Day 1

Depart USA for Bari, Italy


Day 2

Polignano a Mare

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni

7 p.m.—Gather with your fellow travelers and enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel this evening.


Day 3

Polignano a Mare/Bari

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

8:30a.m. Enrichment: The History, Agriculture and Beauty of Apulia. Apulia has been tempting travelers since the ancient Greeks first glimpsed its rugged coastal beauty. Study the enduring influence of the region’s diverse cultural inheritance on architecture, food and languages, and learn how the rocky terrain produces thriving olive groves and vineyards.

9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Discovery: Beautiful Bari. The ancient seaport of Bari boasts narrow lanes and a pretty harbor with colorful boats bobbing on their moors. Visit the historic port, and wander the tight tangle of medieval streets in the city’s Old Town. Admire the carved Apulian-Romanesque portal of the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola, which houses the relics of Bari’s patron saint, St. Nicholas. Inside is a marble Episcopal throne and striking mosaic floor. Traverse the seafront promenade where exhilarating views are revealed with each turn. Stroll the renowned Murat quarter. This modern heart of the city is laid out in a rectangular grid-plan and was designed by Joachim Murat, Napoleon's brother-in-law. Sit down and savor a lunch of local fare.

2:45-4:30 p.m. Discovery: Walking Tour of Polignano a Mare. Discover why this vibrant fishing village, which rises from limestone cliffs molded by the Adriatic, makes the ideal base for exploration of the region. Pass through the Porta Vecchia gate to the stroll the cobbled streets of Old Town, fragrant with flowering plants and freshly baked goods. Along the way, peek inside the workshops of local artisans, and experience the warm hospitality of local residents.

6 p.m.—This evening, gather at the hotel and visit with your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception, followed by dinner.


Day 4

Polignano a Mare/ Alberobello/Locorotondo/Martina Franca

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni (Breakfast, Lunch)

9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. — Discovery: Martina Franca and Locorotondo Winery Visit. Visit Martina Franca, the largest town in the Valle d’Itria. Located in the heart of Apulia, Martina Franca was once a fully walled city. Today, many of the original towers and gates still exist though many were removed or renovated for roads. In the Old Town, walk under the Porto Santo Stefano — one of the town’s remaining Renaissance and baroque gates — into the Piazza Roma. See the 17th-century Palazzo Ducale and the honey-colored Basilica di San Martino, which features sculptures by Stafano da Putignano and Giuseppe Sammartino. Continue through the Valle d’Itria to the municipality of Locorotondo to visit I Pàstini. This family-owned vineyard grows white grape varietals such as Verdeca, Bianco d’Alessano and Fiano Minutolo. Enjoy a tour of the property and learn how the Carapelli family combines traditional wine-making techniques with more modern practices. See the property’s new cellar, ancient farmhouse and vineyards. Enjoy a tasting of wine made from Puglian white grapes and enjoy the peaceful ambience of this countryside retreat over a light lunch, before continuing to Alberobello.

Discovery: Trulli Fascinating Alberobello. Unusual dome-shaped buildings dot the Apulian countryside, but it is in the enchanting city of Alberobello where you find the largest concentration of the mysterious dwellings known as trulli. Found nowhere else in the world, these whitewashed limestone structures are pieced together without mortar, their pointed fieldstone roofs painted with primitive Christian and pagan symbols. More than 1,000 trulli cluster Alberobello’s cobblestone streets, which are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The origins of the trulli remain a mystery, but legends abound linking them to ancient Greece as well as theorizing their creation as a 15th-century tax dodge.

5:30 p.m. Enrichment: The History and Architecture of Lecce and Ostuni. Explore southern Italy’s rich architectural heritage, focusing on Lecce, “The Florence of the South,” and Ostuni, the “White City.” Learn about the local stone used in Lecce’s architectural development and how Ostuni’s practice of uniformly whitewashing their buildings can be traced back to the plague of the 17th century.


Day 5

Polignano a Mare/ Lecce/Ostuni

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni (Breakfast, Dinner)

8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Discovery: Barocco Leccese and The White Town of Ostuni. Witness Lecce’s florid baroque architecture carved from honey-colored stone by 17th-century architects. More fanciful than typical baroque, the voluptuous caryatids, whimsical garlands, fruit, crests and lyrical scrolls comprising Lecce baroque are a treat for the eyes. Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce and admire the elaborate façade, rose window and intricately carved capitals. Walk to the center of the Piazza Sant’ Oronzo to see the Roman Column crowned with a bronze statue of St. Oronzo, the first bishop of Lecce appointed by St. Paul in A.D. 57. Next to the column, the shallow rows of seats within the elliptical Roman amphitheater date from Emperor Hadrian’s era and once held 20,000 spectators.

Free Time: Enjoy leisure time in Lecce. Relax in the Piazza Duomo, or step into one of Lecce’s many shops, restaurants and boutiques.

Continue to Ostuni where gleaming, whitewashed buildings cascade over the side of its hilltop perch. Get lost in the labyrinthine passages of the Old Town, visit the magnificent cathedral, and walk atop the ancient city walls for wonderful vistas of olive groves and the sea.

Back in Polignano a Mare this evening, gather for dinner at a local restaurant. Pulgian cuisine is a tasty medley of Mediterranean flavors, where menus are crafted with homegrown flavors and family heirloom recipes. Meals may be based around homemade orecchiette, focaccia and crusty breads, sheep cheeses, and specialties made from freshly caught fish and locally sourced meat. Seasonal vegetables, such as fava beans, artichokes, tomatoes, beans, peppers, onions and courgettes, enhance the simple dishes.


Day 6

Polignano a Mare/Matera

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni (Breakfast, Lunch)

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Discovery: Matera — The 2019 European Capital of Culture. Visit the Sassi districts of Matera, a 2019 European Capital of Culture, and witness its dramatic saga of rebirth. Initially gouged out by troglodytic nomads, these rock-hewn cave dwellings were carved from limestone tufa, and some showcase intricate, ornate façades. Honeycombed throughout the Sassi are more than 100 rock churches decorated with delicate frescoes carved between the 8th-13th centuries by monks seeking refuge from the Byzantine Empire. The caves provided homes to the people of Matera until the 1950s, when the population was rehoused. By the 1980s, people began returning and the Sassi became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.  Savor southern Italian cuisine during lunch in Matera.

Free Time: Enjoy some free time in Matera to make your own discoveries in this captivating city.  Options include the museum with art of Carlo Levi, the Mother Church of Purgatory, and more.

5:30 p.m. Lecture: Cinema and the History of the South.

Join Northwestern University Prof. Domietta Torlasco for an informative presentation


Day 7

Polignano a Mare/ Trani/Biscegli

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni (Breakfast, Lunch)

8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Discovery: Trani. Explore the historic seaport of Trani. Known for its Moscato di Trani wine and savory figs, this fishing town is home to a 13th-century fort and a cathedral nestled in the harbor of the Adriatic. The village’s white limestone cathedral was dedicated to Saint Nicolas the Pilgrim. Take note of the distinguishing Norman houses, a typically English Romanesque style of architecture. Medieval Trani also had one of the largest Jewish populations in southern Italy and was a Knight’s Templar site.  We will visit the only active synagogue in Puglia and learn about its Jewish community.

Enrichment: Meet the People and Olive Mill Outing. Visit a family-run olive mill in Bisceglie for a guided tour, and learn about the fascinating history and cultivation process of olives. Enjoy the smooth, sweet smells and buttery flavors of these regional specialties. Following lunch at the olive mill, gather with some employees or owners of the mill for an open-forum discussion about their life in Italy.

5:30 p.m. Enrichment: We will hear a lecture on Contemporary Italy. In 2011, Italy celebrated the 150th anniversary of its unification as a single state. Compare the rich cultural heritage and slow-paced lifestyle of southern Apulia with its northern neighbors.


Day 8

Polignano a Mare

Hotel Covo dei Saraceni (Breakfast, Dinner)

Free time: Your final day in Italy is free to spend at leisure. Soak up the final rays of Apulia sunshine, visit your favorite café or restaurant or wander the narrow alleys in search of that perfect souvenir.  Options include a boat tour, the caverns, the nearby port town of Monopoli, or relaxing at your hotel.

6 p.m. Tonight, share your favorite experiences with your fellow travelers as you gather for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.


Day 9

Return to USA