Puglia & Lecce Cooking & Landmark Tour™

Cooking, Food Tours & Landmarks 8 Days

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Join Signora Letizia in the town of Conversano, just 45 minutes south of Bari for an unforgettable cooking and touring experience in the heart of Puglia with hands-on cooking classes!  Our Tasting Apuglia Program is a one-of-a-kind tour rich in food, culture, and visiting two cities – Conversano and Lecce.

This special Cooking Vacations week will bring you into the colorful cooking of Puglia with two nights in the beautiful Baroque town of Lecce, too. In the kitchen, you will be cooking with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, naturally raised local meats, and fish caught fresh daily from the Adriatic Sea – these are the ingredients for the perfect Puglia culinary experience. Chop, slice, cook, eat, and tour your way through this amazing region of Italy, off the main tourist track, yet so rich in history and culinary traditions.

Puglia Cooking Classes 

The cooking classes in Puglia consist of two lessons, 1 traditional class and 1 bread-making class. You will learn about Puglia’s cuisine, products, and traditions. Cooking class 1 includes roasted lamb with potatoes, a fresh fish of the day or vegetarian; and taralli ~ traditional baked dry biscotti. Your second class is a bread-making workshop, where you will learn to prepare traditional Apuglian breads, which are famous in all of Italy. After the class, you’ll taste the bread prepared in class with the very best local capocollo. Menus vary with the seasons, and special attention is always given to allergies and/or dietary needs.

Culinary Tour Puglia, Italy

Puglia, Italy is set in the very heel of the Italian boot and is known for its culinary delights, natural landscape, incredible art & architecture, and splendid churches. With the Adriatic Sea on the eastern coast and the Gulf of Taranto in the instep, the peninsula of Puglia offers something for every traveler.

Alberobello is called “the Trulli capital” and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trulli are stone houses with coned roofs, traditionally built without any cement or mortar that characterize the southern town. At the top of the roof, there is either a pinnacle or a painted symbol, ranging from crosses to planetary symbols and mythological symbols to ward off the evil eye and bring good luck to the household. Alberobello is also known for its olive oil and olive trees. You’ll see talented artisans carve olive wood into cucchiarelle, wooden spoons, cutting boards, furniture, woven baskets, and much Puglian traditions.

Otranto’s most treasured sites include the pentagon-shaped Aragonese Castle and the Cathedral with its incredible mosaic floor, dating to 1166 AD.

Lecce is known as the Florence of Southern Italy and, true to its nickname, is a city rich in art and culture. Monuments include Medieval castles, Renaissance churches, Roman amphitheaters, and Greek ruins. Today, Lecce produces artisan ceramics, olive oil with a unique Puglia taste, and red and white wine.

The town of Martina Franca holds its annual summer opera festival, Festival della Valle d’Itria. The historic center of this small city enchants its visitors with local products including the Martina Franca DOC sparkling wine, as well as an assortment of local salumi and capocollo.

Puglia Accommodations

During your Cooking Vacation, you will be accommodated at the Villa. An elegant palazzo is home to charming guest rooms boasting a dreamlike view over the Romanesque cathedral.  The 4-star property has an air of elegance and charm. The villa sits on a historical Medieval court in a residential area at the center of Conversano, the City of Art. The property was completely renovated in 2002, keeping the old-world charm and structure, while blending modern amenities for guests’ comfort. The historical Villa, which is located within the walls of the Medieval court, was transformed into a beautiful property with a reception area, suites with elegant furnishings, and a spa. Each guest suite offers large bedrooms with a private bathroom and modern comforts.  Accent barrel ceilings and wooden beams add a magical effect.

All rooms are equipped with direct-control air conditioning, satellite TV, direct telephone, security safes, free Wi-Fi internet connection, and a minibar. A solarium terrace, an information and concierge desk, complimentary bikes for each guest’s use, transfer facilities for area excursions, and a friendly staff add the finishing touches. Guests can also reserve a relaxing massage or spa treatment at the Villa’s full-service Spa.

A large buffet breakfast is served in the sunny garden room each morning. Freshly squeezed orange juice, yogurt, a choice of cereals, homemade croissants baked daily, biscotti, traditional cakes, fresh local cheeses, and seasonal fruit, along with cappuccino, coffee and tea, are served.

You will also have 2 nights in our centrally located 4-Star Accommodations in Lecce.

Itinerary: 8 Days, 7 Nights 

Check-in Saturday and check out Saturday. Other check-in days may be available upon request; please call for details.

Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival to Bari airport or train station, and transfer to villa hotel.
  • Check in and relax.  Later in the afternoon, take time to enjoy an Italian aperitivo and explore the area on your own, bike or walk through the gardens.
  • In the evening, a Chef’s Tasting Dinner is served on the terrace with a view over the ancient lanes and cathedral. The Restaurant offers an Apulian Tasting Menu. Dinner includes an antipasto, pasta, a main course, and dessert, based on local organic ingredients. (Wine and drinks are not included).

Day 2: Conversano City of Art & Spa

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning free. Suggestion: Discover “le Vie d’Arti” walking along the streets of some artists, a path starting from the cathedral square continuing to Via Martucci, XX September Square, and via porta antic. You will see the art gallery of Lucilla, the art gallery of Vittoria Rutigliano, and the art shops of excellent artisans (ceramics, pieces of jewelry, paintings, various objects).  At the end, don’t miss the Norman castle, home to the masterpieces of Paolo Finoglio, a 6th-century court painter. The collection includes La Gerusalemme Liberata and frescoes in the Baroque church of Saint Cosma and Damiano.
  • Afternoon: Meet up at the Spa to enjoy the Thermarium Spa and a 30-minute body massage.
  • Dinner on your own. The concierge service at the hotel will inform you about the top restaurants in the city.

Day 3: Full Day Tour To Polignano, Monopoli & Alberobello.

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, meet your driver for your excursion to Polignano a Mare, a small village on the rocks of the Adriatic Sea. Self-guided walking tour of the old town. Take time to enjoy a snack (not included), ice cream, or do a little shopping.
  • Visit a bar and ask for the Puglia special coffee, an espresso made with lemon zest, amaretto di Saronno liquor, and cream.
  • Next, visit Monopoli, a Mediterranean town along the coast, with a beautiful walk along the harbor.
  • Following, you will visit Alberobello, a beautiful town known for its famous trulli, the iconic cone-shaped white homes that pepper the region.
  • After your full-day tour, return to Conversano in the evening.
  • Enjoy dinner on your own with the suggestions provided.

Day 4: Apulian Wine Tasting & Puglia Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver and enjoy a trip to Gioia del Colle.
  • Visit and tour a famous winery known for its Primitivo di Puglia and organic wine.   Tour and Wine tasting included.
  • Enjoy lunch on your own in any one of the trattorias suggested by your driver.
  • Following the tour, you will visit a traditional masseria, a farm and country house for your Cooking Class 1.  Prepare a full-course menu of traditional fare.  Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with a toast of wine included.   Wednesday: Visit to Lecce

Day Five:  Transfer to Lecce & Tour Apulia

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, transfer to Lecce with your driver. Meet your English-speaking guide for an unforgettable half-day tour of the most baroque city in Apulia. Walk through the old district of the city, considered the ultimate expression of baroque in Apulia, and visit the most symbolic buildings of 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Take time out for lunch is on your own.  Our guide will suggest the best traditional restaurants for a delicious lunch including pittule, flash fried savory bites, lagane e ceci, pasta with chickpeas, sagne n’cannulate, homemade pasta, treasured desserts and local wine.
  • Following lunch enjoy a pasticciotto, a sweet pastry shell filled with cream- a traditional local dessert.
  • Check in to our property in Lecce.
  • Later, relax at the property, and enjoy an aperitivo before dinner.
  • Enjoy dinner on your own with suggestions provided.
  • Overnight in Lecce in our 4-Star property.

Thursday: Visit to Galatina, Gallipoli & Otranto

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for your excursion Galatina to visit the old town and important landmark, the Cathedral.  Next, visit Gallipoli for a stroll along the seaside and fish market,  the biggest one in the region.
  • Following the tour, continue to Otranto.  Enjoy this charming town facing the sea. Visit the landmark Cathedral, built in 1080 AD), castle, and old town.
  • Following your tour, return to Lecce.
  • Enjoy dinner on your own with suggestions provided.
  • Overnight in Lecce in our central 4-Star property.

Friday: Grottaglie, Martina Franca & Puglia Cooking Class 2 & Farewell Dinner

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver and depart to Grottaglie to visit this well-known pottery district. Free time for shopping.
  • Then continue onto Valle d’Itria, explore the old town, and discover this charming town.   Following your tour, tie on your aprons for Cooking Class 2, at the masseria, a farm and country house.  Learn how to make traditional Pugliese bread and a country lunch.  During your stay, explore the organic farm and olive orchard..
  • Following the cooking class, return to Conversano.
  • Enjoy a Farewell Dinner at a delicious local trattoria, noted at the best restaurant in town, included.  Wine is not included.
  • Overnight in Conversano.

Saturday: Departure & Arrivederci

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out and depart for Bari Airport or Train Station.

Program Includes

  • 7 nights and 8 days in beautiful Puglia.
    • 5 nights accommodations in a 4-star villa property in Conversano.
    • 2 nights accommodations in a 4-Star hotel accommodation in Lecce.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Welcome Prosecco.
  • Welcome Dinner featuring a Chef’s Tasting menu with a full course menu with local fare.  Wine and beverages are not included.
  • 2 hands-on cooking classes using seasonal local ingredients.  Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared together with a toast of local wine included.
  • Spa treatment including 30-minute massage.
  • Full-day excursion to Polignano, Monopoli, and Alberobello with private driver included.
  • Wine Tour and Tasting. Visit to a local cantina with a walk to the vineyard, cantina, and a wine tasting included.
  • Excursion to the town of Lecce with an English-speaking guide and driver included.
  • Full-day excursion to Galatina, Gallipoli, and Otranto with a private driver.
  • Full-day excursion to Grottaglie and Martina Franca with private driver included.
  • Farewell Dinner at a traditional trattoria featuring a full-course menu with local fare. Wine and beverages are not included.
  • Round trip transfers from Bari Airport or Train Station.
  • Cooking Vacations Welcome bag with chef’s apron, recipes, and Prosecco.
  • A copy of Lauren’s book, It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast
Program Prices

$5,395 per person, based on 2 guests.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.  Train station pick up is Conversano.  Airport pick-up is at Bari Airport.  Prices are based on room category and special holidays and feast days.

Check Availability

2024 Dates: This program is available throughout the year and cooking classes are held every day. Cooking classes begin at 5pm and are approximately 3 hours. Rates are subject to change, based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.