The Heel of Italy: The Undiscovered Regions of Puglia and Basilicata with Tina Dyer (May 15-25, 2019)

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The Heel of Italy: The Undiscovered Regions of Puglia and Basilicata with Tina Dyer (May 15-25, 2019)

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The Heel of Italy 2019 with Tina Dyer

Our tour will be to two regions which are Italy's best kept secrets where we will visit the UNESCO designated World Heritage towns of Alberobello and Matera.

In Alberobello, we will see the famous Trulli Houses, which are the distinctive round medieval stone dwellings of the region of Puglia.  Alberobello is in fact known as the capital of the trulli.  

In Matera, which was originally a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, we will see the caves where people still live today and the ancient churches hewn out of the rocks.  Matera is often used as a movie set.  It was here that Mel Gibson filmed The Passion of the Christ.

We will visit impressive Classical sites, such as the town of Lecce, also know as the "Venice of the south."  The golden age of Lecce was in the 16th century when it was embellished with Baroque and Renaissance churches.  Lecce was in Roman times the prosperous town of Lupiae and parts of the Roman amphitheatre can still be seen.  The buildings in the Piazza del Domo (Cathedral Square) make it one of the finest squares in southern Italy. 

We will also stay in Vieste on the Adriatic Coast with its wild landscape and pretty seaside town.  In Vieste, there will be time to relax, or to wander through the many alleyways, or simply to enjoy a leisurely lunch of succulent local seafood. This is one of the south's most attractive towns.

We will also visit the hilltop town of Monte Saint Angelo, which was built on a spur 2,634 feet high and is dominated by its massive castle overlooking the Gargana Promontory and the sea.  Here will the visit the 8th century Church of St. Michael, built inside an underground cave where the Crusaders came to pray to the Archangel Michael before embarking on the Crusades.  We will also have some time to wander the alleyways of the town and to visit the street market.  

Another great town that we will visit is the hill town of Ostuni, which is one of the absolute jewels of the south, with its whitewashed housed and cobbled streets.  Ostuni is a wonderful place to wander through the maze of back streets and to pass the time in the cafes of the town's lovely square, watching the world go by in peace and harmony.  

This trip will also include a sightseeing our of Bari.  Bari is a port city and the capital of Puglia.  The Old Town is the locale of the 11th century Basilica of St. Nicholas in the crypt of which is the tomb of St. Nicholas.  (Known to us as Father Christmas.)  In the port one can see fishermen mending their nets and artisans creating all kinds of wares.  

This tour is really a comprehensive introduction to the most undisturbed region of Italy, and includes fabulous sightseeing coupled with time to relax and to appreciate the beautiful surroundings.    Don't miss this very special ArawjoTours adventure, led by Tina Dyer.  Below is a brief summary of the itinerary and of the tour inclusions:

TOUR ITINERARY
Day 1 - Arrive in Bari.  Drive to hotel in Lecce, where we will stay for three nights.

Day 2 - Morning sightseeing of Lecce with local guide.  Afternoon free.  

Day 3 - Morning sightseeing of Ostuni with local guide.  Afternoon free.

Day 4 - Depart Lecce for Alberobello.  Walking tour of Alberobello with local guide.
             Continue to Matera, where we will spend the next two nights.

Day 5 - Morning sightseeing tour of Matera with local guide. Afternoon free.

Day 6 - Enjoy a full day free in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera.  During your free time you may want to visit the 13th century Cathedral, the Medieval art museum and/or the Modern Art Museum of Basilicata.  Another "must see" is the Casa Noha, dedicated to the lives of the former cave dwellers.  In the evening, enjoy a meal in a restaurant in one of the former cave dwellings.

Day 7 - Depart for Vieste, where we will stay for two nightsEn route to Vieste we will visit the Castel del Monte, the magnificent castle of King Frederick II built in the 13th century.

Day 8 - A free day in Vieste to enjoy this delightful seaside town with its ancient hilltop center of narrow streets and beautiful scenery.  You may also participate in an optional one hour boat trip to visit the caves along one of the most beautiful coastlines of Italy.

Day 9 - Depart for Bari.  Sightseeing tour of Old Bari with local guide. Overnight Bari.

Day 10 - Return to USA

TOUR FEATURES:  Round trip air transportation from JFK to Bari, Italy on Alitalia Airlines;  the services of a full time motor coach and driver throughout the tour;  the services of a full time tour manager (Tina Dyer) throughout the trip;  three nights in Lecce, three nights in Matera, two nights in Vieste and one night in Bari at first class hotels with breakfasts daily;  a comprehensive sightseeing program described on the attached tour description;  and a pre-departure orientation and dinner sponsored by ArawjoTours, LLC.  The tour will also be accompanied by an ArawjoTours, LLC Tour Representative (in additions to Tina Dyer).