Sunday, October 1
Welcome to Puglia
We begin by transporting you from the Bari, Italy airport to Masseria Lama di Luna, your luxurious home in Puglia's Alta Murgia or high, rocky plain for a few days, arriving no later than 5:00 p.m. We coordinate transfers based on your arrival times; the trip takes approximately 50 minutes.
We'll gather for a welcome aperitivo and an overview of the week to come, followed by dinner together at the masseria featuring the local, handmade ingredients for which Puglia is justifiably famous, along with local and regional wines to complement each course.
Monday, October 2
Aglianico in the Alta Murgia
Every morning, we'll start our day together with breakfast at the masseria and an overview from Sommelier Alyssa Twelker about the appellations we'll visit and the wines we'll taste. Today we'll visit one of the Puglia's most important wineries, Tormaresca, a project started by Italy's foremost wine ambassadors, the Antinori family. We'll tour the estate and taste Tormaresca's finest, from terroir-rich aglianico to the elegant chardonnay-fiano minutolo blend, Pietrabianca.
Next we head to one of the best, most authentic small restaurants in all of Italy for an exceptional lunch. First, we'll tour the restaurant's organic garden, then experience a traditional Pugliese meal that has been elevated to new heights through the expertise of its dedicated kitchen staff.
After the feast, we'll need a leisurely walk, so we'll make for nearby Trani. We'll see this historic port town with its famous Romanesque cathedral by the sea with an expert local guide. Dinner tonight begins with an aperitivo al aperto, followed by a light dinner of regional specialties before returning to our hotel.
Tuesday, October 3
Trulli and Terroir
Today we leave the Alta Murgia area of Puglia, traveling south to the Itria Valley and its spectacular coastline. Famous for its cone-shaped roof stone houses, olive groves and vineyards, the Itria Valley is reported to hold mystical powers and healing energy. On our way to our new accommodations just five miles from the sea, we'll stop at a vineyard renowned for its primitivo and its autochthonous white varietals minutolo and bianco d'Alessano.
Before lunch at the Michelin Guide-noted Antica Locanda in Noci, we'll join a husband-and-wife, American-Italian winemaking duo in their palazzo to learn what drew them to Puglia and why their wines here are so distinctive.
After lunch, we'll head to our new masseria by the sea for some unstructured time. Once you have checked in, there will be time to explore the grounds, have a swim or take a spin on one of the masseria's vintage three-speed bicycles. Dinner tonight is in the masseria's vaulted-ceiling dining room.
Wednesday, October 4
Farm to Table in Martina Franca
We start the day with a visit to Martina Franca's weekly farmer's market, the biggest in the area. You will be dazzled by the choices on offer since Puglia provides much of Italy's (and Northern Europe's) fruits and vegetables.
We'll also stop by an artisanal cheesemaker's kitchen to taste mozzarella and burrata fresh from its final water bath, followed by a visit to a wood-burning oven and its bakers who turn out focaccia, taralli and bread around the clock. Marketing concluded, we'll stroll through town to Terra Terra and your first cooking class.
Today's class will be conducted by a pair of delightful grandmothers and their classically-trained chef sons. Both generations are passionate advocates of a healthy Mediterranean diet as represented in the traditional foods of Puglia and they will share their extensive experience along with personal memories and traditions, focusing on the role that fresh vegetables, legumes, grains and locally made cheeses play in the genuine food of the region. You'll dive in, hands first, then join the grandmothers, their sons and an array of local friends—food artisans, vintners, butchers and more— who will drop by to meet you at lunch.
After lunch, you can wander Martina Franca's twisty, pedestrian-only alleyways with a local historian, visiting the town's Ducal Palace and its frescoes while stopping for an espresso in Martina's best-loved cafe. If you prefer, though, the afternoon can be spent on your own, discovering Martina's unique shops and local artisans.
We'll meet up later in the afternoon for a tutorial on the art of Italian craft cocktails, with a tasting of Italian amaros and other unique, handcrafted liquers that celebrate herbs, fruits and vegetables found only here.
Thursday, October 5
Magical Valle d'Itria and the Art of Liquori
After breakfast, we'll visit a grand old masseria and its venerable olive grove by the sea near the white city of Ostuni. Some of these olive trees are over 3,000 years old and are still producing organic extra virgin olive oil that is second to none. We'll tour the family's underground olive mill, which predates the Roman era, then conclude with a tasting of extra virgin olive oil, helping us distinguish between high quality and defective oils.
Next, we head to Puglia's fabled coastline for a seafood luncheon unlike any you've ever tasted. Just a few feet from the water's edge, you'll dine on hyper-local shellfish, mollusks and fish pulled out of the sea only hours before by the fishing family that runs the restaurant. From stuffed mussels to spaghetti alle vongole and grilled sea bream, this seaside experience captures the essence of Puglia's bella vita.
After lunch, we make for the hills to a family-owned estate that specializes in organic extra virgin olive oil and handmade preserved fruits and vegetables. Here we'll tour the estate, gaze at the 360-degree views of the Adriatic and the olive plain below and learn to make the after-dinner liquers for which Puglia is famous. We'll taste several varieties as we enjoy an aperitivo al aperto at the estate.
Friday, October 6
Then it's on to Monopoli, another charming seaside town just minutes from our masseria home. In Monopoli, we'll tour the town's historic center and old fishing port before a light dinner in one of the town's atmospheric piazze.
Today after breakfast, we visit Polignano a Mare, perhaps Puglia's most exquisite seaside town perched high above the water on wind and wave-carved limestone bluffs. Often the spot chosen for celebrity weddings because of its picturesque alleyways and cliffside promenade, our guide will reveal all of its secrets. Oh, and since Polignano is the home of Domenico Modugno, the composer of perhaps contemporary Italy's most famous song, Volare, we'll pay homage to the man and his tune by saying hello to his larger-than-life statue that overlooks the sea. You'll have a little free time for any last minute shopping before lunch in a new, ultra-hip cafe featuring Polignano's seafood bounty.
After lunch, we'll return to the masseria for our final, hands-on cooking class with the classically-trained chef (and mom of the masseria's owner). You'll choose produce in the masseria's organic garden, then return to its teaching kitchen to transform your raw ingredients into our evening farewell feast. Roberto, the masseria's owner, and our own Alyssa, will accompany the evening's dinner with a selection of wines from Salento, Puglia's southernmost wine region known for robust reds that are taking the wine world by storm.
Saturday, October 7
Arrivederci a Puglia
After breakfast at Masseria Garrappa and perhaps a final stroll around the grounds, a dip in the pool or a walk through the gardens it will be time to say goodbye. We'll send you home with some organic extra virgin olive oil and a compendium of some of the recipes you learned during your week in Puglia.
Additional travel in Puglia or beyond—including villa rental, excursions and recommendations—is easily arranged. Just let us know your plans and we'll be happy to help.