Apulia is a fascinating area quite unlike the rest of Italy, characterised by high plateaux, coastal lagoons and lovely old seaside towns. This remarkable region has been home to many successive peoples and cultures, who have each left their own unique archaeological trace on the landscape, producing rock-cut cities and churches, and conical trulli.
Apulia was a cross-cultural bridge between east and west, attracting new settlers whose influence was absorbed and adapted to this particular terrain. This is a wonderful exploration of how this diverse and beautiful region has been forged by the great sweep of history.
- The little-visited heel of Italy: discover Roman battlefields, dramatic rock-cut churches and magnificent castles and cathedrals
- We enjoy a special visit to the Santomasi foundation - an atmospheric museum with beautiful collections and an impressive library
- The famous pepper-pot ‘trulli’ at Alberobello - built using the same techniques from Prehistoric to modern times and a World Heritage Site
- Historic Churches
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Bari and pay an afternoon visit to the Church of St. Nicholas before transferring to our hotel in Trani.
We travel north to the attractive Church of San Leonardo di Siponto, and then on to mighty Manfredonia castle to visit its museum. In the afternoon we will visit the Cave sanctuary and church of the Archangel St. Michael, one of the most important shrines of Western Christianity which precipitated both the Norman conquest of the South and elements of the crusading movement.
We visit Castel del Monte and the spectacular 13th century hunting lodge of the Emperor Frederick II. We move on to Canosa to see the tomb of the mighty crusader Bohemond. We spend the afternoon at Cannae, scene of Hannibal’s greatest victory over the Romans. In Barletta, we see the colossal statue of a late Roman Emperor, the largest surviving bronze statue from the ancient world.
We enjoy a morning in the harbour town of Trani where we see the splendid Norman cathedral and harbour, thought by many to be the finest in Apulia. We travel on to visit Monte Sannace, a classic native Apulian site, with settlement from the late Bronze Age to the Roman period. In the afternoon we pass through the delightful medieval town of Goia del Colle and see its museum.
We explore Alberobello, famous for its trulli, pepper-pot houses with corbelled roofs, the stones of which gradually taper inwards to a capstone. We move on to Massafra to see two medieval rock-cut churches decorated with Byzantine tradition frescoes. We end the day in Taranto, viewing the superb collections of Hellenistic and Roman artefacts in the site museum.
We spend the day in the pretty seaside town of Otranto. Our first visit is to the Byzantine church of San Pietro and its excellent 10th century frescoes. The town’s Norman cathedral is famous for its medieval mosaic floor depicting biblical stories. We also explore the massive Aragonese Castle, built as a bastion against the Turks who had captured Otranto in 1480.
We have the special opportunity to explore the underground vaults and adits of Otranto Castle.
We enjoy a whole day in Lecce, the best-preserved Baroque city in the Mediterranean. We visit some of the churches, and the amphitheatre of the Roman city of Lupiae, as well as the museum. When Lecce became part of the Kingdom of Naples, it took on a new cultural identity, becoming the ‘Apulian Athens’. Between the 16th to 18th century, this status enabled the development of the ‘Lecce Baroque’, characterised by exuberant carving.
We return home from Bari airport.
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included - dinners with wine
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
- Flights - London to Bari; Milan to London
- Hotels - 3 nights in a hotel which was a former convent based on the harbour of Trani, 2 nights in an elegant establishment set in a beautiful green park, just outside the city of Martina Franca, 2 nights in a 5 star hotel right in the historical heart of beautiful Baroque Lecce
3 nights in a hotel which was a former convent based on the harbour of Trani
2 nights in an elegant establishment set in a beautiful green park, just outside the city of Martina Franca
2 nights in a 5 star hotel right in the historical heart of beautiful Baroque Lecce
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Many of our tours can be linked together to form longer programmes. We are happy to arrange connecting flights and hotels, allowing you to spend as long as you wish exploring the ancient world... See suggestions below: