At the heel of the Italian boot, Puglia is a land of wild beauty where the stark rocky coastline seems to fall into the sea; a land of ancient olive groves and carpets of flowers, where the light dazzles against the white of the Southern baroque piazze.
As sure as the sea in Puglia is of the clearest turquoise, the food that comes out of the kitchens all over the region is simply wonderful. I have memories of my first trip, of sandy feet tucked under tables on tiny streets, of generous platters piled with small fried morsels, of vegetables dressed up in the lively, fruity oil of the region and washed down with their crisp Rosato.
And then there are the artisans. Ceramics workshops, rug weavers, tailors. The town of Grottaglie, that I wrote about here, has about 50 workshops waiting to be explored. There is the simply wonderful antiques fair at Martina Franca, full, and I mean really full, of linen, ceramics, furniture and collectables. The tours I ran with my friend Cristiana Biraschi, interior designer and Puglia junkie, in 2018 and 2019 to the artisan towns of central Puglia went so well, that this year, all things going well, we are planning a a late Spring and autumn edition planned. Details below. And yes, we help with shipping!
17-20 May, 3 nights. Accommodation at Masseria Celano; a thoughtfully restored Masseria and working organic farm near Grottaglie with beautiful internal garden and artisan details everywhere.
ROUGH ITINERARY: (prices only indicative)
Friday .. May late morning / afternoon: arrival, transfer from Brindisi, check in and light lunch at Masseria Celano.
Friday afternoon/evening: Grottaglie! Our first taste of Italy’s ceramic lovers’ town. We’ll have special access to visit the workshops; watch the artisans at work and learn about the history of this fascinating town that has been moulding clay since the time of the Greeks. Welcome dinner at Macchaiviva Bistrot.
Saturday .. : Wildflowers, sea urchins and white towns. After a leisurely breakfast we’ll travel through the Valle d’Itria to the coast (visiting a cheesemaker along the way) to eat sea urchins for lunch.
There will be time to stop and admire the wildflowers and centuries old olive trees, and to swing by Grottaglie on the way home to visit more of the workshops. Relaxed dinner at the Masseria.
Sunday ..: We’ll make an early start for the flea market at Martina Franca, stopping along the way for Bocconotti pastries and coffee at a historic bar, before hitting the market.
Lunch in Ceglie Messapica, before returning to the masseria. We’ll make orecchiette in the masseria’s open kitchen for dinner.
Monday 21: Breakfast at the Masseria and transfer to Brindisi – airport and station
Includes 3 nights accommodation. All meals, including wine. All transport around Puglia, including airport transfers (as stipulated).
Small apartment with own bathroom – single share 1200 euro
– twin share 950 euro
Private room (2 avail) w own bathroom in large shared apart – single share 1100 euro
– twin share 900 euro
Private small room, own bathroom – single share 1000 euro
*Pricing for couples available on request
The fine print:
The retreats will take place with a minimum of four and a maximum of 6 participants. If the minimum is not reached, the retreat will be cancelled, and you will be refunded 100%. The itinerary is a guide and changes will be made in the case of inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances. Replacement activities will of course be equally wonderful!
TRANSFERS: Two transfers will be arranged for arrival at Brindisi airport on the arrival day , and one for departure day (Brindisi airport and train station). Outside these times, participants may request a private transfer and will be required to pay a 50 – 100 euro supplement (dependent on no. of pax).