Your holiday summary

Holiday type Escorted tours
Country Italy
Travel type Fly
Price range From £1049
Travel partner Riviera Travel
Duration 7 nights
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Apulia, Lecce and Vieste - Undiscovered Italy

The sun-kissed ‘heel’ of Italy cries out to be explored, colonised by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Spanish and Bourbons - all leaving incredible legacies. Today it’s a land of medieval and Baroque towns, cathedrals, countryside and coastlines of outstanding natural beauty, some superb food and wine plus atmospheric old villages.

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement of £149 per person. The price includes seven nights half-board accommodation (Due to late arrival dinner on day one dinner is not included, instead lunch will be provided on day two), all tours as mentioned, return flights to Bari from London Gatwick, airport departure taxes, guided tours of Lecce, Matera and Castel Del Monte and the services of a Riviera tour manager. Where hotels feature an outdoor swimming pool, this will be open summer months, weather permitting.

  • Return flights
  • Seven nights four star half-board accommodation
  • Guided tour of Lecce
  • Visit to Alberobello
  • Guided tour of Matera, the amazing cave village and UNESCO world heritage site
  • Visit to Bari’s old town
  • Visit to Castel del Monte
  • Stay in ancient Vieste’s old town
  • Drive along the Gargano coast
  • Tour the national park and Crusader church of Monte St Angelo
  • Escorted by our experienced tour manager
Day one

Flight to Bari. On arrival, a coach will take you to the four star hotel Hilton Garden inn in Lecce for two nights.

Day two

Lecce dates back to ancient Greek times. It flourished under the Romans entering a golden age during the 16th century. It was embellished with a host of Renaissance and Baroque churches, monuments and one of Europe’s highest bell towers. Lecce’s architecture is outstanding and during our guided tour you see the pinnacle of this remarkable creativity at the Sante Croce basilica. It boasts detailed interior decoration, multi-coloured, marble columns and intricate, carved stonework. Take the afternoon at your leisure. This evening you dine in a restaurant, serving local food in the true tradition of regional Italian cuisine.

Day three

This morning you have a guided tour of Bari, nestling on the Adriatic, a walled port before the Romans, capital of Byzantine Italy and once as important as Venice. There is a medieval fortress but Bari’s highlight is the Basilica di San Nicola, with a 900 year old vaulted crypt, final resting place of Saint Nicholas, known to us as Father Christmas. Bari is a jumble of passages where you see fishermen mending nets, ladies hand-making pasta sat in colourful doorways and artisans busy creating all kinds of wares.
This afternoon the view to the horizon is covered with olive trees studded with the occasional white washed village underlining Apulia’s historic connections with Greece and North Africa. Alberobello, is completely comprised of Trulli and we explore this fascinating townscape. You’ll stay two nights at the four star Hilton Garden inn, set in extensive landscaped gardens with panoramic views over the rolling countryside.

Day four

This morning you have a guided tour of Matera, one of the first inhabited places in Italy, originally a prehistoric troglodyte settlement. Even today people live in the same cave houses that their ancestors probably occupied thousands of years ago and often used as set for biblical films including Mel Gibson’s, ‘The Passion of Christ’.

Day five

This morning we leave Matera calling at Trani, an important port during medieval times with extensive trading networks and some lovely Romanesque architecture but today is a fishing port. This afternoon, you visit the Castel del Monte, a 13th century castle with views to the Adriatic before passing lagoons where salt has been harvested since Roman times, centuries old sleepy villages and Manfredonia, where the Crusaders embarked for the Holy Land. The countryside changes as we climb the deserted Gargano peninsular coastal road. The air is heavy with the Mediterranean aroma of pine and wild flowers whilst the seascapes are spectacular. You stay three nights in Vieste at the four-star Palace Hotel Vieste or Hotel Degli Aranci, situated about 250 metres from the beach next to the old town.

Day six

Vieste is a hilltop village of chaotic alleyways, cascading down a sun-bleached white promontory surrounded on three sides by the Azure Adriatic. Today is a free day to just relax, bury your head in a good book, perhaps enjoy a leisurely lunch of succulent local seafood or just wander through one of Italy’s most attractive coastal towns.

Day seven

This morning we visit Monte Sant Angelo, a hilltop village where the Archangel Michael appeared and in the eighth century an outstanding abbey was built. This was one of the most important of medieval pilgrimages visited by Popes with the Crusaders scratching messages of hope on the walls which can still be seen. The coast road follows a series of cliffs with a green carpet of aromatic pine and oak forest shielding a kaleidoscope of colourful wild flowers to your left and the deep blue sea on your right. This afternoon we enter the Foresta Umbra, a ‘Dark Forest’ and natural wonderland of ancient trees and one of Europe’s finest orchid habitats.

Day eight

You will be transferred to Bari airport for your return flight.
Lecce - Hilton Garden inn Lecce

Four star rated, this hotel is modern in style and just a short walk from the old town. The hotels roof top swimming pool benefits from panoramic views over Lecce. Featuring the Cube restaurant, bar and outside terrace. All rooms are full air conditioned, have tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar, safe, TV, telephone and en-suite bathrooms with a hairdryer.

Matera - Hilton Garden inn Matera

Four star rated, located just of outside Matera set in extensive landscape gardens, with an outdoor pool benefiting from panoramic views over the rolling countryside. This modern hotel is fully air conditioned with a restaurant, bar and terrace. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar, safe, TV, telephone and en-suite bathrooms with a hairdryer.

Vieste – either the Palace Hotel Vieste or Hotel Degli Aranci

Both four star rated and fully air-conditioned, situated about 250 metres from the beach. The Palace Hotel Vieste, located in the old town, is a tasteful conversion of a 15th Century noble’s house in to a classic hotel. With high ceilings and plaster coving throughout creating a wonderful atmosphere of yesteryear, coupled with the comforts of an elegant and modern hotel. All rooms have a TV, safe, mini bar, telephone and hairdryer. There is a bar and restaurant plus free use of the private beach with two sun beds and an umbrella per room. The Hotel Degli Aranci, situated next to the old town. It has been a long time project of its professional owners and whilst a modern hotel it generates a very homely feel due to the genuine warmth of its staff. The rooms are very nicely appointed, and well maintained with TV, safe, mini bar and telephone. There is a bar and restaurant and again free use of the private beach with two sun beds and an umbrella per room.

Please note: Where hotels feature an outdoor swimming pool, this will be open summer months, weather permitting.
1 result
Departure date Departing point Departure UK Arrive at Destination Nights Price  
27-Jun-2015 Stansted Airport 16:40 20:30 7 1049.00 please call
2 results

I would like to say how well it was arranged. The hotels were very good. Our guide, Stella, was most informative and the coach driver excellent.
May 2012
Mrs Horne

The 'Undiscovered Italy' holiday I have just been on was great - well organised, informative and fun. Mary Rose was the best local guide I have met.
Oct 2011
Ms D Brace
2 results