Puglia & Southern Italy12 days
89.8% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Sip cappuccino in a café where only Italian can be heard. Wander underground through Neolithic caves. Travel back to simpler times in untouched Alberobello. Everywhere you go in Southern Italy, authenticity presides. From the soothing shores of Sorrento to the quaint homes of the Trulli Valley, discover the soul behind the “boot heel” of Italy.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in hand-picked hotels
Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with wine or beer
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select paid entrances
Why You'll Love It
Naples pizza is the real deal
Tourism has yet to alter Puglia’s local charm
The ancient dwellings of the Trulli Valley
Miles and miles of stunning coastline
Italy’s underground comes to light in Matera
Glimmering Baroque architecture in Lecce
Overnight Flight1 night
Naples2 nights - hotel info
Your first slice of Neapolitan pizza is a life-changing experience
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Naples! A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or begin acquainting yourself with the city. Tonight enjoy an included traditional pizza dinner made by the experts, as pizza was invented here in Naples, and meet your fellow travelers. Buon appetito!
Fall in love in the heart of the Campania region
Optional Excursion - The Lost City of Herculaneum
Naples National Archaeological Museum
Discover Napoli this morning on an guided tour of this beautiful bayside city in the heart of the Campania region of Italy. You’ll pass by the imposing facade of the Palazza Reale, built by the Bourbon kings of Naples, and travel through the historic city center. Included in your tour is a visit to the Naples National Archaeological Museum, where you’ll find original artifacts from the nearby Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. This afternoon, consider joining an optional excursion to the ruins of the Lost City of Herculaneum to witness village life in the 1st century.
The Lost City of Herculaneum $45* pp
Part of the family of Lost Cities, Herculaneum was also glazed over by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. On this excursion, a guide will take you through the small city and all of its well-preserved wonders. Unlike Pompeii, the conditions in Herculaneum allowed for many buildings and artwork to remain intact. Examine the frescos and mosaics that decorated the homes of the wealthy, and the narrow streets that characterized the area. Before you leave, take some free time to shop.
Bari Region2 nights - hotel info
Local authenticity thrives in the rolling green Apennines
Benvenuti in Puglia! One of Italy’s few remaining hidden travel gems, Puglia is blessed with fine weather, beautiful shorelines, lovely towns, Baroque architecture and delicious cuisine. This morning, transfer to Benevento for a guided tour. You’ll visit the Arch of Trajan and the Church of St. Ilario before continuing on to the Bari region in Puglia this afternoon. Savor an included dinner of local delicacies tonight.
Castles on the coastline—Puglia couldn’t be more picturesque
Castel del Monte
Explore the coastal region near Bari with an allday excursion to visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A local guide shows off the highlights of Monte Sant’Angelo, especially the 13th-century abbey built on the site where the Archangel Michael made several reported appearances. Next, visit the octagonal Castel del Monte, a 13th-century structure whose interior marbles and furnishings remain largely unaltered since antiquity.
Lecce2 nights - hotel info
Old Saint Nick is a permanent resident of seaside Bari
Today begins with a visit to the seaside town of Bari, where a guided tour introduces you to the sights of the historic Old Town, including monuments and cathedrals dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. The tour’s highlight is undoubtedly the Basilica of St. Nicholas, which contains the remains of the bishop whose penchant for anonymous gift-giving inspired the legend of Santa Claus. After some free time to explore Bari, continue to Lecce, arriving in time for an included dinner.
Three words for Lecce’s churches: big, Baroque and beautiful
Optional Excursion - Otranto with Dinner & Wine Tasting
This morning, embark on a guided tour of Lecce, known as the “Florence of the South” for its rich collection of Baroque architecture. Marvel at the extravagant ornamentation of Lecce’s churches and monuments and imagine the past grandeur of the ruined Roman amphitheater. Perhaps the finest sight is the Church of the Holy Cross, featuring an opulent facade built from the distinctive golden “Lecce stone.” This afternoon, enjoy free time to continue exploring Lecce or consider joining our optional excursion to Otranto. You’ll enjoy a guided tour of this former Greek city that defied Rome in both the Pyrrhic War and the Punic Wars, and one of the highlights of your tour is sure to be the town’s Romanesque cathedral. To cap off the excursion, you’ll transfer inland from Otranto to the village of Scorrano for a dinner of Puglian specialties and a tasting of the region’s best wines.
Otranto with Dinner & Wine Tasting $79* pp
This excursion brings you to the seaside town of Otranto, a former Greek colony that repeatedly defied Roman authorities by siding with the Romans’ enemies in the Pyrrhic and Punic Wars. Explore Otranto’s old town and the Romanesque church at the center of town. Later, sit down for an included dinner featuring regional specialties and a wine tasting.
Trulli Valley2 nights - hotel info
Avoiding taxes sparked an architectural style in Trulli Valley
Journey this morning to Ostuni, where your Tour Director will introduce you to the sights, including the picturesque cathedral and whitewashed homes of the Old Town. This afternoon, continue on to the Trulli Valley, the home of the trulli, the conical dry-stone homes where locals lived for thousands of years. You’ll enjoy an included dinner tonight.
Alberobello is not your average neighborhood
Optional Excursion - Grotte di Castellana with Dinner
Begin today with a visit to the trulli of Alberobello. These carefully preserved dwellings feature white symbols painted onto the roofs to bring good luck or ward off the malocchio or “evil eye.” Unearth the history of these unique dwellings on a guided tour. This afternoon, consider an excursion to Grotte di Castellana, a series of interconnected caves once believed to be the gates of hell.
Grotte di Castellana with Dinner $79* pp
People have known about the Grotte di Castellana for centuries, but since local legend held that the entrances to these caves were actually the gates of hell, few explored this subterranean world before the 1930s. Discover some of the most famous portions of these caves, including the sunlit section known as The Grave, the towering Cave of the Monuments, the slender stalactites of the Cave of the Altar and the iridescent White Cave. Afterward, travel to a neighboring village for an included dinner at a private Trullo, or a traditional Apulian dry-stone hut. Under the conical roof, you'll sample regional specialties. Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs from March 11 through November 1.
Sorrento2 nights - hotel info
Navigate the ancient underground caverns of Matera
Optional Excursion - Tarantella Show: Traditional Music & Dance
This morning, travel to Matera in time to enjoy a guided tour of this hilltop town. Matera is home to 9,000-year-old cave dwellings known as sassi, and its Old Town, built on these ancient caverns, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll then enjoy a scenic transfer through the Apennine Mountains en route to Sorrento, where you may choose to attend an optional Tarantella show.
Tarantella Show: Traditional Music & Dance $29* pp
Tarantella dancing is a centuries-old folk tradition in Southern Italy. Tarantella is the Italian word for tarantula, and the frenzied steps of the dance are said to be designed for sweating out the poison of a tarantula bite. At tonight’s live performance, watch the intricate footwork of a troupe of authentic folk dancers. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from March 1 through November 1.
Make some waves in seaside Sorrento or Capri
Optional Excursion - Capri: A Day on the Iconic Island
Today is free for you to explore Sorrento at your own pace. You could wander through Sorrento’s lovely gardens and churches, browse the quaint shops along its cobblestoned alleyways or sit at a cafe and people-watch. Alternatively, consider joining an optional excursion to the glamorous island of Capri, a playground for the rich since the Roman times. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
Capri: A Day on the Iconic Island $105* pp
Travel by ferry to the fabled Isle of Capri, a beloved resort since the days of the Roman Republic. Weather permitting, you’ll enjoy a mini-cruise around the island. Later, you'll enjoy free time to discover why everyone from Roman emperors to Sophia Loren wants to spend their vacation in Capri. If weather prohibits a mini-cruise, you’ll travel to the village of Anacapri, which offers stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.
Extend Your Stay
Add Rome City Stay $389*
Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and exuberant street life, no other city comes close.
Rome2 nights - hotel info
Frescos to arias, artistic inspiration is endless here
Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City
Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors
Enjoy a free day in Rome. You might choose to join our optional excursion to Vatican City. This evening, join our optional Dinner with Tenors excursion.
Must be booked 70 days before departure
Iconic Sights: Vatican City $89* pp
This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you'll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world's most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you'll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you'll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Finally, you'll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sunday.
Dinner with Tenors $79* pp
End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & Packing Tips
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable in something more formal. Also, remember that bare legs and shoulders are officially not allowed in churches or other religious sites. Entrance may be denied on this basis.
There are no major health risks when traveling to Italy. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. Most of the staples of the Italian diet have already become favorites in America, but on your tour, be sure to try those less familiar pasta sauces and the vast range of cured hams, cheeses, rustic breads and desserts. In Puglia, the fertile countryside produces great quantities of olive oil, grain, tomatoes, grapes, artichokes, lettuce, fennel, peppers and onions. The region’s simple cuisine exalts these natural ingredients alongside the abundant fresh seafood and local lamb and beef. Puglia is renowned for its homemade pasta, made from local durum wheat and often formed in unusual shapes such as the “orecchiette” (little ears). The “calzone” (big sock), stuffed with onions, black olives, capers, tomatoes, pecorino cheese, anchovies and parsley, is a common snack here. Puglia’s primary meat is lamb, served roasted on a spit, stewed or fried, while beef is commonly used in meat sauce or for meatballs. As for seafood, oysters, mussels, cuttlefish, octopus and sea turtle are popular. Cheese made from sheep’s milk, including fresh ricotta and pecorino, is available everywhere. A hearty meal in Puglia is often finished with homegrown yellow or white melons, watermelons or grapes. For more authentic meals, try local trattorias, small, family-owned restaurants that tend to be set away from the main piazzas and squares. Italians tend to indulge in long meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks grappa or limoncello. American or English- style bars and pubs are not as common, although they can be found in the major cities and currently gaining in popularity, especially in Rome.
Arrival & Transportation Information
Round-trip flights arrive and depart in Naples. When you first arrive in Naples, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation on your tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the destination cities on foot or by public transportation.
Italy operates on the European standard of 220 volts.
Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
The euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/ bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Go Ahead Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/ CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
89.8% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
It took me 31 years...
I had been stationed in Southern Italy 31 years ago and had always meant to go back, but had not followed through. My son and daughter-in-law had been on 3 other Go Ahead Tours in Italy and suggested I may want to go along with them on this Puglia trip. I told them I am not one for "organized travel", but signed up anyway. I finished a full 5 course meal of crow. I had a truly great time! The hotel accommodations were all very nice, the tour bus clean and comfortable, the schedule flexible enough to give me my "wandering time". By travelling with Go Ahead, rather than on my own, I was exposed to places and information that I would probably have missed. The walking tours were of just the right duration, leaving me with free time to explore side streets, shops, etc. I even rented a small car in Lecce and drove to the little town I used to live in. My Italian neighbors of 31 years ago were still in the same apartment building! I got to have espresso with them and reconnect for a couple of hours before walking the town and visiting the old haunts. Linda, our tour director, did a very nice job for us and became a good friend. She was very personable and engaging, but also knew when to just let us have time to relax. I am a fan! Something this solo traveler never thought he would say of a tour company. Great trip! Great memories! I'll be back!!
A WONDERFUL LIFE
JUST LIKE THE CHRISTMAS MOVIE, BUT MUCH MORE UPLIFTING. "A WONDERFUL LIFE " IN SOUTHERN ITALY IS A TRIP FOR EVERYONE WHO ENJOYS ITALY! GREAT WEATHER, FOOD, ITINERARY, PEOPLE, SIGHTS, SOUNDS. SUCH A "GOOD FEELING TRIP" MY GROUP JUST LOVED IT AND WE WERE ALL FAMILY FOR THE 12 DAY TRIP. SO MANY WONDERFUL THINGS TO SEE AND LEARN ABOUT WITH THE GUIDANCE OF OUR TOUR GUIDE. SHE WAS A GEM. SO EDUCATED ABOUT ALL THE AREAS WE VISITED, SHE ANSWERED EVERY QUESTION WE HAD.. OUR BUS DRIVER WAS JUST AS WONDERFUL, HE HANDELD EVERY CURVE AND SIDE STREET WE VENTOURED ON WITH EXPERTISE. ONE OF MY MOST ENJOYABLE TRIPS TO ITALY.. THIS WAS MY 2ND TRIP WITH GO AHEAD AND THERE WILL BE MORE IN THE FUTURE!!
The best of the best
This ,by far, was the best tour we've ever had. I have traveled with many other tour companies ( Tauck, Trafalgar perillo, etc) but as of now I will only go with GO AHEAD !
Sea Kissed Heel of the Italian Boot!
We are only back from the "Puglia & Southern Italy Tour" a week and my head and heart are still there. From the moment we arrived and met by our fabulous tour guide Linda, until our unfortunately early departure, when she arose with us to see us off...we had the best trip ever. Having traveled many times to Italy on our own we decided on a tour this time to learn more about the region before returning to this wonderful area. Linda's knowledge of the history & architecture whether it was Romanesque, Gothic or Baroque was fascinating. The first night's dinner at Trattoria Medina was a great intro to tastes ahead. The unusual Pasta Patate e Provola, roasted peppers, eggplant parmesan and on and on. Our tour of Naples & the National Archaeological Museum and tour of Herculaneum was very informative. Benevento was a pleasant surprise as was our local guide there Antonio! The Church of St. Ilario and Arch of Trajan highlights as well as a delicious lunch of insalata di mare. The Nicotel Hotel in Barletta was nicely located at the seaside and the dinner at Il Brigatino provided by the tour, wonderful. An unusual folio di olivo pasta with mussels & clams stood out for me. As you have probably guessed one of the reasons for the trip was to sample the foods of Puglia and again Linda's knowledge and suggestions did not disappoint us. Another interesting stop was Castel del Monte, although void of furniture, the history of the castle and Frederick II was intriguing. The ride way up to Monte Sant' Angelo and our amazement that anyone would live there was an eye opener for sure. Bari was especially interesting, as I finally saw the orechiette ladies making the pasta and was able to taste the local dish with cime di rape, delizioso! A surprise stop at Polignano a mare for gelato was another highlight and a place we to which we will return. Lecce with all the "putti" and the Roman amphitheater, so impressive. The tour of the Duca Carlo Guarini Winery and the dinner that followed was like eating in some one's home. Outstanding! The next stop of Alberobello, the charming town of ancient cylindrical limestone houses capped by conical stone roofs... the trulli, were beautiful. We stayed at la Chiusa di Chietri a relaxing property, only wish we could have slept in one of the trullo. The dinner that evening at Masseria Papaperta was again over the top. Fabulous foods of the region especially the local cheeses and the setting at sunset hard to beat. Matera was incredible and the views and information brought to life the words of the famous Carlo Levi book " Christ Stopped at Eboli". Walking through the town later to where the locals were setting up for a concert that night, what a contrast! We finished our trip with a few days in Sorrento a repeat visit for us, but still lovely. The unusual Hotel Conca Park with it's long tunnel entrance ( but a golf cart provide if needed) provided a great view of the bay of Sorrento, the " 007" view". Over all it was a great trip and Linda is definitely an asset to Go Ahead Tours. Go Ahead Tours was great value and we look forward to traveling with them in the future. Our bus driver Pasquale was super also. And by the way our group this time was terrific, fun, well traveled group... hope to meet them again someday!
Roads Less Traveled
What a wonderful surprise - Puglia and southern Italy are not places I have read a lot about. But the scenery and UNESCO sites were fabulous, and Sorrento an unexpedted delight! Our fellow travelers had seen much of the more well-known parts of Italy and were relaxed and friendly. Tour guide Linda was extremely competent and made sure everyone was taken care of and informed. Most of the hotels were new, modern, and comfortable. I definitely would recommend this trip.
This was a beautiful, interesting tour of Puglia and Campania, made more so by our tour director, Dionysio.. I had always wanted to visit Alberobello's trulli and Matera's caves. The hotels were wonderful. Local guides were excellent. Thank you.
A Land Of Beauty with the Ultimate Tour Director
South Italy carries a mistaken image of being a poor and neglected region, so I did not expect much. To my surprise we discovered Puglia has a most beautifully green and undulating countryside covered with millions of well groomed olive trees dotted with Almond and Cherry groves that were in full blooms and interspersed with wide expanses wheat. Every town and castle we visited is unique in its architecture and treasures, Alberobelo and Matera displaying the most unusual ancient dwelling still in use today. The Adriatic sea has deep purplish hue to its water like a gem stone. The food was the most fresh and tasty one can imagine with inordinate amount of grilled vegetables and excellent wines. The tour director Dionisio is very knowledgable about every aspect of the whole area and its history, excellent organizer, very attentive to travelers needs, very friendly and good looking too - the ultimate tour director. This was a highly enjoyable trip.
Best Tour and Tour Director!
This was my first trip out of the United States. It was very special to me because I visited the place my mother was born and lived and where my father's family was born and lived. It was an amazing trip! Besides having a local guide in the towns I visited, I really enjoyed being able to have 2-3 hours to explore on my own. I came home with over 400 pictures of the most beautiful scenes and countryside I have ever seen. When I look at them, I still feel as though I'm still there. Dionisio, the Tour Director was great and very knowledgeable of all the places we visited. He spoke Italian and English. The driver, Pasquale, was the most amazing driver of such a huge vehicle, especially driving up a mountain. We all felt very safe and secure in his hands. I hope to someday take another trip, and it will definitely be with Go Ahead Tours. I would recommend them very highly. Thank you Dionisio and Pasquale for making my trip an amazing one! Angelanna
I've wanted to travel to southern Italy for years, and finally had the opportunity thanks to Go Ahead. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The Christmas lights were an added bonus; I'm not sure why, but I really didn't expect them! There was a holiday market the day we were in Benevento, and in Sorrento there was a special exhibit of presepi (creche scenes) by master artisans. I always wish there was more time in some particular place, but this tour was an excellent introduction to the region. We were a smaller group (23 people) and in general very congenial. Go Ahead's tour directors are always very good, but Linda was exceptional. The hotels were all very good, as were included meals (included meals in Italy always seem to be much better than those on other tours!). The vast majority of the hotel rooms were HUGE compared to most I've stayed in in Europe. I'm already looking forward to my next tour!
Tour Director GREAT, but tour only good
On the whole we enjoyed the tour and probably got our money's worth. The hotels were all three or four star, and the accomodations were good. The sights were very good, and the local tour guides seemed to know their stuff. The tour director was efficient, extremely well organized and although her patience was taxed by some tour members (all tours I have been on have at least one to three cranks) she saw to everyone's needs and requests in a tactful, most appropriate and responsive manner. The thing that soured us touring as a whole was 1) Eating dinner in hotels which was on 3 or 4 occasions, where one is limited to a set menu; 2) Having dinner in a restaurant, where one is also limited to a set menu, which is only marginally better; 3) Having been brought to a restaurant named "Moderna" in Naples, where we dined on a set menu which was thrown at us with great speed; the servers even attempted to clear plates before people were finished, and on our way out, we observed other tour groups dining on clearly superior food. This, I lay at the feet of Go Ahead, especially if you use this restaurant again. 4) In the "Land of Slow Food" this was clearly disgraceful, and ticked off almost everyone on the tour. 5) I strongly urge GO AHEAD TOURS to provide for tour members to choose from the restaurant menu if having dinner at a local restaurant, and the same if compelled to dine at a hotel. We should point out that on occasions when dinner was scheduled at a hotel, we opted to find a local restaurant, and did quite well.