“Discover Basilicata” Tour​

October 4 – 10, 2018
Authentic Italy in Basilicata
Italy’s Secret Southern Region
Sitting on the instep of Italy’s boot, and embedded between Calabria and Puglia, Basilicata is one of Italy’s lesser known regions. One does not stumble across this region accidentally but chooses to visit in search of a new experience, plunging into places where silence, colors, scents, and flavors remove the visitor from the frenzy and stress of modern life and offers unique sensations.

Basilicata’s dramatic history is infused with the influences of Greek, French, Spanish and Arabian invaders who left their footprint on the Byzantine rock churches, fortified towns and medieval castles, and which today continues to influence the colorful festivals, traditions, and exquisite cuisine. And it is here that the most authentic Italy can be found.

To discover this real side of Italy, we’ll take you on excursions to visit the tiny villages of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, that seem to be clinging to the rocky cliffside, and the mysterious ghost town of Craco. We’ll also spend a day in Matera (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and see its stunning Paleolithic settlements, the “Sassi” – a collection of cave-like homes carved out of the rocky hills that date back over 9,000 years. You’ll walk the streets that were used as a backdrop and made famous in Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”.

Haven’t heard of these towns and places in Italy? That’s because they remain “untouched” – reminiscent of the unspoiled and genuine Italy, evoking an appreciation for the country’s least-exploited destination. It’s in these sites that you will discover the true Southern Italy and these lesser-known locations with which will ensure you experience these regions at their most authentic.

This tour has been designed especially to immerse you in the local culture. Every day you’ll explore a unique area of Basilicata and discover its incredible beauty: architecture, sacred sites, characteristic historic towns, food and wine, and most importantly, its locals.

Our “Discover Basilicata” Tour is a fully-escorted tour with all of your accommodations, excursions & tours, meals, transportation and airport transfers completely arranged and included. Yet you’ll have plenty of free time to relax and explore on your own and enjoy the unique native lifestyle.

This will be a journey of exploration of interesting and historical villages, art, culture and tradition, combined with incredible foods and wine, and above all, the genuine, authentic atmosphere.

Book your trip NOW!!! I had the most delightful trip. Everything was arranged perfectly. They really listened to what I wanted and didn’t want in my itinerary. We went to places I never would have found on my own. Worth every penny/euro. I have been telling all my friends that want to travel to Italy about Vitalia.

Martha F

Catherine, I can’t thank you enough for all the information! Great advice and insights! Thank you for all the travel and restaurant info as well. I have a feeling this is going to make the difference between a good stay and a great stay! You’re providing a great service! Thank you so much. So exciting and looking forward to trying your recommendations in Rome!

M.H.

Our first trip to Italy and it won’t be our last! We initially had to cancel our trip due to a family emergency but then were able to reschedule it 9 months later. Catherine was very understanding and helped us through everything. What could have been a disaster, turned into the trip of a lifetime. We could not thank her enough for making this trip such a memorable one!

J.M.

Tour Highlights

  • ​7 Nights in Basilicata in a quaint agriturismo set amongst olive & orange groves
  • Private guided walking tour of Matera
  • Visit several "ghost towns"
  • Indulge in several sommelier guided wine tastings
  • Enjoy an evening with local folk musicians & dancers
  • Watch local artisan demonstrations
  • Shop at local markets
  • Learn to make pasta and mozzarella in hands-on cooking lessons
  • Visit an artisan break baker and learn about the traditional Lucana bread
  • Explore small villages and intimate locations not often visited.
  • Learn about the regional cuisine and local specialty dishes.
  • Experience an olive harvest and olive oil tasting
Itinerary:*
Day 1 - Arrival Day/ Benvenuto!

Welcome to Southern Italy! After arriving to the Bari airport, the group will be met by our private driver for the week and transfer us to our lodgings.

Your accommodations for the next seven nights is in a typical local agriturismo (farmhouse), situated about 5 miles from Matera (Basilicata) in a nature reserve that is full of wildlife and greenery.

Each room has access to a large terrace where you can enjoy spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding area or perfect to sit outside with a glass of wine!

All of the food served at meals at our agriturismo is locally produced, organic, and typical of this region of Southern Italy. The farm grows a range of delicious fresh produce including, olives, eggplant, oranges, cherries, watermelons and much, much more. In addition, there are also many donkeys, sheep, chickens, cats and dogs that live at the farm. ​

During your free time you can take a stroll through the woods, borrow one of the bikes or even spend some time bird watching. Enjoy a welcome aperitivo and then the rest of the afternoon & evening is yours to explore or relax until our group Welcome Dinner. (A, D)

Day 2 - Matera: The Town of Stone

After breakfast at our agriturismo, we'll head off to Matera. Matera, "The town of Stone" became the first site in the world declared a "cultural landscape" by UNESCO World Heritage. This unique town, built into a hillside where caves and houses merge together, is a place where great directors of cinema have set their films due to its penetrating and evocative atmosphere. Enjoy a private guided walking tour, see what a sassi home used to look like, and visit some of the rupestrian churches. After lunch we'll visit an artisan and get a hands-on lesson on how to make some of the local crafts, followed by by a bread workshop to learn how to make the traditional Lucana bread.

Dinner tonight at our agriturismo with local wines. (B, L, D)

Day 3 - Olive Harvest and Pasta Workshop

Today after our breakfast, we'll head out to the farm's olive grove, where we'll help in the annual fall harvest. We'll learn all about growing olives harvesting, and the production of olive oil. Then it's off to the mill to watch our hard work be pressed into the liquid gold known as Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We'll also get a chance to learn how to taste olive oil and what the qualities of a good olive oil are. In the afternoon we'll have a pasta workshop. This hands-on lesson offers you the chance to learn how to make the various types of fresh pasta that define Southern Italian cuisine. You'll learn all the various techniques that go into making the wide variety of shapes of pasta made in this part of Italy - from cavatelli to orecchiette.

Then relax for the rest of the afternoon before we head back into Matera to visit a fascinating wine bar cave. Here we'll enjoy a light dinner combined with a wine-pairing. Truly a unique experience. (B, L, D)

Day 4 - A Day in Local Villages & Ghost Towns

After a leisurely breakfast at our accommodations, we will head off to see some very unique and interesting local villages in the Basilicata region - one is even a ghost town!

For nearly fifty years, the town of Craco has stood uninhabited. In 1963, the last 1,800 residents were forced to leave this village for their own safety due to the risk of earthquakes and landslides.

Today, thanks to the dramatic landscape and unique atmosphere, Craco has been the set of many movies including 'Saving Grace' , James Bond 'Quantum of Solace' and the hanging of Judas scene in Mel Gibson’s the 'Passion of the Christ'.

We'll also visit two other tiny villages in this area with some very unique history. Dinner with local wines at our villa. (B, L, D)

Day 5 - Cheese & Wine

Today after our breakfast, you'll learn all about fresh cow milk cheeses and how to make fresh mozzarella with the local "Casaro" (cheesemaker).

This resident cheesemakercomes from a long line of Southern Italy mozzarella makers and there's not many people in the world who know more about this than him.

In this demonstration we will guide you through the process of making this wonderful cheese and then, of course, you'll get to taste it!

In addition to the fresh mozzarella that we will make, we will have the opportunity to taste some of the other local cheeses of this region.

Italian cheese is world famous but some of the most well known Italian cheeses can be found in Southern Italy.

After lunch, we'll enjoy a special wine tasting. In this wine tasting experience, we'll lay out a variety of Southern Italian wines for you to taste with our own 'Sommelier' or (wine expert) to guide you through the different flavors. (B, L, D)

Day 6 - The Dolomites of the South

After breakfast, we'll depart for the Dolomites of the South, where you can find the beautiful mountain towns of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. Set amongst majestic mountains and lush scenery, these towns will show you yet another side to the wonder that is Basilicata.

Both villages belong to the “I Borghi più belli d'Italia” (The most beautiful villages of Italy), an association of small Italian towns of historical interest​.

Here you will also find the “Volo dell’Angelo (flight of the angel) – A zip line adventure that takes you on a journey between the peaks of Castelmezzano to the village of Pietrapertosa.

It is one of Basilicata’s most exhilarating tourist attractions that is not for the faint of heart.
Dinner with local wines at our agriturismo this evening.(B, L, D)

Day 7 - Day Trip to Puglia

After breakfast at our agriturismo, we'll head out to see some sites in the region of Puglia. We'll first stop in Poginano a Mare, a cozy and charming little town on the Adriatic coast with beautiful narrow streets, romantic balconies, and breathtaking views of the sea.

For lunch, we'll be savoring some local seafood delights (options available for non-seafood eaters).

In the afternoon, we will travel on to explore another iconic town of Puglia: Alberobello. This fairytale town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and famous for its unique "Trulli" - the conical shaped homes.
Farewell dinner tonight at our villa. (B, L, D)​

Day 8 - Departure Day

Early morning breakfast at our agriturismo as we say our goodbyes.

We'll board our vans and depart for the Bari Airport.

Bid Arrivederci to Italy! (B)

Key: A = Aperitivo / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner​,  included

*Itineraries are subject to change. Vitalia Tours and its partners will strive to provide you with the best possible tour and experience. It is our intention to adhere to the outlined itinerary as published. However, please be advised that it may be occasionally necessary to substitute an activity due to events that cannot be predicted. Therefore, Vitalia Tours reserves the right to make changes in accommodations, tours or excursions, meals, and itineraries at any time should it become necessary or desirable.

This Tour Includes:

  • Small group size: Maximum of only 12 travelers per group
  • 7 nights in an agriturismo in Basilicata
  • Transfer to and from Bari airport (BRI)
  • All breakfasts, buffet style
  • All lunches and dinners
  • Regional wines with most meals
  • Land transportation for the duration of the tour
  • Private full-time escort, interpreter and driver
  • Private bus/van for our daily excursions
  • All excursions and entrance fees as outlined by the itinerary
  • Several wine tasting events
  • Pasta making lesson
  • Mozzarella making demonstration
  • Guided walking tours throughout
  • Cheese & olive oil tasting events
  • Pre-trip information packet
  • Local VAT taxes and government fees, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, and parking fees

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance*
  • Travel documents & fees: i.e. passport and visas (if required)
  • Lunch on arrival day, and 2 other days
  • Any telephone, cell, data & internet usage**
  • Items of a personal nature​
  • Travel-related expenses outside of the tour itinerary
  • Any food or beverage ordered by traveler that is not included or presented during meals including: wine and other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks & gelato
  • Any taxes on personal items purchased
  • Optional tips to guides, staff or drivers. These are not required and are given at your discretion.

* We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment. This is to ensure that you are covered in the event of loss of deposit and cancellation fees, medical emergency or health expenses, personal accident, flight cancellation or delays and to protect your luggage against any loss or damage.​ ​​​​​​ ​

** There is free wifi at our accommodations

Details
Dates: October 4 - 10, 2018
8 Days/7 Nights

Where: Basilicata
Group size: 6-12 Guests Maximum

Tour Cost: $3,400 USD per person/double occupancy
$450 USD single supplement

Deposit: 50% of tour cost at time of booking to reserve your spot

Balance due: 60 Days prior to travel date

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