Puglia, in the heel of Italy, has long been a favourite destination for Oldie readers. Previous trips have focused on the better known southern towns of Ostuni and Lecce; this trip will take us to the beautiful mountainous Gargano Peninsula, which the Normans first visited as pilgrims in the 10th century before controlling the entire South, the extraordinary cave dwellings (sassi) of Matera, the Spartan port of Taranto, the battlefield of Cannae and Frederick II’s octagonal Castel del Monte. And every day will be accompanied by Puglia’s famous food and wine. May is the best time of year to visit.
We will be based in Matera for the first four days, where we will stay at the 17th century Palazzo Viceconte (www.palazzoviceconte.it), which has fabulous views of the sassi. We will have dinner in the nearby excellent cave restaurant, Baccanti every night. Then, we move onto the pretty fishing town of Trani, where we stay at the Hotel San Paolo al Convento, (www.hotelsanpaoloalconventotrani.it), right on the harbour. We will have dinner at the excellent Corteinfiore, which is just along the harbour. Both towns are destinations in themselves, and typical of the variety of the region's history, architecture, scenery, food and wine.
Thursday, May 17th - arrive at Matera
12.05pm: Depart Gatwick with Easyjet; arrive Bari at 4pm. Transfer to the Palazzo Viceconte, in Matera. 7pm: Talk by Robert Fox
Friday, May 18th - The sassi of Matera
Morning tour of the sassi, the caves where families lived until the 1950s, Chiesa San Pietro Barisano, the duomo and Casa Noha, a brilliant museum explaining the history.
Saturday, May 19th - Gravina in Puglia and Altamura
Visit to Altamura and its famous cathedral, followed by lunch at Madonna della Stella, in Gravina in Puglia which is set in a ravine.
Sunday, May 20th - Taranto and Metapontum
Morning visit to the complete Greek temple at Metapontum; lunch by the sea at Oblo, in Lido Gadoli; afternoon visit to the amazing archaeological museum at Taranto (ancient Spartan city of Taras) which has the largest collection of Greek terracotta figures in the world
Monday, May 21st - Bitonto and Trani
Morning tour of Bitonto; arrive at Hotel San Paolo al Convento; lunch at La Lampare al Fortino overlooking the harbour, and a chance to explore the town and its magnificent cathedral.
Tuesday, May 22nd - the Gargano Peninsula
Morning tour of San Giovanni Rotondo, the home of Padre Pio, Puglia’s 20th century saint, followed by lunch at Casa Li-Jalantuumene, in Monte San Angelo and visit to the 12th century underground sanctuary of San Michele.
Wednesday, May 23rd - Castel del Monte, Cannae and Barletta
Morning visit to Castel del Monte and battlefield of Cannae; lunch in Barletta at Antica Cucina; return to Trani after lunch.
Thursday, May 24th - Bari and home
Morning tour of the beautiful old town of Bari including the magnificent Norman basilica and cathedral. Quick lunch at Trattoria L’Elfo before catching 4.40pm flight from Bari, arriving Gatwick at 6.30pm.
Do book with Katherine to guarantee a place on firstname.lastname@example.org. Her number is 01225 427311.
PRICE PER PERSON: £1,850 for those sharing a double/twin room, including everything apart from flights and drinks before and after lunch and dinner. We need to charge a single supplement of £400.
She will require a non-refundable deposit of £750. Final payment will be due by 9th January 2018.
IMPORTANT NOTE RE CURRENCY RATES ON BOTH TRIPS
Due to the recent collapse of sterling, The Oldie needs to protect itself against further sudden falls, and, hence, reserves the right to change the price of the holiday. The Oldie is happy to maintain the current price until the euro drops below €1 to £1, using FairFX’s currency rates as the arbiter. The current rate is €1.11 for £1.
We will absorb (and you will not be charged for) any increase equivalent to 2% of the price of your travel arrangements, which excludes insurance premiums and any amendment charges. You will be charged for the amount over and above that, i.e. if the exchange rate falls below €0.98 to £1 before December 31st, 2017. However there will be no change after January 9th, 2018.
If this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 10% of the price of your travel arrangements, you will have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund of all monies paid, except for an admin fee of £100. Should you decide to cancel: 1) you must do so within 14 days from the date on your final invoice of January 9th, 2018 2) We will provide a refund of insurance premiums paid to us if you can show that you are unable to transfer or reuse your policy. Should the price of your holiday go down due to the changes mentioned above, by more than 2% of your holiday cost, i.e. if the euro were to reach €1.10 to £1, then any refund due will be paid to you. However, please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency and some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection.