Follow this link for the complete itinerary, pricing, and contact information: October Itinerary for Aliza Green
You’ve traveled to Italy before, perhaps to Rome, Florence, and Venice or to Tuscany and Lazio and loved every minute, especially the food, restaurants, and markets. Maybe you’re ready to experience a whole new region of Italy–Puglia, which I call “land of 1,000-year-old olive trees,” because of its myriad ancient, wind-twisted and gnarled trees. The ancient inhabitants of this region at the heel of Italy’s boot, called it Messapia, “the land between two waters,” because of its unique peninsular location between the Adriatic to the East and the Ionian Sea to the West. (Eighty percent of Italy’s olive oil comes from this region as does an equal percentage of its semolina.)
I will be leading an exciting and reasonably priced 7-night culinary tour this October exploring the culture, history, and cuisine of Puglia—where many cultures come together including Greek, Arab, Spanish, and Turkish. It’s common to see names like Diaz and Lopez and faces that are clearly Turkish and Arab. Because Puglia has been relatively isolated, the food is quite pure and not at all industrialized. Fish are caught in sight of the restaurants where they are served. Fresh burrata and other cheeses are made daily by local artisans (we’ll visit one and learn how it’s made).
Wild foods like wild asparagus, cardoncelli mushrooms, wild fennel—which grows profusely, cicoria, mushrooms, and lampasciuoli (wild hyacinthe bulbs) are served in season. The famed hand-formed orecchiette (ear-shaped semolina pasta) are made by the skilled pastai (pasta makers) in Bari Vecchia, the old part of the port city of Bari, which we will be visiting (it’s also where you’ll be flying into from Rome or Frankfurt).
We’ll be staying a beautiful masseria—the local word for a villa—with all private baths, its own garden where they harvest most of the food served there including famed local almonds, tomatoes, figs, olives, and prickly pears. Here is a link to their website:, http://www.masseriamontenapoleone.com/index.html.
Here is a link to a map showing some of the places we’ll be visiting: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=209049121457044554502.0004cfe326070fdd396a8&ie=UTF8&ll=40.736852,17.361145&spn=1.015586,2.705383&t=m&z=9&vpsrc=1>
The tour includes:
- Two cooking classes with myself and a top local chef, Rocco Cartia www.roccocartia.com
- Visits to Unesco world heritage site of Matera and Alberobello
- Lunch and wine tasting at the beautifully restored villa of Li Velli
- Professionally guided tour of Lecce, (the Florence of Southern Italy)
- Two local market visits
- Tasting of local speciality liqueurs at Alberobello with a master sommerlier
- Visit to Ostuni, “the white city” overlooking the plain and full of charming, steep winding streets—a personal favorite
- Meals at charming small local restaurants serving typical and innovative cucina
- Gala dinner at the unique Il Frantoia, a restored 15th century olive mill where each course is prepared daily as part of a constantly changing tasting menu featuring the many unusual herbs, flowers, citrus fruits, and various olive varieties grown organically on the property. (The mill presses four different kinds of oils.) http://www.masseriailfrantoio.it/cuisine.htm.
The group size is a minimum of 12 and a maximum of about 15. We will be working with Antonello Losito and his team at Southern Visions Travel (http://www.southernvisionstravel.com/)—Antonello is both charming and highly professional and works with a team of experienced specialists that help make every detail of our tour memorable—in a good way! I spent a week with Antonello et al in April and fell in love with this up-and-coming region of Italy.