Upon arrival in Italy, collect your hire car at the airport and head to five-star Palazzo Gattini, your home for two nights. Once the residence of Italian nobility, it retains much of its historical character to this day, with cream stone archways throughout its modern 20 suites. Located within Matera, the hotel boasts stunning views of prehistoric Sassi and is ideally located for exploring the Basilicata region.
Sample seasonal Italian cuisine at the on-site restaurant, Le Bubbole, or for a little R&R, descend the stairwell to the subterranean spa.
Make the most of your ancient surroundings as you explore the city of Matera – La Citta’ dei Sassi – which has been continually inhabited for over 10,000 years. An authentic open-air museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an inimitable blend of cave dwellings, magnificent baroque palaces and stone churches. Discover first-hand the main stages of the evolution of human history as you make your way through the Sassi: from the caves of the Murgia to the rock-hewn churches and elegant streets of 17th-century Piano.
After a leisurely breakfast, spend today exploring all the region has to offer by car. The picturesque hillside town of Martina Franca with its historic centre makes an ideal stop off point for lunch. Head into the town through the grand Porto Santo Stefano gateway and wander the ancient lanes and alleys. Just inside, you’ll find the Piazza Roma, dominated on one side by the Palazzo Ducale, Martina Franca's imposing civic building, built in 1668. Linger a while before heading onwards to Lecce.
Today, walk around Lecce, one of Puglia’s finest examples of baroque architecture, known as the ‘Florence of the south’. Visit the historical town centre and see the imposing Piazza del Duomo, Santa Croce and Roman 2nd-century amphitheatre close to Sant'Oronzo Square. Stroll through streets and you’ll happen upon upmarket boutiques and shops selling traditional crafts. Be sure to stop for lunch at one of the town’s authentic Pugliese restaurants and soak up the convivial atmosphere of La Dolce Vita.
This morning, drive to Brindisi and check into Canne Bianche, your home for three nights. Situated on the seafront in Torre Canne, hotel is effortlessly Mediterranean in style with a covered open-air dining area and direct access to the beach.
The town of Brindisi was once at the end of the ancient Roman road, Via Appia. Once travelled by weary soldiers and traders en route to Greece and the Near East, today it is sleepy coastal paradise. Wander along the palm-lined Corso Garibaldi and the interesting seafront promenade.
Today, head to Alberobello with your guide and discover Puglia’s largest concentration of famous trulli. Founded in the 15th-century by the counts of Acquaviva, the town’s cone-shaped dwellings were occupied by peasant families and designed to be easily dismantled to avoid local tax laws on permanent structures. Then continue with your guide on to Locorotondo. Officially one of the Borghi più belli d'Italia - the most beautiful villages in Italy - Locorotondo sits majestically atop a hill overlooking the countryside with its picture-perfect whitewash houses.
You may wish to take it a little easier today and make the most of the hotel’s facilities. Relax with a cocktail on your private terrace, take a dip in the pool or indulge in a tailored beauty treatment at the Aqua Spa. The fitness centre offers state of the art equipment and yoga facilities catering for body and mind in equal measure.
Your concierge will be pleased to make dinner reservations for you at Restaurant T-imo, which uses organic products – many of which are grown on site – to create authentic seasonal dishes.
Today it’s time to bid a fond ciao to the Pugliese coast and head to the airport for your departure home.