Puglia & Southern Italy 12 days
92.0% 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
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
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
Dinner, Breakfast (in flight)
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
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
Museum of Sannio, Santa Sofia Cloister
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 all-day 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 specialities and a tasting of the region’s best wines.
Otranto with Dinner & Wine Tasting $99* 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. You’ll explore Otranto’s old town and the Romanesque church at the center of town. Later, enjoy 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 irridescent 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
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 your dinner is included.
Make some waves in seaside Sorrento or Capri
Optional Excursion - Capri: A Day on the Iconic Island
Optional Excursion - Tarantella Show: Traditional Music & Dance
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, you might wish to attend our optional Tarantella Dinner and Show, featuring local cuisine and a lively performance highlighting the tarantella, a mesmerizing Italian folk dance.
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.
Tarantella Show: Traditional Music & Dance $79* pp
Tarantella dancing is a centuries-old folk tradition in this part of 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 if one is bitten by a tarantula. Savor a locally prepared dinner at the Teatro Tasso, then watch a live performance featuring the intricate footwork of the tarantella, demonstrated by a troupe of authentic folk dancers. Please note: This optional is seasonal from March 1-November 1.
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 $85* 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
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.
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.
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.
Transportation / Walking on tour
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.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
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.
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 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.
92.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
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 !
Interesting area of Italy
This was a good tour of an area of Italy that is not much visited by tourists. We have traveled many, many times through Italy, south to north including, the Alps, Sicily and Sardinia and this was a most interesting trip/area. But, there were way too many people on this tour to make it as good as it could have been. Rest stops were overwhelmed by a bus load of 45 people, therefore, time was wasted for sightseeing. Not to mention that the bus was not very comfortable nor did it have an emergency bathroom. Also, there were several people that should not have been traveling alone, therefore, time was wasted with taking care of them and their problems. Go Ahead needs to make sure that people are fit to travel and if not, do not inconvenience others while on tour with these folks' problems. We really feel cheated due to this and the other problems I have stated. People in the group did not abide by the time allowed for rest stops; case in point, a 45 minute rest stop for a rest room break and a snack turned into two hours as many decided that they would have complete dinners along with wine, etc. It was an insult to those of us that were back on the bus in the allotted time of 45 minutes and just having a quick snack as we had to sit and wait and wait!! Something should have been done to not have allowed this. Other than these complaints, the Puglia area of Italy is most interesting and if Go Ahead addresses these problems and issues it will be an exceptional tour! Sorry that we did not have the trip we had hoped for, though.
Too many people
This tour could have been fabulous for the beautiful sites there were to see but there were too many people. 45 people means the bus is crowded, rest stops cannot handle the number of people, and the number of crazies increases. Our tour director did the best she could and we had some wonderful local guides, but we missed time in each place we visited because rest stops were too long and the crazies added to the pandemonium. Would love to have had 30-35 people on this tour to really enjoy the beauty of Puglia.
Most Fabulous Tour Director
Linda was fabulous. I would love to take another tour with her. Her knowledge, patience and organization made the tour wonderful.
This tour was excellent and exceeded my expectations. Our tour director, Linda, was a wealth of information. Every day we were in a unique town and every day had plenty of time to tour, eat and shop. We had a great bus driver also. All restaurants selected by Linda were excellent. She helped everyone with their individual plans patiently. There was so much to see and learn. She was a delight. I would highly recommend this tour.
This tour of Southern Italy, the Puglia region was simply AMAZING! I have to say that our tour director, Antonio, made the trip even more spectacular! He was incredible! The cities we visited were more than words can express...again, AMAZING! Although all the hotels were not the best...it really didn't matter because the tours were beyond great!!! The value of this experience was incredible! We have traveled all over the world and I would say that this tour will be one of the top best!
Should be called "a culinary tour"
This itinerary was the best I've ever done. We all decided that it should be listed as a culinary tour because the food was outstanding. This area is not known or explored by many Americans but they don't know what they are missing! Some of us are actually planning on going again. After traveling to every region of Italy in more than 50 trips there, this was truly my favorite.
This was my second tour to Italy with Go Ahead Tours. It was AMAZING!!!! Everything was perfect from Group members, excellent tour director Rebecca and great driver Mario. Puglia & Southern Italy not only offers you a glimpse of past history within the churches, museums, architecture and landscapes but an opportunity to really experience the Italian culture. I was given so many warnings about traveling to Naples and it became one of the best highlights of my trip. Bari Region, Lecce and Trulli Valley were BEAUTIFUL with many experiences of these areas welcoming you directly into the Italian culture through food, festivals, beaches, weddings and more. This tour reveals the hidden treasures of Italy not yet saturated with tourists that offers not just history but a true culture experience of this country. I loved riding through the mountains and lounging around the Seas. Sorrento was beautiful but was a short stay, however it offered a one hour bus ride or private car down to the Amalfi Coast that was SPECTACULAR!!!…. I’m ready to go back!!!!
Good tour to another part of Italy
The big advantage of this tour is a chance to visit a part of Italy that most of us have not visited and that is not overrun by tourists. Puglia has many historic sites but is not crowded. At the end of the tour, I took the optional trip to Capri. I will never return there. Remembering it from a couple decades ago, it is now more crowded than Disneyland and has totally lost its charm. Puglia is still pure. See it before it, too, is ruined. Now for a few minor complaints. 1. A couple of the hotels had virtually nonexistant air conditioning. At one, the lowest you could set the air conditioning was the equivalent of 80 degrees F. 2. The cave tour was pretty uninteresting. It is just another cave. No historic context about being the gateway to hell was mentioned. Surely another historic site could be found instead. 3. Go Ahead has the unpleasant tendency to start and end their tours in the middle of the week. So, if you take a tour, especially with extension, it may run from friday til the second tuesday, being spread over three work weeks instead of two. For those of us still working, this is a major scheduling problem and has caused me to choose other companies that can fit their tours into two week blocks instead. Readjusting the tours by a day or two would really make it easier to take time off and therefore allow more of us to take Go Ahead tours more often. 4. One of the advantages of Go Ahead Tours versus other companies is that the tour size usually is pretty small(usually in the 20s at most in my experience). This tour had 38 people, which is comparable to your competitors, and became really cumbersome. Please keep the tour size down, if possible. You can always schedule more tours if the tour is popular. 5. Some of the local guides seem to think we are more interested hearing a lecture from them than seeing the sights. It would be better for them to keep things brief and allow more time to look around. Please note that this problem is most definitely not unique to this tour or tour company. All in all, I am really happy with the tour. After traveling for 25 years and visiting over 100 countries, I love these tours to parts of countries that are usually off the tourist track but still full of history. When I can find them, these are the tours I will be taking in the future.