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  • The Dolce Vita Experience
  • The Dolce Vita Experience
  • The Dolce Vita Experience
  • The Dolce Vita Experience

The Overview

If you’re yearning for a long weekend filled to the brim with fantastic food, wonderful wine and top class accommodation then this is the experience for you. Puglia may well be famous for being the boot’s heel of Italy but what most people don’t realise is that it is also the culinary capital of the country and is the primary producer of Europe’s pasta and olive oil. What better place to experience La Dolce Vita?

Not only will you have plenty of time to enjoy the superb culinary delights of Puglia in its famous restaurants and eateries but you’ll also get the opportunity to witness the magic that takes place behind the scenes at local bakeries, through ancient olive groves, within the cellars and vineyards of the region’s wineries and even on the streets of Bari where the women will show you how the region’s special pasta is made. The experience also includes a rustic cookery session where you’ll try your hand at whipping up a proper Italian feast for dinner.

Our two accommodation picks ooze charm and authenticity and provide the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area. You’ll start by staying in one of the beautifully renovated ancient caves that epitomise the UNESCO town of Matera then you’ll spend the second half of your visit in your own private conical stone Trullo in the heart of the rolling Itria Valley.

All this combined with beautiful white-washed towns, the sparkling coast and fine weather, life here is so sweet that you probably won’t want to leave.

 

The Experience

Day 1: Arrival in Bari followed by a private transfer to the extraordinary hillside town of Matera where you’ll check in to your boutique accommodation located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the town’s stunning ancient caves, The Sassi.

Day 2: Spend the day exploring Matera, enjoying lunch at one of the local restaurants before taking part in a cookery master class where you’ll prepare rustic local dishes with the freshest ingredients and prepare yourself a veritable Italian feast for the evening.

Day 3: Morning transfer to Altamura followed by a visit to a DOP bakery for some breadmaking and focaccia tasting. Travel on to the beautiful Itria Valley where you’ll check in to your very own trulli-style accommodation before spending the afternoon enjoying an olive oil tasting session at a beautiful organic olive grove before visiting one of the most beautiful white washed towns in Italy, Locorotondo. Enjoy some local delicacies in its handful of Michelin starred restaurants for dinner.

Day 4: Morning transfer to Lecce where you’ll explore the beautiful baroque town before travelling on to one of the region’s vineyards for a wine tasting session, vineyard tour and lunch. In the evening you’ll have the opportunity to have dinner in the seaside caves of Polignano a Mare.

Day 5: After lunch and a stroll around the UNESCO trulli capital of Alberobello, you’ll be transferred back to Bari where you’ll have the opportunity to learn the art of making orecchiette pasta by local women. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the charming old town before enjoying your last meal in Italy. We’ll transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.

 

The Price

Prices start from £350 per person. This includes:

For bookings and enquiries please click here.

Puglia

Blessed with golden sunshine, blue skies, ancient olive groves and white washed old towns that cling to hillside precipices, the heel of Italy is one of the country’s best kept secrets. Its location along both the Adriatic and Ionian seas boasts exquisite stretches of coastline where fine sand disappears into emerald green and powder blue waters and showcases the remnants of its eclectic invaders from the Normans, Greeks and Turks through the mishmash of architecture scattered across the region.

Full to the brim of charm and character, it’s not the beautiful baroque churches, sweet stone trulli, sun-drenched landscapes nor the laid-back Italian lifestyle that make Puglia such an attractive destination. It’s all about the food. Food, glorious food. Fresh fish, ripe figs, citrusy olive oils, perfect pasta and full-bodied wines. The food is so good here that it produces 80% of Europe’s olive oil and pasta. Despite being representative of Italy’s culinary capital, Puglia seems to have slipped under the radar for everyone other than the native Italians. We suppose that means more for the rest of us…!

Bari: The regional capital of Puglia, Bari used to be one of the most important trading ports along the Adriatic and still represents the busiest passenger port in the region with well-established ferry links across the sea to the Balkans. Its fascinating weave of streets is abuzz with the sights, sounds and smells of local life and provides an intimate portrait of traditional Italy for visitors. The old town of Bari boasts an eclectic mix of age-old architecture as well as a mouthwatering selection of traditional culinary delicacies and provides particular appeal to those interested in history and culture. The quaint back streets and impressive church-adorned piazzas provide the perfect opportunity to soak up the culture, pausing for an Italian coffee and pastry in a string of wonderful cafés and bars within easy reach of all the town’s major architectural attractions – La Dolce Vita personified. 

The Itria Valley: With its rolling countryside, ancient olive groves, fertile vineyards and beautiful white-washed towns, the Valley of Itria represents the jewel in Puglia’s crown and deserves its place amongst the most highly recommended tourist destinations in the area. Its proximity to both the Adriatic and Ionian seas with their long stretches of sandy beaches and stunning turquoise waters makes the area incredibly desirable and offers a wealth of wonderful attractions, destinations and activities to get involved with.

Matera: The extraordinary hill town of Matera was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 because of its core cluster of rocks known as The Sassi. These ancient cave dwellings were carved out of the soft rock face by prehistoric settlers and hermit monks who settled in the caves during the Middle Ages and transformed the grottos into crypts, rocky churches and cave dwellings that were inhabited right up until the 1950s when the area was evacuated due to poor living conditions.

The Season

With a Mediterranean climate, the southern heel of Italy is blessed with mild winters, crisp springtime months, glowing autumns and sundrenched summers making it a year-round destination. However to avoid the crowds, the Dolce Vita Experience doesn’t tend to run through the peak summer months which draw the local Italians to the stunning coastline in an attempt to escape the boiling heat. Spring and autumn in Italy are wonderful times to visit Puglia with clear blue skies, warm sunshine and mild temperatures which start as early as the beginning of April and extend all the way through to mid October.

 

The Months

April & May: Along with September and October, April, May and the beginning of June are among the best months to visit Puglia. You’ll avoid the crowds that flock to the coast for the summer but still enjoy clear blue skies, warm sunshine and balmy evenings.

September & October: The perfect time to visit Puglia. The hoards of locals have all but dispersed by September and October, leaving you to enjoy the region in relative peace. The weather is still warm and wonderful making it perfect for those who aren’t too keen on baking hot summers. This is our preferred time to experience the country apart from the spring.

 

The Experience Duration

The Dolce Vita Experience typically takes place over four nights and five days. This is the recommended time frame in which to explore Puglia and take in all of its highlights. The flexibility of booking your own flights also means that you could add an additional night or two in Bari at the beginning and/or end of your trip.

 

The Calendar

The calendar on the right shows exactly when the Dolce Vita Experience trips are available throughout the season. As well as displaying which trip dates are fully booked or available, the calendar also highlights specific dates that have been discounted or are on special offer.

Once you’ve decided on the dates you’d like to travel, head over to the HOW tab and fill out the enquiry form with all the required details. Once submitted, we will get back to you with confirmation and/or next steps within 24 hours.

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£450 per person

£350 per person

Fully Booked

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Out of Season

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1396310400
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Our Highlights

There are hundreds of reasons why we think you will fall in love with Puglia on the Dolce Vita Experience but here are a few of our personal trip highlights to help persuade you…

The Italian Food: How could we not mention the food? This experience provides you with a vast array of culinary and gastronomic experiences ranging from Michelin starred restaurants, olive oil tasting, bread making, traditional cooking and wine tasting which offers an authentic taste of Italy. Each town in the area has its own local speciality such as capocollo ham in Martina Franca, meaty bombette in Cisternino and Locorotondo’s very own DOC white wine. Oh and did you know that Puglia produces around 80% of Europe’s extra virgin olive oil and pasta? Oh yes.

The Trulli: These distinctive cylindrical constructions topped with coned roofs are scattered all over the rolling countryside and are unique to this area. Legend has it that the trulli were built without cement or mortar as a way of avoiding property taxes so when the tax collectors were on their way, the locals would simply dismantle their houses and carry on as usual! Nowadays, many of the trulli have been transformed into luxury hotels and accommodation options that provide luxury and authenticity in abundance.

The Sassi: Dubbed by UNESCO as ‘the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean’, the ancient cave dwellings, grottos and natural ravines of the Sassi are rooted in ancient history and archeology, originating as far back as the Palaeolithic age. The dramatic mountain location with stunning frescoes built into the cliffside churches represents some of the greatest examples of rock art in the world and is the preferred cinematic location for numerous film directors including Mel Gibson who chose to film ‘The Passion of the Christ’ here in Matera. A collection of caves have even been transformed into luxury accommodation providing a unique and evocative experience for guests. 

The Old Town of Lecce: With its strong cultural heritage and rich history, the old town of Lecce is one of our favourite places in Puglia. The most striking aspect of the town is represented in its multiple examples of Baroque architecture, whose soft limestone facades are laced with intricate decorative masterpieces and adorn each and every piazza, enchanting visitors from all over the world. The beautiful Santa Croce basilica and Piazza Duomo are particular highlights.

 

Your Trip Motivation

Whether it’s for a quick getaway or for a weekend culinary adventure with your other half, the Dolce Vita Experience is perfect if you’re looking for the following things.

For Sheer Luxury & True Romance: If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic retreat with all the luxury trimmings, this experience is an absolute must. With chic accommodation, wine tasting sessions, Michelin starred restaurants and white washed towns, you’ll be able to whisk your other half right off their feet!

For A Quick Getaway & To Pack It All In: Spanning just a few nights, the Dolce Vita Experience is well suited to anyone looking for a short retreat somewhere wonderful without having to take too much time off. With cookery classes, pasta making, wine tasting and olive oil tasting sessions alongside day trips to a handful of the regions most beautiful baroque towns, the trip encompasses a wealth of experiences in just a long weekend.

For History & A Kick Of Culture: The beautiful white washed cities of the Itria Valley along with the incredible history behind the Sassi in Matera and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello offer a wonderful insight into the history, culture and traditions of this area of Italy. You cannot fail to be blown away by the beauty of the tiny local towns that are made up of white-washed alleys, steep cobbled stairways and bright piazzas adorned with ancient towers, arches and medieval buildings.

For Culinary Delights: Full to the brim of award-winning restaurants and producing 80% of Europe’s pasta and olive oil, the region of Puglia is a paradise for those interested in food, wine and all things nice. The Dolce Vita Experience showcases the very best of Italian cuisine and gastronomy so you’ll be treated to tasty delights throughout!

For A Slice of Life: Experience a real slice of Italian life in Puglia where the narrow streets and cobblestoned piazzas are abuzz with local life complete with old men chatting outside whitewashed doors, the smell of traditional cooking wafting from the kitchen windows, clean sheets and clothes hanging on make-shift washing lines and flapping in the sea breeze.

To Learn Something New: As well as giving you an insight into local Italian life in the South, this experience also gives you the opportunity to try your hand at a new skill such as pasta making and bread making with the help of some of the local mamas who will show you the ropes and whip you into shape.

The Booking Process

So you’ve found the perfect experience for you… what happens next? Once you’ve chosen the dates you’d like to travel on using our availability calendar all you need to do is head over to the booking page and fill in your details where necessary on the enquiry form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours, answering any questions you may have and confirming availability for the experience over the dates you’ve enquired about. If that’s all good to go, we’ll hold your places for you and ask you to look into booking your return flights, for assistance we recommend you email flights@untravelledpaths.com or call 0844 560 9808.

Once you’ve booked your flights please send us over the details via email including flight times, numbers and departure airports. We’ll then process your booking and send you an RBS payment link for the deposit or full balance depending on how soon you’re travelling. If your trip departs in less than 6 weeks we require full payment in order to guarantee your places on the experience, however if you are travelling in more than 6 weeks we will only take a 25% deposit at the time of booking. The outstanding balance is then taken 6 weeks before your departure date.

After your payment has been received we’ll send you confirmation of your booking along with a personalised trip itinerary, information pack and any other appropriate materials. All you need to do now is write the dates in your diary, prepare your packing list and look forward to your next adventure!

 

The Flights

As a tour operator we are not able to offer inclusive flights as part of our experiences however we have partnered with a specialist flight booking team, GYT, who are on hand to help you find the most appropriate flights to combine with your chosen experience. Operated by Flight Centre, the GYT team know all about our trips and will be able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to booking the cheapest airfares and most convenient airlines, flight times and departure airports for you. Not only that but you’ll also have access to to a 24 hour helpline and a ‘Travel Butler’ service which offers you one personal advisor to contact should you have any issues with your flights so you won’t have to deal with the airlines themselves!

If you’d like some assistance with booking your flights please email flights@untravelledpaths.com or call 0844 560 9808.

Alternatively you can use the information below to arrange flights yourselves. You’ll need to book with Ryan Air who fly directly from London Stansted to Bari which is the arrival and departure airport for this experience. Please note that if you are travelling to Bari by other means your airport pick-up and drop-off will not be included. For those wanting to book additional nights at the beginning or end of the trip in Bari this will need to be done independently. 

London Stansted to Bari

Ryan Air

Your Travel Personality

This experience is suitable for all ages and tastes and is particularly relevant for anyone looking for a short spell of romance and fine dining and luxury accommodation. It also matches with the below travel personalities and groups:

The Romantic & The Busy Bee: This experience is absolutely ideal for those who are true romantics deep down but find themselves tangled up in the stresses and strains of a hectic life with no time to treat their significant other. With a four-night trip, there is no longer any excuse not to get away for a romantic weekend to the love capital of the world!

The Foodie & The Culture Vulture: The centre of delicious and authentic Italian food, Puglia is the ultimate destination for foodies and anyone interested in experiencing authentic Italian life. With a vast range of culinary and gastronomic experiences on offer throughout the trip including pasta making, wine tasting and cookery classes, as well as a fantastic selection of award-winning restaurants, foodies will never want to leave!

 

Your Group Type

The Dolce Vita Experience is suitable for almost anyone who enjoys their food, wine or culture. However, we feel it is particularly suited to the romantics among you!

The Couple: Perfect for some quality time with your other half, the Dolce Vita Experience is a wonderful excuse to feast on delicious food and fine wines in the love capital of the world! The whole experience spells romance.

  

Trip Assistance

Helping-Hand Experience: As a Helping-Hand Experience, you should find the balance between being looked after and being able to enjoy some independent time to explore just right. We’ve got all your transfers covered including private airport pick-ups and drop-offs that will meet you whatever time your flight arrives or departs, as well as transfers between sights, accommodations and destinations – all you need to do is show up on time and enjoy the ride! You will be given plenty of information on the areas you’ll be visiting, the sights you’ll see on the road and the type of food to try! Our team are always on the end of the telephone should you have any questions, problems or issues.

The Enquiry Form

If you’d like to learn more about this experience, you’d like to check availability and prices or you have questions that need answering simply fill out the form below with all the required details using the calendar to let us know which dates you’re interested in. Once submitted, we will get back to you with confirmation and/or next steps within 24 hours.

Your First Name


Your Last Name


Email Address *


Contact Number


Which start date are you interested in


How many people are travelling in your party?


How did you hear about Untravelled Paths?


Do you have any questions or comments?


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£450 per person

£350 per person

Fully Booked

Unavailable

Out of Season

yes
1396310400
1
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