In the morning we explore the beautiful countryside walking through ancient olive groves and vineyards overlooking the Adriatic coast. We will have a lunch in a typical “Masseria”, a charming renovated farmhouse. In the afternoon we have free time to discover the white city of Ostuni, famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. Overnight in Ostuni. (9km, approx. 4hrs walking)
Morning walk from Ostuni to the coast, where we have time to relax on a beach or swim in the mild waters of the Adriatic. After lunch, a short transfer takes us to Alberobello, home to 1500 Trulli (conical roofed houses) that have made its historical centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The origin of these funny-looking stone dwellings is obscure. However, local farmers claim they were originally built in an effort to evade taxes. When the tax inspectors were in the area, the dry stone walls could easily be dismantled by simply removing the key stone above the door and quickly rebuilt after the inspection. This area is also famous for its lovely wine and we have the opportunity to visit one of the wineries, seeing the production process and even getting to taste some of the end result. Overnight in Alberobello. (7km, approx. 4hrs walking)
Our destination today is Locorotondo. Sitting on the top of a hill, it is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and is reknown for its white wine and Cantina Sociale, the local winery. Following narrow country lanes, we walk over the rolling hills of the idyllic Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli. We then make our way back to Alberobello by train. Overnight in Alberobello. (18km, approx. 6hrs walking)
Today is free to rest or explore Alberobello. Alternatively, you could visit the lovely town of Martina Franca (only a 20-minute train ride away), the nearby Castellana Caves, or take a trip to the beautiful Baroque town of Lecce, the capital of the Salentinian Peninsula, home to over 40 churches, countless palaces, as well as a Roman ampitheatre and theatre. Lecce is a 2-hour train journey away from Alberobello. Or finally, for those who are looking for something a bit different, your leader can advise on cooking classes in Alberobello.
We transfer by private minibus to the hilltop village of Montescaglioso, developed around the Benedictine Abbey of San Michele and offering fantastic views over the Matera Gravina, a 200m-deep canyon. From Montescaglioso we make our way to Matera. Following the canyon rim trail, we explore rock churches, abandoned Neolithic villages and caves, where hawks, buzzards and kites nest. Overnight in Matera. (13km, approx. 4hrs 30min walking)
Today we explore Matera’s Rock Churches Park, a vast protected area home to over 150 rupestrian churches dating back to the VIII century, once inhabited by hermits and adorned with coloured Byzantine frescoes. In the afternoon we enjoy a guided visit of Matera’s Sassi district, rock-hewn houses inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. The guided visit is followed by a local produce tasting. Overnight in Matera. (8km, approx. 3hrs walking)