Garden and Cultural Tour of Puglia, Italy

Garden & Cultural Tour of Puglia

September 9 to 18, 2023

with host Charlie Nardozzi



Departure Day: Sep 9, 2023

DAY 1 – Sun, Sep. 10 | Arrival at Bari Airport: Bari Vecchia/Lecce 

Upon arrival we’ll meet Charlie Nardozzi and our Italian tour host and transfer to Bari Vecchia. Here we will enjoy lunch and a demonstration of how to make traditional orecchiette, a quintessential handmade pasta with a round and concave shape. Afterward, we’ll travel to Lecce and check into our hotel. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner                                      Overnight Lecce 


DAY 2 – Mon, Sep. 11 | Lecce: Exploring Lecce 

This morning we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of Lecce with its Baroque Palaces and Churches. The local sandstone, tinged a warm pink, was so easy to work with that it fostered the rise of a local style (barocco leccese); very ornate and intricate. More than the architects, it was the local stonemasons who left their mark on this city, crowding its buildings with fanciful cherubs, flowers, fruits, beauties and beasts. The private courtyards of the townhouses dotted throughout the city contain hidden jewels of unexpected vegetation with bright flowering shrubs, water features and exotic tropical trees. We end the tour with lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon enjoy free time on your own, or you may wish to join Charlie for a private garden visit in town. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch                                                              Overnight: Lecce 


DAY 3 – Tue, Sep. 12 | Lecce: Botanical Garden/Santa Maria di Leuca

After breakfast, we’ll travel to La Cutura Orto Botanico in Giuggianello, a country estate built in the classic rural style of the late nineteenth century. Today, it’s a renowned botanical garden that extends for 35 hectares (86 acres) and houses one of the richest collections of rare plants especially succulents and tropicals. We’ll tour the gardens with lunch served afterward.

We’ll then travel to the southernmost point of the heel of Italy: Santa Maria di Leuca at Basilica Finibus Terrae. Santa Maria di Leuca is famous for its iconic lighthouse. With its height of 47 meters, and position at 102 meters above sea level, it is the second most important lighthouse in Italy, after Genova.

Next to the lighthouse is the large Basilica, De Finibus Terrae (“End of the Land”, 1720-1755), built to commemorate the passage of St. Peter here during his travels to Italy. Return to our hotel.

Dinner is planned in a private Palazzo where we’ll be entertained by dancers and musicians showing us the Pizzica, a popular Italian folk dance, also known as the tarantella.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and entertainment                                Overnight: Lecce


DAY 4 – Wed, Sep. 13 | Lecce Wine Tasting

This morning, depart your hotel and head towards Martina Franca where we will stop for a light lunch. Afterwards, we will head to a guided tasting of local, organic wines such as Negramaro, Primitivo and Rosato. Before heading back to the hotel, we will stop in Cisternino for an aperitivo.

This evening, dine individually at a local restaurant.


Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Wine Tasting                                                Overnight: Lecce


DAY 5 – Thu, Sep. 14 | Lecce Millenary Olive Trees

After breakfast we’ll check out of the hotel and travel to the area between Monopoli, Fasano, Ostuni, and Carovigno, where the greatest numbers of these ancient, millenarian olive trees are to be found. One of the most ancient streets “via Traiana” (built under the dominion of the emperor Traiano about 2000 years ago) linked Rome with the harbor of Brindisi and the east. It helped develop the olive oil trade as the Traiana route passed different ports from where boats full of olive oil jars sailed towards northern Italy and northern Europe. Along the route there are large numbers of Roman or Messapian farmhouses with their own hypogeum oil mills and olive groves. We’ll visit an olive mill for a tasting followed by lunch at a Masseria (fortified farmhouse).

Tonight, enjoy dining on your own at a local restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch                                                       Overnight: Polignano a Mare


DAY 6 – Fri, Sep. 15 | Polignano a Mare: Valle D’Itria/Locorotondo/Alberobello

After breakfast, travel to Valle D’Itria, the hometown of Trulli, a gently rolling countryside that produces olive oil, white wine, and capocollo ham near the beaches of the Adriatic with the Ionian seas and its picturesque towns. We’ll visit a dairy farm and its production of mozzarella and burrata cheeses and enjoy a tasting. Afterward we’ll stop for lunch in Locorotondo, a delightful place truly deserving of the accolade ‘Borghi più belli d’Italia’ (one of the most beautiful villages in Italy).

We’ll continue on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello for a guided tour. These curious conical-roofed whitewashed structures, clustered in pockets in Puglia like wild fungi, are an icon of the region. They are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighboring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs.  Return to your hotel. This evening, enjoy dining on your own at a local restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch                                                        Overnight: Polignano a Mare


DAY 7 – Sat, Sep. 16 | Polignano a Mare: Ostuni & Cooking Class

This morning we depart for Ostuni, the vast ‘White City’ rising high above the ocean of olive trees that sweep through this verdant area of Puglia.

We’ll immerse ourselves in the authentic Pugliese way of life and the ancient traditions of Apulian cuisine with a cooking class. We’ll prepare focaccia, pizza and, of course, orecchiette! We’ll cook turnip tops and pot cooked mashed broad beans with chicory and many other vegetables from the chef’s garden nearby that we’ll pick. Charlie will talk about growing vegetables along with a brief garden presentation from the chef.

After our tasty lunch paired with the local wines we’ll have the afternoon free to wander about the narrow alleys of Ostuni’s Old Town. Built atop a hill to protect it from invaders, Ostuni is a certifiable labyrinth. A maze of alleyways, staircases and arches, of houses built upon houses, of hundreds of years of history are laid out that no map can truly explain or capture. Explore its dead ends and pretty little gardens, glimpses of the Adriatic sea, green doors and bright blue skies!

Return to the hotel. Tonight, dine on your own at a local restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Cooking class with lunch                           Overnight: Polignano a Mare


DAY 8 – Sun, Sep. 17 | Polignano a Mare: Botanical Gardens “I Giardini di Pomona”

After breakfast we’ll have a guided visit of Pomona Botanical Gardens with its owner. The main collection is dedicated to the Ficus carica species: 600 trees including Afghan, Bosnian, French, Portuguese, Albanian, Israeli and, of course, Italian and Apulian figs. We’ll end the tour with a fig cooking class demonstration, lunch and wine tasting.

Our next stop is Monopoli, that has been inhabited since 500 BC and takes its name from the early Greek city that was founded here. “Monos Polis’ ‘ means “singularly unique”. Like many of the towns in this part of Puglia, Monopoli’s historical center is built of white stone and dotted with other white-washed buildings. Then return to the hotel, and tonight we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together at a local restaurant. “Arrivederci” Italia!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Farewell Dinner                           Overnight: Polignano a Mare


DAY 9 – Mon, Sep. 18 | Departure Day

Morning check out and transfer to Bari Airport.

Meals: Breakfast 


PLEASE NOTE:  Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. reserves the right to alter the order of events or to make changes in the itinerary deemed necessary for the comfort, convenience and safety of the participants. Every effort will be made to adhere to the printed itinerary, but weather conditions and transportation difficulties may arise beyond the control of Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. and local suppliers could force the cancellation or substitution of events or specific servicesTravel coverage is highly recommended!


  • Activity Level is high: Average walking distances range from  1 – 5 miles per day. Often the walking is on uneven pavement or dirt paths and is hilly. It’s important you have the ability to walk by yourself, without help, on these paths. Please consider your ability level before joining this tour!
  • Covid-19 Vaccination and boosters are mandatory to join this tour. If you test positive for Covid during the tour you will be asked to excuse yourself from the group and will have to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days.
  • If you have a cold or flu-like symptoms, we ask that you test for Covid before joining the tour that day. Please bring Covid tests with you. If you test positive, you cannot join the tour for 5 days or until you test negative.
  • Hotels located in city centers may have restricted access for pick ups and drop offs in front.

Puglia Tour Inclusions

  • 8 nights accommodations (4 nights at the Patria Palace Hotel in Lecce and 4 nights at the Cala Ponte Hotel in Polignano a Mare)
  • Garden Expert and Tour Host Charlie Nardozzi to accompany the group
  • Italian tour host Cristiana Chiacchierini to accompany the group
  • Goodspeed Tour Director Deb Flanders to accompany the group
  • Daily cultural and garden excursions as listed in itinerary
  • Private transportation throughout the trip, including pick-up and drop-off at Bari Airport (BRI), via luxury air-conditioned bus
  • Walking tour of Bari Vecchia with orecchiette-making demonstration and guide
  • Walking tour of Lecce with guide
  • Guided tour of a botanical garden in Giuggianello
  • Winery visit with tour and tasting
  • Private garden visit in Lecce
  • Visit to an olive mill with guided tour and tasting
  • Visit to a mozzarella and burrata cheese producer with tastings
  • Walking tour of Alberobello and “trulli” homes with guide
  • Hands-on cooking class in the area of Ostuni
  • Tour of Pomona Botanical Gardens with cooking demonstration and tastings, guided by the owner
  • Breakfast daily (8), Lunches (8), Dinners (3) on arrival, at the private palazzo, and farewell dinner at a local restaurant
  • Wine, Mineral Water, coffee or tea included with all group meals
  • Gratuity for local guides, full time Italian tour host and for the bus driver


Tour Cost:  $5,879  per person in a shared room

Single Supplement: $669  SPACE IS LIMITED! 

Space is limited to 18 participants. Price is subject to increase with fewer than 18 travelers. 



      • 5 Dinners
      • Passport services
      • Flights round trip to Europe, additional travel agency fees apply if Goodspeed books your flight
      • Any personal expenditures, optional touring add-ons, meals and transfers not specified
        • Travel coverage is highly recommended.  Register directly with Allianz Travel Insurance at    



    You will be sent an invoice after you register for the tour.


    Tour Payment Policy & Schedule

    Your deposit of $1000 is required to reserve space on the tour.  

    Deposit is refundable until Dec. 15, 2022 less a $100 per person non-refundable service fee.

    Final payment dueJuly 4, 2023 


    NO REFUND for cancellations after July 4, 2023. Travel insurance is highly recommended and can be purchased directly with Allianz Travel Insurance.  Cancellation charges also apply to additional accommodations reserved prior to and after the tour. Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. cannot assume responsibility for any fees relating to the issuance and/or cancellation of air tickets.  Full terms and conditions are also available at

    Flights are NOT included in the package price:  

    Arrival and departure will be at Bari Airport (BRI). Please note that only one bus transfer is confirmed per direction.  If your flight arrives later than the majority of the group, you are responsible for paying for your own transport or if you extend your stay at the end of the tour.