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Join Massimo and a small, friendly group of Italian food and wine lovers as they travel to Massimo's home region of Puglia and visit the rural town of Bitritto where he grew up, and where his mother still lives today. Puglia is world-renowned for its wine and olive oil, and its produce and seafood are second to none. Its rich culture, stunning architecture, sandy beaches, and limestone cliffs provide the perfect backdrop for this incredible culinary experience.
Agriturismo Masseria Aprile is located in the lovely Itria Valley at the foot of the hill town Locorotondo. From this very special setting, you can get an enchanting view of the town. The masseria is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the peaceful valley famous for its skillfully cultivated vineyards which in fact produce a very well know white wine: the Locorotondo Doc.
Masseria Aprile is one of the most prestigious farms in the Locorotondo area. It is far from traffic and noise and the chaos of city life, and is the ideal place to spend a vacation in complete peace. Guests are surrounded by the fresh smells of country life and wonderful natural beauty. The masseria is rich in history because everything has been preserved by the natural charm of time.
On the day of your arrival, you will meet the group at the local airport and transfer to Masseria Aprile. In the evening, you will discover Martina Franca’s old town and have the chance to chat with your host, Massimo, as you get to know each other over dinner at 20:00 at the local pizzeria in Martina Franca.
Meal plan: lunch.
Today, you will visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Alberobello, famous for its more than 1,500 trulli located right in the city center. You will have a wine tasting at Albea winery followed by a late seafood lunch in Polignano a Mare, then take a walk through the old town where you will find some amazing gelato - it's a must! This evening, make a stop for a light dinner or a snack in the picturesque hilltop town of Locorotondo before heading back to the Masseria.
Meal plan: lunch.
On this day, you will visit the nearby town of Martina Franca for a local cooking class focused on some of Puglia's main dishes. In the evening, you will have dinner at the Bina Restaurant in the town of Locorotondo.
Meal plan: lunch and dinner.
In the morning, you will head to the southernmost part of Puglia to visit the coastal town of Otranto. There, you will check out the sights before heading to Torre dell'Orso for lunch, a typical Salento seafood spaghetti cooked in a big pot. Afterwards, you can enjoy a siesta as you head for a two-hour visit of Lecce, a jewel of Pugliese Baroque architecture and one of the region’s most important cultural centers. After a long day,you will make your way back to the masseria, where you will have the rest of the evening to relax and do as you wish.
Meal plan: lunch.
The highlight of the day will be a "la famiglia" lunch with Massimo's family. His mother, Francesca, and aunt, Anna, will prepare a nice southern Italian style lunch, including his mom's famous homemade orecchiette pasta. After this, you will visit Massimo's hometown of Bitritto; it’s not a tourist destination, but Massimo’s stories will make the place come alive. His heart is still there! After Bitritto, you will head back to the masseria. You probably won’t be hungry for the rest of the day, but if you request in advance, the masseria will provide cheese, salami and focaccia for us (they do not serve full dinners).
Meal plan: lunch.
During the day, you will visit the Caseificio Pioggia in Martina Franca, where you will be able to see how mozzarella is made. Afterwards, you may enjoy an olive oil tasting at Acropolis Frantoio olive mill. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Martina Franca, before spending the rest of the day relaxing at the Masseria. In the evening, there will be a special dinner at the Masseria, a panzerottata, which is a typical Puglia calzone.
Meal plan: dinner.
On the seventh day, you will visit another UNESCO world heritage site, Matera, famous for the old houses dug into the rock, otherwise known as "sassi di Matera". You will stop for lunch at a local Salumeria, after which you will make your way back to the Masseria for one last dinner together with the group at the local Braceria. Spend a lazy day relaxing at the farmhouse or perhaps walk into the village (only 2 kilometers away). This is your last chance to get oil, spices or anything else you’ve had your eye on, so make sure you don’t go away disappointed.
Meal plan: lunch.
It’s hard to believe that today is the last day! Now you’ve had a chance to see Puglia through the eyes of an Italian chef, enjoy a home-cooked meal with his mother, and witness some of the cultural and culinary treasures this region has to offer. You’ve sampled some of the best meats, breads, cheeses, oils, and wines in the world - and you may even have picked up some Italian phrases! But the best part of all is that you can go back home and relive some of these incredible memories through your own cooking.
This retreat will take place in Puglia region, Italy. Bordering the Adriatic Sea, the southern Puglia region, which makes up the high heel of the “boot” of Italy, boasts rich culture, exceptional wine and a beautiful coastline. Its sun-bleached landscape of limestone cliffs and white sandy beaches provides the perfect backdrop for exceptional culinary adventures, while the mostly flat farming region produces world renowned wine, flavorful olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and seafood.
This trip will focus on offering you a wide array of dishes from the popular culinary palette of Puglia. Throughout your trip, you will have at least one included meal a day, offering a different style and taste with each sitting. On the first day, you will experience the local pizza at a pizzeria in Martina Franca. The second day will present you with a traditional seafood lunch in Polignano a Mare. On the third day, meals will revolve around traditional recipes that you will prepare during the course of your cooking lesson.
The next day will include a lunch in Torre dell'Orso, which means typical Salento seafood spaghetti cooked in a big pot. The fifth day will offer a rich, authentic Italian experience, as you will have lunch in a family setting, sampling some of the local homemade orecchiette pasta. The last meal will be a panzerottata, which is a typical Puglia calzone. Of course, the other meals are free, so that you may enjoy and experiment at your own leisure, sampling any of the many delicious dishes that catch will catch your eye.
The nearest airports are Brindisi - Salento Airport (BDS) and Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI). Transfer can be arranged from both of these places and is included.