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Exclusive departure | 5th October 2019

  • Join Andrew Graham-Dixon on a tour of Lecce
  • Visit Alberobello with the unique trulli houses, set amidst stunning Tuscan-like countryside
  • Guided tour of Matera, the amazing medieval cave village and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Guided tour of Bari’s old town, once home to ancient Greeks, Saracens and Normans, with a remarkable Romanesque cathedral
  • Tour the beautiful national park and crusader church of Monte Sant’Angelo, one of Europe’s most important medieval pilgrimage sites and where Archangel Michael appeared
  • Return travel from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers
  • Seven nights in conveniently located 4-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and dinner (three dinners at carefully selected local restaurants)
  • Services of our experienced tour manager throughout
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At a Glance
7 nights in 4-star accommodation
Return flights & transfers
Programme of daily tours & visits
Half board
Expert tour manager
Checked Luggage
 

Overview

A journey discovering a fascinating and unspoilt collection of cultural and scenic gems. There are some impressive statistics on Apulia: it is one of the most fertile regions of Italy producing more olive oil than the rest of the country combined, most of its fish, 80% of Europe’s pasta and is Italy's top wine-producing region. We mention this because this very fertility and resultant wealth has attracted attention from a host of envious invaders from throughout history, with all leaving remarkably evident footprints and it is this which makes Apulia delightfully different. As you may know, in Italy, ‘dialect’ is almost entirely different languages that are still in everyday use and here in Apulia the language is full of Greek expressions. During our tour of Bari, the tall narrow streets, lined by a host of traders whose wares spill onto the ancient cobbles, carry a huge Moorish influence.

In Lecce an imperial column marks the end of the Appian Way, one of the greatest of Roman roads and at nearby Cannae the empire suffered its greatest ever defeat, courtesy of Hannibal and his Carthaginians. Every town seems to boast a Norman cathedral, and they are some of the most beautifully ornate you will ever see, decorated with intricate stonework, colourful medieval frescos and fine art. Huge Spanish-built castles dominate the rolling countryside whilst picturesque, now peaceful fishing ports once hummed with activity as devout Crusaders embarked for the Holy Land. Lecce, a gem of a baroque city, boasts 100 churches ranging from Romanesque and Gothic to Rococo. Its centre is a labyrinth of tiny alleys where Romans, rich medieval merchants and finely clad bishops once roamed.

Today despite its stunning classical architecture, staggeringly the city remains almost devoid of tourists. Around Alberobello is a huge number of Trulli - unique houses whose instantly recognisable shape has become Apulia’s unofficial symbol. Moving on, we visit Matera where an entire medieval town was hewn from solid rock and remains inhabited to this day. Wander round Bari’s old town and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Moorish times, so intense is the sense of history. As we explore Apulia, it is evident this is not the Italy of the north, the tiny villages studding the olive tree carpeted countryside are flat roofed and white, resembling Greece or Crete from where the first settlers of this biscuit coloured land once came. All this makes an eclectic mix, but Apulia is not just about the past; the Gargano peninsula provides one of Europe’s most unforgettable seascapes, standing comparison with the Amalfi coast and the sheer natural beauty of its forest equally so.

Here in the deep, south-east of Italy, nature and history are powerful influences, the locals still wink cheekily at authority and the relaxed and communal way of life is in harmony with the sunny dry climate. There remains a deep rooted and historic suspicion of rule from afar, engendering a relaxed atmosphere perfect for ‘getting away from it all’ so why not join us and explore this hidden gem, just in case the masses do discover it!

“The cathedrals of Lecce are beautifully ornate and a sight to behold.”

Andrew Graham-Dixon

Your Itinerary

Watch Puglia, Lecce & Vieste Featuring Andrew Graham-Dixon Video

Price Includes

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and dinner, all tours as mentioned, tour of Lecce by Andrew Graham-Dixon, return flights and transfers, airport departure taxes, all local accommodation taxes and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.

Tour Lecce with Andrew Graham-Dixon

Renowned art critic and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon took us on a cultural adventure on TV’s Italy Unpacked, introducing the world to the country’s less-explored gems and whetting our appetite for its artistic wonders. He has also presented numerous series on art for the BBC, such as the acclaimed A History of British Art and Art of Eternity.

Join Andrew when he makes an appearance during our guided tour of Lecce, and shares his thoughts and infectious enthusiasm for one of Italy’s finest towns. Known as the ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce boasts an astonishing array of outstanding art and architectural gems, including splendid Renaissance and Baroque buildings.

Andrew Graham-Dixon on Puglia, Lecce & Vieste

Useful Information

Transfer Times

All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on the number of hotel stops and traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us

  Arrival airport or train station    First hotel location   Transfer time    Final hotel location    Departure airport or train station   Transfer time 
Bari Airport Lecce 2 hrs 30 mins Vieste Bari Airport 3 hrs
Brindisi Airport 45 mins Brindisi Airport 4 hrs

Fact File

  • Currency: Euro
  • Deposit: £100 per person
  • Flight time: Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Language: Italian
  • Time zone: GMT+1
  • Country: Italy

Mobility

We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitabilty of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.

Hotel Information

  • The use of air-conditioning in hotels in Italy is at the hotel’s discretion and is normally restricted to the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), depending on the temperature.
  • Where hotels feature a swimming pool, it will be open during the summer months depending on weather conditions.

Accommodation


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