Taste of Puglia

Taste your way through Italy’s Puglia Region

May 20 – 31, 2017

Registration for 2018 starting soon!

Experience a 12-day delectable and exclusive Italian food culture experience

Limited to 15 Lucky Travellers!

We love Italy and travel there every spring at the end of our school year. Puglia is the top travel region for Italian nationals, and was recently named one of the top new travel destinations in Italy for international travellers! This will be Natalina’s fifth visit to the region.

Our Taste of Puglia tour is not your typical cookie cutter excursion – but rather an “off the beaten path” immersion in Southern Italian food & wine culture. This is an exclusive tour, available to just 15 people, and is like travelling with friends.

The tour includes most meals, private touring and the most complete Taste of Puglia! Note that moderate walking ability is required, up to 2 hours at a time.

Read on for all of the details and a full itinerary of this extraordinary tour.

"A Taste of Puglia - a trip of a lifetime!"

"What an experience to travel with Natalina Campagnolo who knows the language, the food, the sights and the people of this region. A wonderfully organized and planned trip, from watching the ladies in Bari making orecchiette, sleeping in a cave in Matera, Silvia – our fabulous local guide, the lunch and wines at Li Veli, the wonderful typical lunch at Alle due cort in Lecce to the icing on the cake - 3 days of learning, cooking, eating, and drinking great wine at the [local cooking school].

"If you aren't Italian but want to be... this is the trip for you!"

-Liz & Wayne H., 2015 Tour Participants

Tour Details

This tour is provided in conjunction with Maxima Tours Ltd.

Tico Licence: #50018105, #50021759 (wholesale).

This 12-day/10-night tour includes:

  • Airport transfers in Italy
  • All accommodations in 3 & 4 star hotels, including a unique converted Monastery, a quaint Trulli Hotel and a recently renovated Palazzo.
  • Most meals, including wine (11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 4 dinners)
  • All taxes, meal gratuities and gratuities for local guides and coach driver
  • All guided tours with a local, English-speaking guide
  • Your host for the duration of the tour is Natalina Bombino Campagnolo, accomplished Italian-Canadian cooking instructor and owner of La Cucina di Natalina Italian Cooking School, who is fluent in Italian and has travelled to this region many times.

Not included:

  • Transfers to and Return International Air from your main departure airport in North America (Note: Maxima Tours will work with you to coordinate the best flight schedule at the best possible rate)
  • Optional medical or cancellation insurance
  • Meals and attractions not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for hotel staff


Price per person

  • Single accommodation (one person/room): $4,899
  • Double accommodation (two people/room): $4,389
  • Triple accommodation (three people/room): $4,299

Use your air miles, book your own flight, or meet us in Bari (EU residents are welcome; free shuttle to the hotel in Bari from Bari Palese Airport.)


The first 10 reserved places will be discounted $100 each!

Payment & Refund Dates

A deposit of $1,500 CAD is required to secure your place on the tour.

The deposit is fully refundable up until February 21, 2017, at which time full payment is due.

Ready to experience Italy like a local?

To book your spot today, contact Natalina’s trusted travel team:

MAXIMA Tours Ltd.

For specific inquiries:

Natalina Bombino Campagnolo

Trip Itinerary

B = Breakfast  L = Lunch  D = Dinner

Day 1 – Saturday, May 20, 2017

Depart from your home airport for your overnight flight to Italy.

Day 2 – Sunday, May 21, 2017

Arrive in Bari, Puglia (D).

Meet the hotel transfer at Bari Palese Airport and be transported 10 minutes away to our 4-star hotel, which is located in the quaint seaside town of Giovinazzo. Natalina will be at the airport to greet you and coordinate your included transfer to our host hotel. Check in and then take the time to enjoy the amenities of this restored Monastery or visit the charming City Centre. Giovinazzo is a small picturesque fishing village on the Adriatic Sea that boasts a 17th Century Castle and a 12 – 13th Century Romanesque cathedral. We will meet for an introductory group dinner later in the day.

Accommodations: Giovinazzo, for 3 nights

Day 3 – Monday, May 22, 2017

Bari touring with local guide – Castel del Monte – Burrata Cheese (B,L,D)

Our first adventure will bring us to Castel del Monte (Castle on the Mountain) for a tour. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a 13th Century citadel and castle located in Andria. When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the extreme precision of the layout and perfect shape. Taking in the best of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and Gothic.

Perhaps just as important with a visit to Andria – is the fact that this town is the capital of Burrata cheese. What is Burrata cheese?  Well it’s a hybrid of mozzarella and cream in simple terms – a little piece of heaven. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it a soft texture. And it’s delicious! We will be visiting a family run farm to see how this cheese is made and also enjoy a light lunch here.

This afternoon we will enjoy a walking tour of the historic centre of Bari – Puglia’s largest city.. Bari, the south’s second largest city, has been compared to Bologna in the north of Italy –  with its more hip and urban feel due to the large student population. But Bari is much more than that. Discover the slower-paced Old Town and its Basilica which houses the bones of St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) and also the 12th Century Norman Castle. A group dinner will be enjoyed in Bari. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cooking experience in Giovinazzo (B,L.D)

Today is all about the cooking adventure in Giovinazzo. After breakfast we’ll depart our accommodations with local guide and cooking instructor to arrive at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II for a walking tour of the historical centre. Next we will visit a market to learn about and shop for local ingredients that we will be using in our cooking. Anna, our cooking school instructor, will guide us through the preparation of our typical Pugliese Pranzo – which is a multi course lunch including appetizer, main course with fresh fish and dessert. Oh and we cannot of course forget to include tastings of wines from this region.  After our cooking experience, we’ll depart with recipes in hand for our next adventure.

Late afternoon, we’ll drive a short distance to Trani for some sightseeing and dinner..  Trani, known as the “Pearl of Puglia”, is a historic fishing and truly a lovely place to explore, wander or relax. The town is reminiscent of 1950s films set in old-fashioned seaside Italy. Enjoy dinner with the group here before we depart for our hotel.

Day 5 – Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Check out – Altamura Bread making experience – Matera sightseeing (B,L)

Today after breakfast, we’ll check out of our charming hotel and travel inland to arrive at Altamura. Altamura is best known as having the very best bread in all of Italy – Pane di Altamura DOC.  It is made of durum wheat and it has a distinctive yellow coloured crumb. While here we will enjoy a bread-making demonstration in conjunction with some tasting, of course.

Next we’ll travel across the provincial border to Matera, Basilicata, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera can be described in so many words such as interesting, unusual, memorable and believe it or not – less travelled.  And that’s a big bonus for us. This gem of Basilicata boasts a number of cave dwelling districts known as the sassi. Rich in history, this tour will require sturdy, closed toe walking shoes and an ability to climb many stairs but it is well worth it! Our lunch will be served antipasto style!

Our evening will have us travelling to the unique “fairy-tale” like town of Alberobello, Puglia, also a UNESCO site.  It’s a UNESCO capital due to its interesting districts of trulli, the characteristic white-washed conical-roofed houses of the area.. Our 4 star hotel is in Alberobello among the “Trulli”.

Accommodations:  Alberobello for 3 nights

Day 6 – Thursday, May 25, 2015

Sightseeing in Monopoli and Polignano a Mare (B,L)

After breakfast we’ll drive to the tiny seaside town of Monopoli – not to be confused with the game, boasts 19 medieval churches and countless cobblestone alleys in the old town centre alone. Another beautiful harbour with plenty of history. A lunch is included here.

After lunch we’ll depart for Polignano a Mare. Perched atop a 20 metre-high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic, Polignano a Mare truly lives up to its name with breathtaking views. It is also known for being the birthplace of singer, Domenico Modugno, the vocalist famous for the song Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (we know it as “Volare”)! But let’s not forget about its most well known food item that everyone surely would have as a main course – Gelato!  And so since this is a food tour, we’ll be learning the art of Gelato making along with tastings. Your dinner and evening is on own.

Day 7 – Friday, May 26, 2016

Martina Franca and Cisternino Sightseeing (B,L)

This morning after breakfast we’ll depart for Martina Franca for a half day of touring. This city is also in the land of Trulli and in conjunction with its Baroque architecture it is a photographer’s haven.

Lunch will be enjoyed in the nearby town of Cisternino where barbecue is king. You don’t need to go to a restaurant to eat in Cisternino, however, as the town is famous for its barbecuing butchers! All you have to do is choose your meat – maybe the local speciality, bombette, little meat parcels filled with mince, ham and cheese – and take a seat outside with a carafe of local wine. The butcher will then barbecue your chosen goodies and bring them out to you when ready. It’s truly local and delicious eating experience!

After lunch we’ll head back to Alberobello for a tour and visit with a local artisanal food shop for tastings and an opportunity to buy local products that you can take home or have shipped. Dinner is on own this evening.

Day 8 – Saturday, May 27, 2017

Depart for Lecce – Olive Mill – Ostuni Touring (B,L)

This morning after breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and arrive just outside of Ostuni to visit a 16th century farmhouse with a Roman-period underground olive mill and ancient olive grove. Just strolling through the olive grove with your camera will be a pleasure for sure! An included lunch will be enjoyed just before arriving in Ostuni. Known as “The White City”, Ostuni with its whitewashed buildings and narrow passageways – sits atop a hill and glows with the blue sky as a backdrop.

Back on the road, we’ll make our way into Lecce – our home for the next 3 nights. Lecce is known as “the most beautiful city in the south”. It’s famous for its baroque architecture, history and outstanding food. Upon arrival we’ll check into our host hotel – a recently renovated palace located centrally in the old town. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from here as dinner and the evening are on your own.

Accommodations: Lecce for 3 nights

Day 9 – Sunday, May 28, 2017

Lecce Sightseeing (B, L)

This morning we’ll enjoy a familiarization tour of Lecce. Rich in history and architecture, there are many sites to see including ruins, fountains, museum and churches. Well known for its Baroque style, Lecce is also famous for its papier-mâché art. This art form has been popular here since the 17th Century – with it being closely connected with its citizen’s veneration of the catholic church. You’ll see masterpieces displayed in numerous churches across Puglia but be sure to visit the Church of Santa Chiara here in Lecce to see the papier-mâché decorations that adorn its ceiling. You’ll have an opportunity to visit one of the local artisan shops as well as the museum dedicated to this art if you wish on your own time.

Lunch will be enjoyed at a lovely family run restaurant whose recipes have been recognized as being so authentic that they have received attention from the UNESCO body.

Dinner is on your own today. Think of all the neat food stories that we will share the next day, the conversations had with locals, and the show and tell from your shopping finds! Other activities that can be enjoyed include an afternoon at a local beach or even a bicycle tour (at an additional cost).

Day 10 – Monday, May 29, 2017

Le Veli Winery Tour & Taste with Annotated Lunch (B,L,D)

Later this morning we will depart for the Le Veli Winery for a tour and tasting. This is a family run winery that is as beautiful as it is a fine wine producer. We will learn about the Pugliese varieties and what makes them distinctive. As we savor our lunch, our host will provide “annotation” on the history of Pugliese cuisine, the components of a typical meal, and the incredibly rich array of fresh ingredients that comprise our meal.

This afternoon we will head back to Lecce for you to enjoy some time on your own and then gather for our Farewell Dinner with the group.

Day 11 – Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cooking Class Experience – Arrival in Bari (B,L)

After our breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and head back towards Bari however, we’ll make an all too important stop for our final food experience at a farm estate. Led by the farmer, we’ll dive into the heart of Apulian cuisine, putting your fingers literally in the pie. We’ll prepare dough with bran and flour, adding just enough salt and water, giving life to three.. orecchiette, cavatelli and strascinate pasti. Our lesson will be topped with stories dedicated to the farm’s production of different types of wheat and local history. Our cooking and lunch experience will be complemented by local wines and other traditional flavours of Puglia such as homemade Rosoli, a local liqueur made out of rose petals.

We’ll continue this afternoon with our drive to Bari to check into our final hotel located near the airport. We’ll gather at the hotel for optional evening cocktails and shared platters as we celebrate a wonderful experience in Puglia! Our next adventure and challenge is to bring back home what we learned to share with family and friends!

Accommodations: Parco dei Principi in Bari for 1 night

Day 12 – Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Depart for home (B)

After breakfast, we’ll say our goodbyes and best wishes as we depart individual for our respective flights.
(Airport transfer included.)

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