The Heel and the Hinterland: Sights and Pleasures of Basilicata and Puglia

April 4–11, 2016

Elifant is excited to announce its spring 2016 trip deep into the heel of the Italian boot—to Basilicata and Puglia. Our archaeological itinerary will take us to such coastal cities of Magna Graecia as Tarentum and Metapontum, first settled by Greek colonists when the grandeur of Rome was still centuries in the future.

The area’s hearty cuisine includes superb breads and pastas made from locally grown durum wheat, among the best in the world, and dressed with some of Italy’s most flavorful oil, tomatoes, and cheeses. We’ll have the local lamb stews scented with wild herbs in the hills and mountains of Basilicata and taste great seafood on Puglia’s Adriatic coast. We’ll sample the original (and best, of course) burrata cheese from around Andria and Barletta. Wine lovers will want to get to know Aglianico del Vulture, moscato di Trani, and much more.

But that’s not all: we’ll see stunning scenery of Italy’s rugged interior and visit at least three UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Frederick II’s majestic octagonal Castel del Monte; the sassi, rock-cut dwellings and churches, of mysterious Matera (European Cultural Capital in 2019); and the curious conical buildings called trulli in and around Alberobello. The historic center of Lecce, a baroque gem (with a Roman amphitheater) and the cathedrals of Trani and Otranto are also on the itinerary.

From Greek to Roman to Byzantine, Saracen, and Norman, the waves of diverse peoples who settled this area have left their mark on its food and culture, among the most vibrant of the Italian peninsula.  As always, we will travel in style and comfort: the area may be little known to tourists but with Michelin-starred restaurants and UNESCO World Heritage sites, be assured that it is no backwater.

Please join Maureen and Liz on this fun adventure. Call or drop us a line and we’ll keep you posted as details of the itinerary fall into place.