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Southern Italy 2017

05/09/17 – 05/23/17


Everything you need to know...

Travel with 7 of your friends on this exclusive 14 day tour of Rome and Puglia. Your tour guide, Gioacchino, will introduce you to all of his secret spots, as you explore regions seldom visited by tourists. The tour begins in Rome and works it’s way down to Puglia, a region located in ‘the heel of the boot’. Puglia, dotted with beautiful small towns in shades of white and gold, is full of historical ruins, cathedrals, baroque cities, harbors, endless coastlines and some of the best food producers in Italy. You’ll stay a week in Puglia at a private villa by the sea, with Gioacchino cooking all of your dinners. Stress-free travel at its best! We take care of everything so you can enjoy this experience of a lifetime!

Along this 2 week journey you’ll visit artisan producers, dine at the finest restaurants, take a boat excursion, cook with a professional chef and enjoy all that Italy has to offer. On the tour, you’ll enjoy traditional dishes from set menus featuring a variety of fresh, local, in season ingredients. Inclusive in the trip are all breakfasts, three lunches and nine dinners (including wine). 

Secure your spot on this tour by downloading the Reservation Form. Send all completed forms to cindy@palmerstours.com.

$9,500 per person

05/09/17 – 05/23/17
*8 person maximum

Rome, Matera, Otranto, Polignano a Mare

Cheese, Olive Oil, Wine

– Live cooking at the villa
– Private boat excursion
– Olive Oil tasting
– Shopping
– Free time in Rome

Breakfast Daily
07 Lunches
11 Dinners


05/09/17 – 05/23/17

Tuesday, May 9th

Upon arrival to Rome Airport, a private van will transfer you from the Rome Airport to the Hotel Raphael in Rome. You will have free time in Rome to explore the city and all the history is has to offer. We will gather together later this evening for a meet-and-greet as well as welcome snacks and drinks. Our welcome dinner tonight will be at Antico Arco Restaurant – Piazzale Aurelio. Hotel accommodations for this evening will be at the gorgeous Hotel Raphael centered in Rome.


Wednesday, May 10th

After breakfast, we will head to the famous Campo De’ Fiori Market for a visit. Lunch today will be on your own in Rome, so be sure to speak with Gioacchino for suggestions. After lunch, we’ll have a guided tour of Rome making stops at the Spanish steps, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and more! Tonight’s dinner will be street food from one of the many delicious spots in Rome.


Thursday, May 11th

Pack your bags….we’re off to Matera! We have a 5 hour drive ahead of us so be sure to bring your favorite book or just enjoy the incredible scenery along the way. Upon arrival to Hotel Palazzo degli Abati, you’ll have time to freshen up before we head out on our guided tour of the town. Matera’s ancient neighborhoods, known as Sassi, are a series of grottoes carved out of limestone, teetering on the edge of a ravine. It’s one of the most unique and spectacular places you can visit in Italy…or anywhere in the world! Will will enjoy a group dinner tonight.


Friday, May 12th

Off we go to Pomarico, which is about a 40 minute drive. We’ll be visiting a well-respected cheese and Extra Virgin Olive Oil producer, Azienda Agricola Cavalli (one of our favorite Olive Oils at Palmer’s Market!). We’ll be helping make cheese and later enjoy a delicious tasting lunch. The rest of the day is yours to explore and get dinner on your own.


Saturday, May 13th

This morning, after breakfast, we will head to our private villa in Otranto, which lies on the heel of the boot. Breathtaking views of the Adriatic Ocean and Greece await you. Today you’ll have the afternoon to yourself…settle in at the villa, take a swim in your private pool or visit the local market to stock your pantry. You are on your own to cook in your villa tonight.


Sunday, May 14th

Coffee with a view doesn’t get better than this! After breakfast, we’ll have a guided tour of Lecce and then enjoy lunch on your own. This region is rich in Baroque architectural monuments found throughout the city and is commonly nicknamed “The Florence of the South”. This afternoon you can enjoy free time at the villa or head to the beach or local shopping areas. While you are out exploring, your guide and chef, Gioacchino, will be preparing dinner for everyone at the villa!


Monday, May 15th

Today, we’ll visit Merico Company, an Extra Virgin Olive Oil producer, to stroll through their historic olive groves. Here, we’ll enjoy a tasting lunch in their restaurant, Società Merico Company. Afterwards, the afternoon is yours to enjoy.

Tonight, we’ll head to the town of Gallipoli which is divided into 2 areas: the modern and the old town. The old town is located on a limestone island, linked to the mainland by a bridge built in the 16th century. You will have free time to explore Gallipoli before we have a group dinner tonight at Trattoria Portolano. Traditional vaulted stone ceilings tower over the tables in Portolano’s intimate interior environment steeped in the atmosphere of the sea.


Tuesday, May 16th

This morning we’ll head to the crystal clear waves of Pescoluse beach. It’s attractive sand dunes create natural barrier between the fine white sandy beach and the road, which runs parallel to the coast. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures of the early morning for a peaceful walk along the endless sands. Enjoy lunch on your own today in Gallipoli. We’ll head back to the villa where you can relax or head out to shop! Dinner will at the villa tonight, prepared by Chef Gioacchino.


Wednesday, May 17th

After breakfast at the villa, we’ll be visiting a well-known wine producer, Castel di Salve. We’ll have a tasting lunch at the winery before heading back to the villa. On the ride back we’ll stop at Punta Ristola Leuca, Ciolo, Castro and Porto Badisco. Upon arrival back to our villa, you can spend some free time on your own before we prepare for dinner tonight at Osteria degli Spiriti in Lecce. This Michelin rated restaurant is sure to impress with its cuisine, all accompanied by the best wines and a traditional Italian ambiance.

DAY 10

Thursday, May 18th

After breakfast, we’ll head to Leuca where we’ll take a private boat ride to visit the marine grottoes. While on the boat, we’ll enjoy a traditional lunch.

Once we dock, we’ll head back to Otranto to the Cave of Bauxite. This cave is one of the most extraordinary places in Puglia. Located next to the famous beaches of Salento, this is definitely one the most captivating areas to see in Puglia. Enjoy some free time at the villa this afternoon before our cooking class/dinner tonight.

DAY 11

Friday, May 19th

After breakfast, we’ll head to Presicce, a tranquil town with an air of elegance and class. The curvy narrow streets meander past mansions decorated with arched windows, carved columns and wrought iron.

We will be visiting underground olive presses where some of Italy’s best olive oil is produced. Lunch today will be on your own in Otranto. This afternoon, we’ll have some beach time at Baia dei Turchi. The crystal clear blue waters are out-of-this-world! We will be dining in a selected restaurant tonight in Otranto.

DAY 12

Saturday, May 20th

After enjoying our last breakfast at the villa, we’ll gather all of our luggage and check out. A private van transfer will take us from Otranto to the awe-inspiring city of Ostuni. This town is full of little white villas and buildings and is commonly referred to a the “White Town.” Be sure to explore the Ostuni Cathedral during your free time this afternoon.

Lunch today is at the Osteria del Tempo Perso. The interior cave-like setting of this restaurant sits on a grotto overlooking the crystal clear waters which is truly a view of a lifetime! After, we’ll head to Polignano a Mare where we’ll check into the Hotel San Tommaso. You will have free time for the rest of the day to explore Polignano a Mare and to enjoy dinner on your own.

DAY 13

Sunday, May 21st

Enjoy breakfast this morning at the hotel before we depart for Alberobello. We’ll partake in a guided tour of this region making a visit to the unique ‘trulli’ buildings, which are now considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll have lunch at Il Trullo D’Oro Restaurant…a hidden treasure!

After we’ll head back to the hotel in Polignano a Mare where you’ll have free time to explore on your own. Tonight, we will have a group dinner at the Locanda dell’Abbazia, a charming restaurant set in the hamlet of San Vito making the location/view just as spectacular as the food!

DAY 14

Monday, May 22nd

Enjoy breakfast this morning at your hotel before luggage collection and check out. A private van transfer from your hotel back to Rome (5 hour drive). Upon arrival to Rome we will check in at Hotel Raphael in and enjoy some free time in Rome for the rest of the evening.

DAY 15

Tuesday, May 23rd

After breakfast at the hotel, a private van will transfer you to Rome Airport. Ciao for now from Rome!


Gioacchino Passalacqua

Guide and co-owner of aTTavola, Gioacchino Passalacqua, is an artisanal Italian food exporter, gastronome and native Sicilian who divides his time between Sicily, Italy and New York. As a native Mediterranean, Gioacchino has developed relationships with food producers, restaurateurs, olive oil companies, chocolatiers, vintners and confectioners. He has traveled the world in his business as an importer/exporter, taking part in food shows from Paris and San Francisco to Chicago and New York City.

Gioacchino has a keen sense of quality foods and wines which he passionately shares through his unique tours, tastings, and products. You’ll be pleased to know, every one of our guests has rated him a 5 star tour guide!


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