Puglia

1 to 8 October 2018

Puglia is one of the most interesting regions in Italy, and its remote position in the ‘heel’ has helped to preserve its secrets.  Ruined Saracen towers line the coast – remains of an early-warning system against sixteenth-century marauding pirates, and the large, local farmhouses used to hide women, animals and harvested crops behind strong fortifications. This was part of Magna Grecia and the great secular olive trees dominate the landscape, while the sea is ever-present.

The fertile land and accessible coast line attracted foreign invasions and Puglia over the centuries was ruled by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Spanish. Each left their traces in the buildings and fortifications, and today the local people can be seen as descendants of this rich history.

This year we will be based in Salento in southern Puglia. We will stay in Nardo to enjoy the lovely Baroque buildings, preserved from tourist development. We will spend time in near-by Lecce, including a food tour in the local shops and market, and visit various small towns to cook and eat. We will explore historical Otranto with its picturesque seafront Promenade, and enjoy the sea and its bounty at Gallipoli. We will visit undiscovered Oria, and shop for pottery and lovely table ware in Grottaglie.

The price of 2750 euros includes local private transport, accommodation and breakfast, one main meal a day, 2 cooking lessons, wine tasting, olive oil tasting and local experts. Guests should fly in to Brindisi.