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8-day 4-star cultural tour of Apulia
with the most famous highlights

Matera (World Heritage) – Castel del Monte (World Heritage) – Trani – Alberobello (World Heritage) – Ostuni – Cisternino – Polignano a Mare – Bari

Based on our own experience and the many tips we have received from enthusiastic holidaymakers, we have put together a trip featuring the most impressive sights and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Apulia!

Your itinerary:

Day 1: Convenient flight to Rome

Day 1: Convenient flight to Rome

Welcome to Italy! Your friendly, English-speaking tour guide will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your modern coach. This will take you past picturesque landscapes to your 4-star hotel in the Fiuggi area, where you will spend the first night.

Day 2: Matera (UNESCO World Heritage), European Capital of Culture 2019

Matera (World Heritage)

After breakfast, head south to reach the ancient city of Matera in the Basilicata region. A millennia-old city of tuff and European Capital of Culture for 2019. Matera is one of the unique places that offer a glimpse into the life of people in earlier times. The most outstanding feature of this place are the so-called “Sassi“, cave settlements carved out of the rock, which were preserved until the 1950s and were home to around 15,000 people. Whole extended families and their livestock lived inside the caves, without electricity, without sewage systems and without running water. When a malaria epidemic broke out, it was decided to move the inhabitants into more modern stone houses. Today, the Sassi have been lovingly renovated and maintained and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Some of the caves have been converted into chic boutique hotels, restaurants and museums. After visiting a traditional tuff house and a rock church (admission included), continue to your modern and comfortable 4-star hotel in Apulia, where you will spend the next 5 nights.

Day 3: Explorer day: Castel del Monte (UNESCO World Heritage), Andria & Trani

Castel del Monte (World Heritage)

Today, one of Italy‘s most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites awaits. We will take you on a fantastic, optional full-day excursion to the characteristic mediaeval Castel del Monte (admission included), built by Frederick II of Swabia. The “Crown of Apulia“ has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. This castle on a 540m high hill is one of the main symbols of Apulia and was also immortalised on the Italian 1 cent coin. After a guided tour of this imposing octagonal structure, we continue to Andria, where you will hear interesting facts about the history of Frederick II, who was elected emperor there. Even today, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta houses the remains of two of his numerous wives. The perfect end to this day is a walk through Trani. According to an ancient legend, the city was founded by Tyrrhenus, the son of Diomedes. The time of greatest flourishing for the city was the Middle Ages, first under the control of the Normans, later under the Aragonese. The architectural jewel of the city of Trani is the magnificent cathedral (admission included), also known as the “Queen of Apulian Cathedrals“. Even from a distance you can see the Romanesque cathedral, as the building is unusually high. Opposite lies the well-preserved Staufer fort; a former prison that was built at Frederick II‘s wish from 1230 onwards.

Day 4: Trulli houses of Alberobello (UNESCO World Heritage), “White City“ Ostuni & Cisternino

Alberobello (World Heritage)

Today you will experience another highlight of this journey. You make your way to the dreamlike trulli capital of Alberobello. In the centre, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are more than 1,000 trulli that stand out like pointed hats from the olive groves and vineyards. The round houses were built of limestone in dry construction style, are mostly very well preserved and still inhabited. After the tour of one of these trulli (admission included), we continue to the famous “White City“ of Ostuni, built on three hills. It impresses its guests with its picturesque old town, which preserves the charm and the originality that Apulia reflects. The narrow streets around the Piazza della Libertà reveal the beauty of this place at its most impressive. Before heading back to the hotel, we stop in Cisternino. This town is one of the “borghi più belli d‘Italia“, the most beautiful villages in Italy, and lies, like Alberobello and Ostuni, in the Itria Valley. The historic old town with its whitewashed houses and narrow alleyways, arches and inner courtyards captivates with its idyll. In the centre is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele with the clock tower and the church of San Nicola with the Madonna del Cardellino. From the town‘s small park, a magnificent panorama opens up over the Itria Valley with its characteristic trulli.

Day 5: Explorer day: Polignano a Mare & Monopoli

Polignano a Mare

Today‘s programme includes Polignano a Mare, the birthplace of the world-famous Apulian singer Dominico Modugno (“Volare“). On a fascinating, optional full-day excursion, visit the picture-perfect town known for its spectacular grottos. These were formed by the wave action of the sea. Some are even so deep that they reach into the city centre. Then we continue to the picturesque art town of Monopoli. The town has a very special Italian charm with a lot of heart. Even Henry VI knew how to appreciate the place and so he had a stately castle built here with a view of the sea. Originally founded by the Greeks, the city was taken over in the 15th century by Italy. The port of Monopoli is still of great economic importance for the city today and is also a picturesque destination for holidaymakers.

Day 6 – 7: Relaxation in the 4-star hotel & Bari

Bari

On day 6, enjoy the amenities of your 4-star hotel and take a walk along the coast. Or explore other highlights of Apulia on your own, such as the baroque city of Lecce or Otranto, the easternmost city in Italy. On day 7, your guide will take you through Bari, the capital of Apulia and one of the most important port cities in Italy. The old town is very picturesque: here you will find the Swabian Castle, the Church of San Nicolas (patron saint of the town) and the Cathedral of San Sabino, which dates from the 12th century. In the typical alleys of the historic centre of Bari Vecchia, you can still see local women making the Apulian pasta dish orecchiete in front of the entrance to their homes and leaving them to dry on wooden boards. Then we drive back to Fiuggi and spend the night in your 4-star hotel.

Day 8: Homeward journey

Today we say arrivederci. We will be taken to the airport to fly back to the UK with many happy memories.

Package includes:

  • Return flights with a reputable airline³ to Rome,
    incl. hotel transfers
  • 7 nights in a double room in selected 4-star hotels (national category)
    incl. 7× Italian breakfast
  • Fascinating cultural tour in our modern and air-conditioned travel coach featuring Apulia‘s most famous highlights!
    Look forward to a spectacular range of excursions + admissions (as per itinerary), including world-famous Cultural Heritage Sites!
  • Qualified, English-speaking cultural tour guide


On request, you can book our additional tours and services at special reduced prices:

Rock Church, Matera

Explorer package:

The package includes the two full day excursions “Castel del Monte (UNESCO World Heritage), Andria & Trani“ and “Polignano a Mare & Monopoli“: only £139 per person.

4-star hotel

Single room surcharge

only £199 per person (subject to availability)

Including a spectacular range of excursions + admissions and fascinating world heritage sites !

You will love our selected 4-star hotels !

Example hotels

Comparison of temperatures

 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Rome111317182327292926201713
London881115182022221917128

Important note:

In each of our destination countries, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently different conditions and hygiene regulations in place that are specific to each country, and these can also change at short notice. The conditions of entry can also change at short notice at the moment. For this reason, we have put together the most important information for your RSD trip at https://www.rsd-travel.co.uk/travelsafely/. The information will of course be checked and updated on a regular basis. Please also check the Foreign Office‘s website before your departure (www.gov.uk/).

Form of government:

Republic, parliamentary democracy with bicameral system. President Sergio Mattarella has been the head of state since February 2015. Minister President Mario Draghi has been the head of government since February 2021.

Area:

301,277 square kilometres.

Capital:

Rome has been the capital of Italy since 1871 and has 2.9 million inhabitants.

Religion:

Primarily Roman Catholic, plus approx. 1.3 million Muslims, around 550,000 Protestants, 230,000 Jehovah Witnesses, 200,000 Buddhists, 110,000 Hindus and 40,000 Jews.

Language:

The national language is Italian. Friulian, Ladin, German, Slovenian, Occitan, French, Franco-Provencal, Albanian, Greek, Sardinian, Catalan and Croatian are also officially recognised minority languages.

Climate:

In Italy, the climate varies significantly between the north and south. The north is governed by a harsh climate with very cold winters and very hot summers with high levels of humidity. In the centre, the climate is moderate while winters are always mild and summers very warm and sultry in the south and on the islands.

Electricity:

Electricity in Italy is supplied at a voltage of 230 V and in the form of alternating current with a frequency of 50 Hertz. Power outlets comply with European guidelines. You need an adapter in your hotel.

Local time:

Italy is part of the Central European Time zone where GMT+1 applies, along with daylight saving time.

Making Phone calls:

To call an Italian phone number from abroad: international dialling code for Italy (+39), followed by the respective phone number. To make phone calls to the UK: pre-dial 0044 (+44).

Entry requirements for British citizens:

If you are planning to travel to an EU country you must meet the Schengen area rules. Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:
– less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)
– valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Italy as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit. Nationals of other countries are advised to enquire at the Italian Embassy about the entry requirements applicable to them. Customers are reminded that it is their sole responsibility to make sure that passport and visa entry requirements for the country or countries that they are visiting are satisfied and we can not be responsible for any problems encountered (whether at any point of entry or elsewhere) in the event that passport and visa requirements are not satisfied. Regulations in respect of passport and visa requirements for Italy are the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation whose Website is https://www.esteri.it/en/. If you hold a different type of British nationality (BN(O), British Overseas Citizen, British Protected Person or British Subject), check visa requirements with the Italian Embassy before you travel. However, passport and visa requirements change from time to time and are also dependent on the purpose of your visit and your nationality. Whilst we endeavour to provide guidance where necessary. For up-to-date information on entry requirements, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/.

Tour guide:

Your tour guides will be able to provide you with detailed information on the country, people, history, culture etc., and offer advice and assistance in organising your trip. They can also help with room allocation and look forward to welcoming you with initial information. Here you will find out all you need to know and useful information about the trip. We have put together a varied programme including numerous highlights, enabling you to experience the culture and diversity of landscape that Italy has to offer, and learn all about the country and its people.

Additional packages:

Although your trip already includes a comprehensive package, you also have the option of choosing added extras. We recommend booking the following packages:
Explorer package: the package includes the two exclusive full day excursions „Castel del Monte (UNESCO World Heritage), Andria & Trani“ and „Polignano a Mare & Monopoli“: only £139* per person.
Food package: The package includes 7 × evening meals (3-course menu with dishes typical of the region): only £129 per person.
* Package prices may vary when booking on site.

Currency:

The currency is the Euro. Exchange rate (as at May 2022): 1 GBP = 1.19 EUR; 1 EUR = 0.84 GBP.

Banks/Credit cards:

Purchases can be paid for in cash and using the most popular credit cards. This payment system is typical in Italian shops; the symbols of credit cards accepted are usually displayed at the entrance to shops. ID cards are required when paying by credit card. Travellers’ cheques (in dollars or Euro) can also be cashed in banks. It is also possible to withdraw cash from ATMs using EC/Maestro cards but high fees may be charged by the respective bank. Cash payments exceeding 3,000 EUR (2700 GBP) are not possible in Italy. Sums exceeding 3,000 EUR can only be paid for by credit card, EC card or by bank transfer.
City tax: A state city tax of between €1.00 (approx. £ 0,85) and €3.50 (approx. £ 3) per person/night must be paid on site (last revised: March 2022)..

Customs regulations:

Sums exceeding €10,000 must be declared when entering or leaving Italy. Private persons travelling within the EU can purchase and export goods without limits on quantities if they are for personal use and not intended for resale. Further customs information regarding the import of goods can be obtained from the embassy of your destination country. This is the only place from which to obtain legally correct and binding information.
Important: If you’re travelling to Great Britain from outside the UK, your personal allowances mean you can bring in a certain amount of goods without paying tax or duty. If you go over your allowances you must declare all your goods and pay tax and duty on all the goods in that category. Please inform yourself about the current customs regulations: www.gov.uk/bringing-goods-into-uk-personal-use/arriving-in-Great-Britain.

Safety instructions:

Crime: Vigilance should be exercised regarding pickpockets and petty crime in tourist centres in particular, especially cases of fraud where tourists are distracted (e.g. by jostling etc.) and then stolen from by accomplices. As for any holiday trip, the rule is to only ever carry what is absolutely necessary. Large amounts of cash and original identification documents should always be deposited in the hotel safe. If necessary, only carry secure credit cards (protected by PIN) on your person. Take photocopies of your documents with you when you travel. Alternatively, you can save the files on a private e-mail account, enabling them to be accessed wherever you are in the world. When walking outside, do not wear bags or cameras on the side facing the street, making it more difficult for them to be stolen by thieves on motorbikes. In Naples, particular care should be exercised when wearing valuable watches and jewellery which are popular among thieves.

Particular criminal law provisions:

Facilitating illegal immigration is a criminal offence in Italy punishable by imprisonment and a fine. Particular caution is therefore advised when picking up hitch-hikers. In Rome, the city administration sometimes imposes draconian penalties for the protection of monuments, e.g. for reaching into the water of the Trevi Fountain or for having a picnic on the Spanish Steps.

Medical information:

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website (https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries). Each countryspecific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad.01

Medical care:

Anyone entitled to free healthcare in the UK is also entitled to treatment in Italy – if it is urgently required – from doctors, dentists, hospitals, and so on that are approved by the foreign statutory health insurance company. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) must be presented as proof. You should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. After 31 December 2020, your UK-issued EHIC might not be valid. You can also contact your health insurance company for information on current regulations. Nonetheless, you are urgently recommended to take out travel health insurance for the duration of your holiday which covers risks not assumed by the statutory health insurance companies (e.g. repatriation to the UK in the event of illness, treatment by private doctors or in private hospitals). Such policies usually also offer benefits not covered by state health insurance companies, e.g. the costs of repatriation.
Customers must ensure that they are in good physical and mental health in line with the trip in question. Customers must enquire about the physical mobility and psychological autonomy required for this trip.

All information is subject to change / Last updated: June 2022