savouring the south:

our puglia tour and culinary holiday

Our ​2019 Weeklong Tour Dates are:

  • May 25 to June 1, 2019 - sold out

  • September 7 to 14, 2019 - sold out

  • September 21 to 28, 2019 - sold out

 

Just announced! Our first 2020 Weeklong Tour Dates are:

  • May 23 to 30, 2020 

  • September 5 to 12, 2020

  • September 19 to 26, 2020

Please contact us for more information, to join the waiting list for a sold out Tour, or to ask us about our Custom Tours (select dates for 2019 still available).

We asked ourselves: what would our dream Puglia Tour look like? We have crafted a week-long Puglia vacation full of unique and fascinating foodie experiences, amazing excursions, delicious meals, stunning sights, and interactive and fun cooking classes, incorporating the very best that this incredible region has to offer.

 

For our Puglia Tour we will be based in the Salento region, in the gorgeous town of Lecce, the 'Florence of the South,' renowned for its stunning architecture, warm and friendly locals, fantastic restaurants and bars, and buzzing local life. We have hand picked Lecce's best accommodation, Mantatelurè, as your home for the duration of your stay. Below you will find a detailed itinerary, dates and prices for this incredible Puglia vacation.

 

We hope you will join us for this unforgettable week of culinary and cultural immersion.

 

Rates and Dates

2019 Dates:

  • May 25 to June 1, 2019 - sold out

  • September 7 to 14, 2019 - sold out

  • September 21 to 28, 2019 - sold out

2020 Dates - just announced!

  • May 23 to 30, 2020

  • September 5 to 12, 2020

  • September 19 to 26, 2020

We are also available for Private and Custom Tours and Day Tours. Please contact us for further details or to join the waiting list for sold out Tours.

 

The Savouring the South weeklong tour costs €2950 per person.

 

This price includes ALL of the following:

  • Luxury accommodation at Mantatelurè in the heart of beautiful Lecce

  • All meals, including great local wines, water and coffee

  • All transfers - just travel to the nearest airport or train station, and we'll do the rest!

  • Excursions to the region's most fascinating destinations

  • Two hands-on cooking lessons and a market visit with Chef Gianna

  • Pizza Lesson in Lecce's top rated Pizzeria with Pizzaiolo Maurizio

  • Unique, authentic and fascinating foodie experiences, including:

    • A vineyard visit with guided tours, tastings and a sumptuous castle dinner 

    • Olive oil experience

    • Gelato demonstration and tasting

    • Coffee tasting at Lecce's most beloved cafe

    • Guided visit to a historic Masseria (farm estate) with farm to table lunch

  • Guided walking tours of Lecce, Otranto, Gallipoli, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Alberobello and Ostuni

  • Sailing trip along the coast between Monopoli and Polignano a Mare

  • Refreshments and gelato stops scheduled in our itinerary

  • All entry fees

  • Local taxes and gratuities

  • Cultural experiences

  • Connections with local people

  • Memories for a lifetime

 

Not included: flights, travel insurance and personal expenses (that is, anything not included in the itinerary, such as shopping trips or unscheduled gelato stops - though please note that we do include gelato in the itinerary...)

 

Prices are based on double occupancy. We warmly welcome single travellers. However, as our rates are based on double occupancy, there is a single supplement of €400 to cover the additional accommodation costs.

Day 1: Welcome to Puglia!

Arrivals | Welcome Aperitivo | Lecce Walking Tour | Traditional Dinner

 

Welcome to Lecce! We will pick you up from the nearest airport, Brindisi International, or Lecce Train Station, and bring you to your beautiful Puglia holiday home for the week. Our exclusive guest house, Mantatelurè, is a serene oasis in the heart of this bustling baroque town. Settle into your luxurious air-conditioned room in this intimate restored Palazzo from the 16th century, and let the golden tones of the Leccese stone (and sunshine) warm your soul.

 

We will welcome you in style, with an Italian Aperitivo of snacks, cocktails and local wines in the beautiful courtyard where we will gather to meet your fellow travellers and discuss the week ahead. Our Italian adventure begins with a guided tour of Lecce's historic centre, admiring the dazzling detail of the baroque architecture unique to this region.

 

After our stroll through Lecce's Centro Storico we will sit down and relax at our favourite local restaurant, run by a friendly family, where we will feast on a traditional Salentine feast with local wines. After a leisurely dinner, for those who have energy, we will partake in the evening Passeggiata, a Leccese tradition, to admire the city aglow in golden light as locals fill the cobblestone streets. Continue on for an optional nightcap at a fantastic local wine bar or head back to Mantatelurè for a well-earned rest.

Savouring the South: Day by Day

Day 2: Glorious Gallipoli & Cooking Class

Historic Gallipoli Tour | Seafood Lunch with a view | Mozzarella and Cooking Class 

 

Every day will start with a delicious breakfast, including local pastries freshly baked in-house at Mantatelurè, served al fresco in the lovely courtyard.

This morning we will head to the seaside town of Gallipoli, with its Greek-inspired, fortified Centro Storico perched like a pearl on the turquoise Ionian Sea. Stone walls and a medieval castle hide narrow streets of whitewashed buildings, where nets, herbs and tomatoes hang in doorways and windows, and friendly locals smile as you wander the cobbled maze. We will visit its famous fish market, the most important in the region, and explore the old town before settling down for a delicious meal at an elegant seafood restaurant overlooking the sea.

 

Back in Lecce, we will take a break before meeting our Chef and Cooking Instructor Gianna Greco. At her cooking school, set in a historic palazzo just around the corner from the Duomo, we will partake in our first hands-on cooking class. We will start by making the most amazing, fresh Mozzarella and Burrata with a master casaro (cheesemaker). Then we will prepare a full meal from scratch as Gianna reveals secrets and techniques handed down through the generations of her family. Gianna, who is also a professional sommelier, will lead a guided tasting of local wines. After your lesson we will sit down in the School's beautiful courtyard for a wonderful meal where we will enjoy the fruits of our labour.

Day 3: Ancient Trees & UNESCO Trulli

Tour & Picnic at Ancient Olive Farm | Trulli of Alberobello | Polignano a Mare

Today our Puglia Tour takes us into the Valle d'Itria area of Puglia and to a historic Masseria, home to a pre-Roman olive mill and some of the oldest olive trees in Europe: incredible, ancient gnarled living monuments. After an entertaining and informative tour through the trees and down to the underground mill, we will enjoy an al fresco picnic of delicious local dishes prepared by the owner's family.

After lunch we will head to Alberobello and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Zona dei Trulli. These little whitewashed houses with conical roofs are unique to the Valle d'Itria region of Puglia. On our guided Alberobello tour we will learn the fascinating story of their origin and visit trulli made into shops, restaurants, and even a church. Take time on your own to explore further, shop and admire these unique creations. 

We will then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in Polignano a Mare, the Jewel of the Adriatic, a famed town clinging to the cliffs over the sea. After a walk to enjoy the views and explore the town we will enjoy a coffee unique to Polignano. For dinner we'll enjoy a fish and seafood feast in a beautiful restaurant inside the historic town wall. 

 

Day 4: Pizza Perfection, Wine and a Castle 

Pizza Lesson & Lunch | Tours & tastings at two Wineries | Sumptuous Castle Dinner

 

Take a leisurely start to the morning with some free time to relax. Then we head to Lecce's most beloved Pizzeria for our interactive Pizza Making class. Owner Maurizio is famed in Lecce not only for his amazing pizza, but for his passion for quality ingredients and his vivacious personality. After learning about the history and process of Neapolitan Pizza, Maurizio will teach us the fine and always-fun art of pizza making. With his expert guidance we will create, from scratch, our very own Neapolitan-style pizzas, which we will enjoy at our own celebratory street party, paired with local wines and craft beers.

 

After a short break we'll head to a fantastic local winery, located in a beautiful historic castle and surrounded by flowering gardens, olive groves and acres of vineyards. We will enjoy a guided tour of the castle and grounds, learn about their winemaking process, and visit their museum and cellars. 

 

Entering the castle, we will continue our gastronomic adventure with an aperitivo paired with delicious finger food. Ascending the stairs, we will savour a private four-course meal in the private apartments of the owners, served by our own waiters, with paired wines to match each dish, of course. An unforgettable evening in beautiful surroundings.

Day 5: Monopoli, Sailing & Ostuni

Historic Monopoli | Sailing the Adriatic Coast | Ostuni, the White City

This morning we will explore the lovely seaside town of Monopoli, starting with a visit to its beautiful cathedral - one of the most celebrated churches in the region. We will then take a guided stroll through the town's quaint streets and along the water. 

At Monopoli's port we will embark our beautiful wooden sailboat, and Vito and our crew will take us out on the Adriatic back toward Polignano, so we can admire the town and cliffs directly from the water. Enjoy a swim from the boat, or just relax and enjoy the views. We will have an aperitivo and lunch on board the boat before enjoying more relaxing, sunbathing and swimming time. 


After disembarking we will head to the amazing "White City," Ostuni. Perched atop its hill in the Valle d'Itria, the city looks like something out of a movie set. We begin our Ostuni tour with a gelato demonstration and tasting at one of the very best gelaterie in all Puglia. Then we set off for our Ostuni walking tour to explore corners and passageways that hide delights at every turn. There will be time for some shopping or, if you prefer, savour an aperitivo at a fantastic bar while admiring the sunset. We will then sit down to a casual, delicious dinner at our favourite farm to deli restaurant, where the owner prepares incredible platters of meats, cheeses, salads and vegetables from her family's farm, accompanied by local wine and beer.

Day 6: Otranto, Masseria & Lecce by Night

Otranto Tour | Farm to Table Feast at a Historic Masseria | Lecce by Tasting Tour

 

Today our Tour will begin with a journey to the stunning seaside town of Otranto, Italy's easternmost city, recognised by UNESCO and named as one of the "Borghi Piu Belli d'Italia" (most beautiful small towns in Italy). We will explore its winding streets and seaside promenade on our guided walking tour, including a visit to the Cathedral with its splendid mosaic floor and its macabre dedication to the town's Martyrs. We will have time for a passeggiata and some shopping in the town's quaint shops. 

From Otranto we will head to an ancient Masseria, or farmhouse, nestled in the countryside, for a tour of this fascinating building that has been welcoming guests since the Middle Ages. We will enjoy a farm-to-table feast, tasting authentic traditional recipes. Everything we eat - from the cheese to the wheat in the pasta to the meat - is grown and produced on the farm.

After our return to Lecce, we will gather again in early evening to take part in the passeggiata - the Italian evening stroll. This is when the city comes alive and how the locals spend their evenings - on the street, people watching, grabbing delicious street food, enjoying a gelato and socializing. It's our favourite time to enjoy Lecce and admire the golden stone change as the sun sets. We will be your guides as we reveal the best of Lecce by night, sampling drinks, streetfood delicacies and embracing the town's unique nighttime culture.

 

Day 7: Cooking & The Coast: A Grand Finale

Exploring Salento's Coast | Beach Lunch | Cooking Class 3 | Our Farewell Party

 

We've saved the ultimate Puglian coastal experience for today. We'll stop at beautiful spots along the Adriatic coast and relax at Torre dell'Orso, the Salento's loveliest beach. Take a dip in the clean, clear turquoise water, or take a break in the shade of an umbrella and breathe in the ocean air. We'll enjoy a relaxed lunch on the beach and take a gelato break at one of the region's best cafés, on a terrace overlooking the entire beach.

 

Then it's back to Lecce for our final Puglian cooking class with the wonderful Gianna, where we will create our farewell feast together. We will stroll to the market to select fresh seasonal ingredients for our menu, and after a coffee break at a great local bar, we'll head to the school to create another divine dinner of traditional dishes. After our fabulous hands-on cooking lesson we will celebrate with a festive party in the courtyard garden, drinking fabulous wines, sharing our freshly-made dishes, and reminiscing about our week together.

 

As we celebrate our final evening in Puglia, don't be surprised if we have some special treats up our sleeves - be prepared to celebrate and have fun in true Pugliese style!

Day 8: Arrivederci!  Until we Meet Again!

Farewell Breakfast | Transfers to Airport or Train Station | Arrivederci, alla prossima!

 

After a final breakfast, bid goodbye to Lecce and your new community of friends. We will escort you to Brindisi airport or Lecce train station for your journey onward. The week may be over, but we hope the memories and friendships last a lifetime. We sincerely hope this is not goodbye, but rather, until next time - or as the Italians say, arrivederci, alla prossima volta!

 

Cooking Experience Lezioni di Cucina

Your beautiful cooking school in the heart of historic Lecce

 

In the shadow of the Duomo, in an ancient palazzo, is Puglia's best cooking school. Learn the secrets of Salento cuisine from Gianna Greco, chef-sommelier - owner of Cooking Experience. Gianna is extremely passionate, fun and vivacious, whose cooking classes show that her love of Pugliese cuisine is as infectious as her laughter. 

 

Your Home for the week: Mantatelurè

Exclusive Guest House in the Centre of Lecce

 

You will stay in the gorgeous exclusive guest house, Mantatelurè. The palace dates from 1550, and was gloriously converted and opened to rave reviews in 2013. The owner, Marco, has retained the building's original charm and added the best modern amenities, to create a unique and serene environment with luxurious rooms and unparalleled personal service.

 

Optional Upgrades

 

All of the rooms at Mantatelurè are exceptional. Each unique room is stylishly decorated, with comfortable beds, air-conditioning, TV with Sky channels, specially programmed radio, a pillow menu, and all the amenities you can count on from an exclusive guest house. However, for those who want something extra-extra-special, the following room upgrades are available at a small extra cost per stay:

 

• Deluxe suite with Jacuzzi Spa Bath and Four Poster Bed | €150 extra/person

Suite with Jacuzzi Spa Bath | €120 extra/person

Junior suite with mezzanine level and deluxe king shower | €90 extra/person

Tours Dates: Book Now!

 

2019 Dates:

  • May 25 to June 1, 2019 - sold out

  • September 7 to 14, 2019 - sold out

  • September 21 to 28, 2019 - sold out

 

2020 Dates - just announced!

  • May 23 to 30, 2020

  • September 5 to 12, 2020

  • September 19 to 26, 2020

We are also available for Private and Custom Tours and Day Tours.

Choose your own dates and itinerary! Please contact us for further details or to join the waiting list for sold out Tours.

 

Order of activities subject to change. Some activities are subject to weather. If weather does not permit an activity, we will do our utmost to reschedule that activity. However, as life is unexpected, changes may not be possible; therefore please note that our itinerary is subject to change due to forces beyond our control.

 

Email: info@espressinotravel.com
Phone: + 1.604.336.3080 (Canada)
               + 39.334.957.6622 (Italy)
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