Begin by flying into Bari Airport where our driver will meet you upon arrival. Enjoy a comfortable, private ride to your hotel in Lecce, a baroque city with Adriatic flavor renowned for its magnificent architecture, signature orecchiette pasta and other delectable eats, and its buzzing nightlife. After checking in, you’ll have the rest of the day to yourself. You might enjoy a preview with a relaxed stroll, perhaps discovering the many spectacular churches with their delicately carved cornices and columns, lavishly decorated with cherubs, griffins, and gargoyles, often built from Leece stone, a kind of limestone with a soft, impressionable texture.
Tour of Baroque Lecce
Get to know more about the city and its many landmarks with a private tour of baroque Lecce. Your expert guide will reveal the city’s past through anecdotes and visits to Santa Croce Basilica which dates back to the 14th century with a beautifully decorated façade and a large rose window. You’ll see the 2nd-century Roman amphitheater and its columns marking the end of the Appian Way, the Government Palace which was once a convent for Celestine monks, and much more. Free time is provided so that you can wander as you like around Piazza Duomo or find an enticing place to relax.
Traveling outside of Lecce to historic Otranto on the Adriatic Coast, you’ll enjoy a private tour here that reveals the town’s rich past, impressive architecture, and fabulous views. Highlights include the 11th-century Romanesque cathedral with a rose window, mosaic floor, and a crypt featuring more than 40 columns. The fascinating Chapel of the Dead is on the itinerary too. It’s known for housing 800 skulls of martyred citizens who were beheaded by Turkish pirates for refusing to renounce Christianity in the 15th century. Two-and-a-half hours of leisurely time is provided so you can explore on your own, enjoy lunch, unwind with a beverage, or shop.
Traveling to your next destination, you’ll take a private transfer to Monopoli, known for its long-held fishing tradition and alluring historic center. After checking into your hotel, enjoy it at your leisure. The seaside promenade, known as the lungomare, is the perfect place for a stroll and home to many restaurants and bars where tourists sip their Aperol Spritz and enjoy the view. Stick around for a fabulous sunset that casts a glow across the promenade and then perhaps enjoy a fresh seafood dinner in one of the many eateries here that offer memorable dining with a spectacular view of the sea.
Tour of Polignano & Bari
There are many beautiful places that can be explored from Monopoli and today you’ll enjoy a tour that brings you to the coastal towns of Polignano and Bari. Start out in picturesque Polignano, built atop limestone cliffs dotted with sea caves while offering countless photo-ops. You’ll follow your guide for a walk through the lovely square with its church and clock tower. Enjoy time on your own to wander before continuing to Bari, renowned for its Norman castle with a moat that was transformed into a street, magnificent historic churches like the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola, mouthwatering cuisine, and friendly locals.
Tour of Martina Franca/Locorotondo/ Alberobello w/ Lunch & Wine Pairing
A day trip from Monopoli brings you on a private tour of the famous Alberobello, a village renowned for its unique whitewashed structures that have cone-shaped roofs called trulli. Looking like something out of a storybook, they’re dotted across the village and throughout the surrounding area. You’ll learn more about them from your guide along with an insight into Alberobello’s past before heading to Martina Franca, with its labyrinth of alleyways, and baroque and whitewashed architecture. Explore the winemaking history and baroque buildings in the hilltop village of Locorotondo too. A delicious lunch with local products and a wine pairing is included as well.
Your last destination brings you to Matera in the Basilicata region just 50 miles from Monopoli. Enjoy scenic views while taking a private transfer to your hotel in this unique “cave city” that’s nestled among the cliffs. The Sassi area is renowned for its cave-like homes, restaurants, and hotels that were carved out of the limestone rock. It’s the world’s second-oldest continuously inhabited settlement, behind only Petra in Jordan. After checking in, take time to refresh with the rest of the day all ours. You might enjoy a walk, climbing the steep streets and stairways where you’ll discover an endless array of fascinating, ancient beauty.
Sassi di Matera Tour with Tuk Tuk
Today, you’ll get to explore the incredible Sassi de Matera with a knowledgeable guide. Travel far back into the past to learn just how the early settlers lived in one of the first settlements in Italy, dating back as far as 15,000 BC. For centuries, people lived here without the conveniences of modern life like running water. You’ll visit Casa Grotta to explore the cave church, animal stables, bedroom, and kitchen for a good glimpse of daily life. With the many steep steps, you’ll appreciate the conclusion of the tour: a 30-minute Tuk Tuk ride exploring more of Matera.
Time always seems to go by so quickly when you’re having a good time, but after exploring much of the country’s boot heel, your adventure soon comes to an end. If you’d like to stay in Matera longer or explore elsewhere, our travel experts will be happy to assist. Otherwise, your driver will provide a private transfer to the airport in Bari where it all began so you can begin your return travels home.
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