Apulia & the Heel of Italy

Ancient Town of Matera
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Shearings

Apulia is home incredible natural wonders from the spectacular underground caves to azure blue seascapes of the Adriatic, as well as unique architecture such as the traditional trulli houses in Alberobello and the impressive octagonal Castle del Monte. Delightful Apulia is a fantastic region in Italy, which is known for being made up of incredibly fertile land. This makes it a foodie’s paradise, as the region is famous for its production of olive oil, artichokes, tomatoes and mushrooms, and there are many popular regional dishes to enjoy as well. Aside from the culinary delights we’ll be able to look forward to, the main draw for this holiday will be the amazing destinations that we’ll head to on our excursions In Alberobello, we’ll get to explore the traditional trulli houses that can be found there, as well as the impressive underground Caves of Castellana which are nearby. We’ll also visit the historic fishing port of Trani and the unique Castel del Monte with its unusual shape, as well as the town of Otranto with its clear blue seas.


Hotel Villa Rosa (primary)

A pleasant walk from the town's historic centre, the Villa Rosa offers modern facilities including both indoor and outdoor pool.


Full Day: Caves of Castellana and Alberobello (Included)

We’ll get to explore Alberobello and see the sights at leisure. There are many things to do in Alberobello, including visiting the famous trulli that the town is known for. These traditional houses are built with conical roofs and were used for storing supplies. Today, they’re incredibly popular tourist attractions and we’ll find them dotted about the town. While in Alberobello, we’ll also enjoy a delicious lunch, which will allow us to sample some of the local cuisine. We’ll also visit the Caves of Castellana, a unique underground network of caves. Walking through the caves along the 3km path and to depths of more than 60 metres, we’ll explore this natural wonder, taking in the amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Remember to bring a jumper: even though Apulia has a warm climate, underground can be a bit chillier!

Full Day: Matera and Sassi Winery

Matera, with its mesmerising views over the surrounding canyon and its ancient architecture, is an astonishing city with a fascinating history. One of the main attractions here is the old town, where we’ll find the UNESCO-qualified Sassi di Matera buildings, which were created by the Sassi people who once lived in Matera. Their dwellings can still be toured today and feature cave-like houses that have been carved out of the rockfaces. The Sassi streets lead over the tops of other houses and have a unique, winding quality to them. While we’re in Matera, we’ll get to wander through the labyrinth of alleys and streets where history is etched into the cave dwellings, and admire the picturesque landscape of the Murgia plateau that surrounds the ancient cave city. This city is famous for its Sassi buildings, which can be seen from almost every location and which are sure to stay in your memory forever. We’ll also spend time exploring the old town’s many shops and boutiques, where we can buy souvenirs or even treat loved ones at home to something special. Following our time in Matera exploring the Sassi, we’ll travel to a nearby winery to enjoy a delicious light lunch.

Full Day: Otranto & Lecce (Included)

With the Adriatic as a stunning backdrop, Otranto makes for a gorgeous excursion during our holiday to Apulia. This historic port town is known for its breath-taking sea views, while it also offers up many attractions that showcase the location’s history and local culture. These include the fantastic Cathedral of Otranto, which features stunning mosaic floors that were created in medieval times. They’ve been beautifully preserved and are unique in their use of Christian and pre-Christian themes, with references to Greek mythology alongside depictions of Adam and Eve. After our time in Otranto, we’ll head to Lecce for a guided tour. This city is filled with remarkable attractions, many of which relate to the city’s history, and we’ll be able to find out all about these sights when we enjoy our tour. We then journey to Santa Maria di Leuca, the furthest point of the heel of Italy.

Full Day: Trani & Castel del Monte (Included)

We visit the historic fishing port of Trani, on the Adriatic coast, which is famous for its beautiful ceramics and pottery, before continuing on to Castel del Monte. This unusual octagonal castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and peculiarly no one is quite sure why it was built! Serving no defensive purpose and not located in a strategic position, it seems to have been built purely for its looks, and its unusual geometric design is certainly worth seeing!

  • Italy
Tour Types
  • 50 plus
  • Cultural
  • History
  • Wildlife
  • Scenic
  • Seaside
  • Walking
  • UK Coach Departures
  • Foodie
  • Seniors

Day One: UK to France Leaving the UK from our local joining points, we will journey across to France for our first overnight stay, enjoying a meal en route. (D)

Day Two: France to Milan area We’ll then continue on to reach our overnight hotel in the Milan area in time for dinner, before our overnight stay. (B,D)

Day Three: Milan to Pescara In the morning, we’ll continue our travel and will reach Pescara later in the day, where we’ll settle in to our hotel for the night. (B,D)

Day Four: Pescara to Martina Franca We’ll travel to Martina Franca, our base for the next six nights. The town, which is known for its stunning Old City, features ancient stone walls and city gates in a baroque style. These lead to the town’s winding streets and bustling piazzas, surrounded by old buildings with ornate architecture. We’ll be based at the Hotel Villa Rosa and will enjoy a welcome drink upon arrival. (B,D)

Day Five: Caves of Castellana & Alberobello This morning we’ll see a real gem of Apulia with a visit to Alberobello, known for its traditional houses. The famous trulli houses are built with conical roofs and were used for storing supplies. Today, they’re incredibly popular tourist attractions and we’ll find them dotted about the town. We then continue to the Caves of Castellana. The caves began to form about 90 million years ago and have awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites: a true wonder of nature! (B,L,D)

Day Six: Trani & Castel del Monte Today we visit Trani, a historic fishing port on the Adriatic coast. We continue to Castel del Monte, a peculiar octagonal castle which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Serving no defensive purpose and not located in a strategic location, no one is quite sure why this castle was built, but its unusual geometric design is certainly worth seeing! (B,D)

Day Seven: Martina Franca We’ll be able to opt into a lovely trip to Matera today, followed by a visit to a winery and a delicious lunch. Matera is an incredibly historic city and is home to the intriguing Sassi houses, which were carved into the surrounding rock faces and which we’ll be able to tour on our optional visit. (B,D)

Day Eight: Lecce, Otranto & Santa Maria di Leuca We spend today exploring the nearby town of Otranto, which is known for its exquisite sea views, as well as the city of Lecce, where we’ll find beautiful baroque architecture. We then continue to Santa Maria di Leuca, the furthest point of the heel of Italy. (B,D)

Day Nine: Martina Franca Enjoy the town of Martina Franca and pick up a final souvenir or why not join our optional excursion to the charming towns of Taranto and Grottaglie? Tonight we’ll enjoy a farewell gala dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day Ten: Martina Franca to Tuscany As we begin to make our way home, we’ll continue north to reach Tuscany for an overnight stay. (B,D)

Day Eleven: Tuscany to Switzerland Continuing north we cross into Switzerland for our overnight stay in a comfortable hotel with dinner. (B,D)

Day Twelve: Switzerland to France We’ll continue our journey home today, arriving in France for our overnight stay. (B,D)

Day Thirteen: France to UK We’ll journey back to the UK by travelling via Calais. (B)

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability

Touring with Shearings

With over 114 years experience, Shearings is the largest escorted tour operator with over 800 pick-up points across the UK. They offer 170 destinations to suit diverse tastes and budgets.

What differentiates Shearings is the scope and diversity of their holidays, which cater to diverse tastes and budgets. They offer an unrivalled range of expertly planned itineraries throughout the year, with everything from 2-day weekend breaks to 17-day escorted tours.

Their knowledgeable and friendly teams look after every aspect of your journey from start to finish. The drivers, tour managers and hotel staff are always on-hand to take care of you and ensure you get the very best from your holiday.

Shearings offer a superb selection of amazing holidays by air and rail, as well as an extraordinary range of beautiful river cruises, sailing along some of Europe’s most enchanting waterways. You will find an assortment of inspiring itineraries to choose from, including Festival & Events breaks, Horticultural & Garden tours, BattlefieldsTours, and premium Grand Tourer holidays.

Shearings also caters for the single travellers, with its award-winning Your Time breaks, designed exclusively with the independent traveller in mind.


tour details

This tour is operated by Shearings

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