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One of southern Italy's best-kept secrets in Puglia are sea breezes, lovely beaches, sensationally fresh and varied seafood, robust pasta, and bread. They make so much olive oil and good wine here that everyone is good-looking and happy. This is a sunny land of sweet people, unbelievable seafood, heady wines, and very old olive groves. You'll spend half the week in the Baroque city of Lecce and the other half in a gorgeous Masseria in the countryside to learn about burrata, orecchiette, and semolina bread. You don't know how much you miss Puglia until you leave it then you long to return to their gentle ways and honest food.
In Lecce, you will be staying at Santa Chiara Lecce. In Pezze di Greco, you will be staying at Masseria Montenapoleone.
Agriturismo Montenapoleone looks forward to welcoming you. This fortified Masseria dates back to the 1600s and has been beautifully renovated with elegant and original rooms and suites, surrounded by nature, and with views of the sea. This charming building allows you to really sample life in southern Italy.
Even a short visit will give a wonderful feel for Masseria Montenapoleone, while you breathe alongside the plants, marvel at the Masseria’s detail, and completely free your mind. Welcome to this natural haven!
The Santa Chiara Suite Hotel is Lecce’s newest addition in luxury hotels, located in the heart of the historical center near Piazza S. Oronzo and the Roman amphitheater. The 21 elegant suites are luxuriously furnished offering the very best in modern Italian design and comforts. An elegant roof garden offers an awesome view soaking up the atmosphere of the bustling streets below.
All the hotel’s suites offer the very best in modern comfort and design and are equipped with a bathroom with shower, hydro massage and Turkish bath, beauty mirror, telephone, a fully interactive 32-inch flat-screen LCD TV system, air conditioning, safe, wi-fi and high-speed internet connectivity. The hotel offers its own restaurant, bar, meeting room, and private carport.
The hotel also offers room service and the staff is at your disposal to make your stay at the Santa Chiara Suite Hotel most memorable. The hotel is located nearby the extraordinary Santa Chiara Church. It also allows easy access to many Lecce landmarks like the beautiful S. Oronzo’s Square, the magnificent Roman amphitheater, Santa Croce’s Basilica with its rose window, which is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Lecce, and finally the spectacular and famous Duomo’s Square.
The mission has always been to provide really authentic gastronomic and cultural experiences. You'll travel initially to lose yourselves and next to find yourselves because travel cracks you open and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up.
Behind every person and every household is a story of local traditions and daily life in villages and towns. Traditional food is about ancestral memories and looking back and holding on to old cultures, it is profoundly about identity. Come and partake in the honesty, grace, generosity, and fun that is a Peta Mathias tour. Suitable for fit and healthy gastronomic adventurers!
Please note that this schedule may be subject to minor changes and amendments.
Buongiorno and welcome to your Italian gastronomic tour in Puglia. To accommodate guests' varied arrival plans, they offer a complimentary pickup service at Brindisi Airport (served by British Airways, Alitalia, Ryanair, and Easy-jet) at approximately 4 p.m. (exact time to be confirmed) on Sunday, August 28.
Alternatively, they can arrange for you to be met at a time convenient to you at your own expense, or you can make your own way to Lecce and the lovely 4-star Santa Chiara Hotel which is perfectly located in the historic center of this magnificent city. At 7 p.m., you will meet in the hotel bar and head out to a wonderful bar nearby for an apertivo and a general introduction to your week.
Around 8:30 p.m., you will carry on to dinner, a five-minute walk to the very refined "Tre Rane Restaurant". After dinner, stroll through the old town, maybe stopping for gelato in one of the town's renowned gelateria. It may be quite late, so a word of warning: Italians, especially southern Italians, do things very late. Really the only way to make the most of this wonderful area is to go with the locals, so expect late nights, slow mornings, and lazy afternoons.
Breakfast is from 7 a.m. on the rooftop. At 10 a.m., meet in the lobby for a cultural tour of Lecce with the charming Sabrina. Lecce is famous for its astonishing Baroque architecture which has earned it the nickname the Firenze of the South. The walking tour will last about two and a half hours and take in many of the city’s most important and interesting places.
Lunch, which they are afraid has to remain a surprise, a very worthwhile one, so they are sure you won't mind a little mystery, is followed by a siesta (simply nothing happens in the afternoons here!) At 5 p.m., you will meet up with local chef, Gianna Greco, to visit the food market the Mercato Porta Rudiae, to buy food for her evening cooking class, dinner, and wine tasting.
This morning at 10 a.m., will meet in the lobby for a shopping tour and retail therapy. There is no end to possibilities, whether picking up one of the traditional Carta Pesta or paper mâché items, or something for the home at the wickedly dangerous Society store, or a chic shirt and shoes for the men.
Meet in the hotel lobby at 1 p.m. to go to La Cucina, a wonderful unpretentious restaurant specializing in an updated version of traditional Puglian dishes. Think fava bean purée with chicory, burnt wheat pasta with prawns, and salted pistachio semifreddo. This is just down the road from the hotel, followed by the obligatory siesta.
At 5:15 p.m., meet in the hotel foyer and walk over to Gambero Rosso restaurant to join your friend Angelo and his Mama Ada in the kitchen for a short cooking presentation followed by an outrageous feast from the sea.
After breakfast this morning, say goodbye to Lecce and head north to your next destination, the Masseria (farmhouse) Montenapoleone near Pezze di Greco in the countryside. Leave around 10 a.m. to give time to stop for a wine tasting and lunch at the very progressive and delicious Li Veli Winery.
After lunch, stop at Brancati, one of the oldest olive oil-producing groves in the world. Arrive at your accommodation, Masseria Montenapoleone in the late afternoon and settle in before having your 7 p.m. apertivo by the pool, followed by dinner at the Masseria.
At 10 a.m., have a walking tour of the gardens with Giuiano of the Masseria family, followed by a cooking class. This morning's class is given over to those two legendary Italian phenomena: pasta and mama's cooking. Giuliano of the Masseria will teach you four types of pasta, especially the famous orecchiette and you will enjoy both for lunch as well.
Siesta and flopping by the pool after and at 4:30 p.m., drive for about 30 minutes to visit Itria Bonta farm to see mozzarella making, then on to the famous town of Alberobello down the road, to wander around for a few hours and see the ancient Trulli houses. Then a 25-minute drive to dinner at 7:30 p.m. This evening, dine at one of Cisternino's famous "Fornelli Pronti" or Butcher's Shops; it’s a 15-minute drive home.
At 9 a.m., head off to the extraordinary town of Matera (an hour and a half drive), once a troglodyte settlement and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will have a wander around and lunch at Latteria Rizzi deli. On returning to the Masseria at about 5 p.m., there will be a free evening as you figure you have, at this stage, probably eaten enough for the next year.
However, Giuliano has invited you to join him for a drink and finger food in the vineyard at 6:30 p.m. to watch the sun go down, listen to the bugs singing and grapes bursting, optional but how could you say no.
At 9:30 a.m., leave for your sail of the high seas in a luxury yacht; a 25-minute drive to get there. Bring your swimsuits. You will sail around the harbor from Monopoli to Polignano e Mare, arriving around 1 p.m. Lunch is at the gorgeous Chichibio seafood restaurant in Polignano. In the afternoon, return to Masseria and at 6:30 p.m., get seriously dressed up for your last night bash at the Masseria.
It will start with a cooking class from the guest chef, Tiziano Mita, and go on with dinner, music, dancing, and other understated carrying on.
After breakfast and final farewells, have a complimentary transfer back to Brindisi Airport, departing approximately at 9 a.m. and arriving by 10 a.m.
Please note that for this tour, you must be physically fit and healthy with no mobility issues; there is a lot of walking involved.
Peta Mathias MNZM is a respected and prolific New Zealand chef, author, entertainer, and broadcaster, who writes about food and travel and hosts gastronomic tours in Vietnam, Morocco, the South of France, Spain, Italy, and India.
This holiday will take place in Puglia, Italy. Welcome to perfect Puglia in Southern Italy, where you'll discover this agricultural and cultural secret paradise.
During this holiday, all cooking classes, all meals, and wine with meals are included.
Brindisi – Salento Airport
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