Full of southern soul, beautifully sun-bleached, weathered and worn, this is Italy as its most ancient. Rugged mountains, fiery volcanoes and glittering coastal grottoes wait to be explored.
- Visit Capri, a jewel of an island with superb scenery and cliff walks
- Take the train directly to Pompeii to gain an unparalleled glimpse into ancient Roman life
- Visit Ostuni one of the most stunning hill-top towns in Southern Italy
- Explore the exuberant city of Lecce, full of Baroque architecture and opulent churches
- Choose between any number of traditional, family-run restaurants for a pizza, sizzling hot straight from a wood fired oven
Amalfi Coast and Puglia
On the south west coast of Italy you will find the 'Amalfi Coast', a truly spectacular stretch of coastline and arguably one of Italy’s most scenic areas. Based in Sorrento explore the surrounding coastal towns of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello, with a trip to the island of Capri. Continue into the neigbouring region of Puglia, which makes up the heel of Italy. Puglia is a delightful part of the country which is far less-known or explored but round every corner are hidden treasures to be found. Clean sea and reliable sunshine make this region popular with domestic tourists and there are plenty of pretty villas, top-of-the-range spa hotels in converted masserias (ancient white farm estate houses) to agriturisomo places, where you can holiday among olive groves and orchards.
Fasano, Trani, castel del monte, alberobello, martina franca
From Sorrento you are driven inland across 'the boot' into 'the heel' of Italy. Located on the Adriatic coast, Fasano is mostly unspoilt with small coves cutting into the limestone, long sandy beaches backed by sand dunes and crystal clear seas. From here visit Trani, an 11th century cathedral, Castel del Monte and Alberobello, a small town made a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unusual districts of trulli (white-washed conical-roofed houses). Also during your stay visit Martina Franca, which has a lovely historic centre. A memorable maze of winding alleys, where whitewashed simplicity sits side by side with baroque extravagance.
Your journey includes a stop at Matera, one of the most interesting, unusual and memorable destinations in Italy. Still pretty much undiscovered, it is a town famous for its extensive cave-dwelling districts, the sassi. Curious visitors can stay in caves, wander the lanes alongside the picturesque cave-filled cliffs, and learn the history of this fascinating place.
Finally spend a few days in Lecce, a riot of cherubs; the Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy. Sometimes described as the 'Florence of the Baroque' or the 'Rome of the South', Lecce is really the only city destination in mainland Italy south of Naples which attracts tourism. Lecce's history goes back a long way - you can still see ruins of a Roman theatre and amphitheatre - but the period which led to the town's current fame was the 17th century. A period of prosperity led to grand developments and the wholesale construction of palaces and churches. These buildings adapted the fashionable Baroque style to the soft local stone, with decorations and cherubs extravagantly covering facades and doorways.
During your stay in Lecce, spend some time in Otranto, a historic seaside town and port on the Adriatic. It's a small place with a lovely atmosphere, and makes a good destination for a day trip. The picture-perfect blue waters, white buildings and diving rocks make Otranto the frequent cover star of maps, books and articles about Puglia.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.