all- inclusive holiday with Ciao Bella Tours - before millions of tourists discover this amazing southern Region! May 18 - May 27, 2017. Please contact us if you’d like to receive further details.

Immerse, Indulge, Imbibe, Revive! $AUD 7,200.00 per person twin share ; (SS +  $AUD770).