Balsamic Vinegar Tour
Exclusive VIP tour to taste authentic Aceto Balsamico in Modena/Reggio Emilia, with gourmet lunch, private driver, and guide. Book now!
Enchanting, sun-kissed Puglia is one of the most exciting and least explored wine regions of Italy and an intriguing destination for wine lovers looking for something a bit more off the beaten wine tourism tracks. Located in the “heel” of Italy’s “boot,” Puglia (Apulia) offers a treasure trove of food, wine, architectural marvels, and postcard-perfect coastal scenery. Indeed, this region features the longest coastline in the country. Bordered by the turquoise Ionian sea and the deep blue Adriatic Sea (known for its prehistoric, karstic sea caves and wild, unspoiled beaches), there are over 500 miles of seaside. The white sand paradise beaches of Otranto Gulf in the south have long been a best-kept secret for Italians. The rugged cliffs, secret coves, sparkling bays, and dramatic promontories could not be more beautiful.
Puglia is sprinkled with archaeological wonders dating back to its Mycenaean Greek period in the 8th century BC and the Ancient Romans who followed. French Angevins, Normans, Crusaders, Muslim Saracens, and Spanish Aragonese all left their cultural, gastronomic, and architectural marks as well. You can see and feel these influences in the colorful fishing villages and port towns, and in the decadent, Baroque cities like Lecce, referred to as the “Florence of the south.”
The pristine Itria Valley, a patchwork of vineyards and rolling hills, is famous for its whitewashed hamlets and distinctive stone huts called “Trulli.” These stone dwellings with unique conical roofs are thought to have mainly belonged to grape growers in the 1800’s during the area’s emerging commercialization of winemaking. There are over 1500 of these Trulli’s in this area, and they are classified as Unesco heritage. But for all of the amazing architecture built by man in the last few thousands of years, Puglia had even earlier inhabitants, and is home to the largest dinosaur footprints in Europe that are a fascinating testament to this.
We have put together this stellar, luxurious itinerary for our food and wine-loving guests that includes the absolute best of Puglia. With your private chauffeur you will explore quaint villages straight out of a movie set like Alberobello, Ostuni, and Cisternino; atmospheric beach towns like Polignano a Mare and Gallipoli; citadels and castles; and bustling old towns bursting with colorful, Mediterranean life like Bari Vecchia, with its labyrinth of cobblestoned alleyways lined with food shops and ancient churches.
Taste just-pressed olive oil right at a historic mill; indulge in freshly made Mozzarella and Burrata at a local, artisan cheese producer; savor velvety, concentrated, and sultry wines in the best cellars of Puglia; attend a pasta “workshop”; learn how to make irresistible Pasticciotto pastry – this is an utterly delicious trip for all the senses. Stay overnight in unbelievable locations, including a villa-style Masseria dating back to the 15th century, when the Knights of Malta used it as a watchtower (now a 5-star ultra-luxury hotel), and a romantic stone mansion’s suite with a gorgeous vaulted ceiling. This tour celebrates the dolce vita and will create memories to last a lifetime!
Bari - Savelletri di Fasano
Your elegant and friendly chauffeur will meet you at Bari airport, and you will hit the ground running. Head straight to Old Bari, the heart of town located on the peninsula between the harbors of Porto Grande and Porto Vecchio and dates back to the Middle Ages. Your driver will take care of your luggage, and you will have the chance to stretch your legs now and get some fresh air, after the flight and trip over. Your local guide will take you on a supremely entertaining walking tour that includes food, and wine stops for tastings, spiced with the multiple layers of Greek, Roman, and Norman history of the town.
You’ll see the Norman Basilica of San Nicola, which houses the remains of St Nicholas (Father Christmas) and features interesting architectural details like the “Lion Door.” Admire the lightening- quick handiwork of the local women rolling our fresh pasta and making orecchiette to sell, right on the narrow streets. On your walk, you will see highlights like the 12th-century Svevo castle (surrounded by a moat), the Art Nouveau style Teatro Petruzzelli (used now as an opera house and concert venue), the vibrant Murat neighborhood, the ancient walls and the Duomo of Bari (Cattedrale di San Sabino).
Along the way, you will enjoy comfort food like, just baked Barese style Focaccia, “Sgagliozze” semolina polenta, popizze spherical fritters (soft inside and crispy outside), “Panzerotto” (small, deep-fried and delicious calzone). Also, recommend you try the “Tiella d patan, ris e cozz” (baked potatoes, rice, and mussels), washed down with plenty of local wines, of course! At the end of an exhilarating tour, your driver will sweep you away to your luxurious seafront hotel. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the facilities. Onsite you have an 18 hole golf course overlooking the Adriatic sea, a swimming pool, and a Thalasso spa. Before dinner tonight, you will enjoy a welcome wine tasting to introduce you to Puglia wines, with your private sommelier! Welcome to Puglia!
Savelletri di Fasano - Pezze di Greco - Acquaviva delle Fonti - Polignano a Mare
This morning you will visit an idyllic Puglian farmhouse dating to the 1600s, Masseria Montenapoleone, adorned with bougainvillea and surrounded by an olive grove, palm trees, and prickly pear cactus. You have a terrific cooking class, olive oil tasting, and convivial lunch to look forward to- this is the ultimate Puglia countryside experience! Select figs, almonds, beans, apricots, and other produce straight from their organic garden and learn how to make an array of healthy and delicious dishes, including homemade pasta. Sit down to lunch, tasting the fruit of your labors, on their dreamy, shaded terrace. Local wines will be paired with your dishes. What a treat!
Carry on next to one of Italy’s most highly rated estates, Chiaromonte. Winner of Gambero Rosso’s Three Glasses (Italy’s highest wine accolade), this excellent wine estate in the Gioia del Colle DOC appellation was founded in the early 1800s in an area considered to be the ancestral home of Primitivo. DNA analysis has, in recent years, actually revealed that Primitivo is genetically equivalent to California’s Zinfandel grape as well as the Croatian grapes Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidrag. Still owned by the same family since its foundation, the owner and winemaker Nicola Chiaromonte is passionate about Primitivo! On a private tour and tasting, you will have the opportunity to try their best red wines, including the nectar-like Chiaromonte Riserva and Muro Sant’Angelo Barbato, as well as their sensual whites like Kimia (made with the Fiano grape and with aromas of orange blossom).
Before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner, you have one more exciting stop- to see the “Grotte di Castellana.” Visit the white cave with the most spectacular and almost unreal stagaltites and stalagmites, considered to be some of the best-preserved in the world! Enjoy a short tour with a private guide. This is well worth a visit. Finally, you will have some free time to unwind at the resort and get ready for an extraordinary evening. Tonight you will have dinner in the most impossibly, astonishing scenic location- Grotta Palazzese. Dine on specialties like Mazara del Vallo red shrimp and Tubettino pasta with clams and lobster broth, in a candlelit, vaulted cave terrace facing the cliffs of Polignano a Mare and the Adriatic sea. Fun anecdote- this is the hometown of Domenico Modugno, known as “Mr. Volare.” You will have an unforgettable evening here, and your driver will take you back to the hotel afterward.
Savelletri di Fasano - Ostuni - Cisternino - Locorotondo - Alberobello
Enjoy a late morning start today to sleep in or enjoy the beach club/onsite facilities. Your chauffeur will pick you up before midday, and your first stop today is Ostuni. This magical, whitewashed hill topped town faces the sea and is crowned by a whimsical, late Gothic cathedral. The setting is just splendid, and the pleasure here is getting lost in the maze of medieval, cobblestoned streets encircling the duomo. Enjoy free time for a wander and photos, and then continue to the picturesque hamlet of Cisternino.
This historic gem of a village has a fun local tradition- the revered butchers here will barbecue your meat and serve it to you al fresco on the pretty streets, with local wine and olives, of course. The specialty is the grilled “bombette” made with the butcher’s own charcoal or wood-burning ovens with high welfare local meat. The types of meat, cuts, and other ingredients vary butcher to butcher, but the experience is always authentic, and you will rub shoulders with the locals. This is bound to be one of your favorite Puglia food memories. We will make lunch light enough that you have room for the next gourmet activity- cheese!
The Caseificio Salatino is an artisan, organic dairy making small batches of high-quality cheese in the darling white village of Locorotondo. After a short, private tour with your friendly hosts, sit down to a tasting of just-made burrata (food ecstasy), divine mozzarella, piquant scamorza, and pillowy caciocavallo. Then, work off the cheese strolling through the famous village of Alberobello with your private guide. The Unesco heritage Trulli’s here are truly unique, don’t forget the camera today! Free time after the tour to pick up some gourmet or handicraft gifts have a coffee or glass of wine, etc. Head back to your glamorous resort then, and the evening is yours.
Savelletri di Fasano - Oria - Torre Santa Susanna - Cellino - Squinzano - Lecce
Today you will be tasting some of the best wines and olive oils in Southern Italy. Your chauffeur will collect you, and you will first head to the picturesque town of Oria, one of the oldest and loveliest locations in the Tarantine Murge. This area has several noble villages dating back to Bourbon rule. Oria has plenty to explore, including its medieval Jewish ghetto and splendid 13th century Castello Svevo di Oria which was built for Frederick II of Swabia. You will have some free time for a walk and photo ops before carrying on to the nearby premium wine estate of Masseria Altemura.
Located in the heart of the Salento wine country, this wine estate has it all- an elegant farmhouse with a medieval watchtower, a stylish and modern wine cellar, relaxing vineyard scenery for as far as the eye can see and most importantly, top-class wines. Owned by Zonin, a Northern Italian wine company, Masseria Altemura make a range of select wines within the Puglia IGT, DOC Manduria, and Salento IGT appellations. After a private tour of the Masseria, the vines and the cellars, sit down to a convivial tasting of their best wines including Petravia (made with 100% Aglianico), their iconic Altemura (100% Primitivo), Sasseo and Zinzula (a premium rose wine made with 100% Negroamaro).
After a busy morning of sightseeing and wine tasting, you will be ready for lunch, and we will organize lunch right at another great winery, Masseria Li Veli. This historic property makes a fascinating range of wines using classic southern varietals like Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Fiano as well as rediscovered grapes like Susumaniello (Dalmatian), Aleatico (of Ancient Greek origin) and Verdeca (native Puglian). After visiting their beautiful vaulted cellars, relax and be pampered with a delicious lunch with the best estate bottlings.
To round out the afternoon, you will visit one of Puglia’s best olive oil producers- Taurino. Making “Extravergine di grande Prestigio,” i.e., only the most prestigious extra virgin olive oil, this is a family-run, organic estate. You will have a private tour and explanation of the whole process and a professional tasting to follow. Their exquisite oils made from several types of olives, including Ogliarola Salentina, Cellina di Nardò, Picholine, Leccino, Coratina, Carolea, and Picholine. You are going to want to pick up a few bottles here to take back with you! Finally, after an action-packed day, you will travel to your next base, the art city of Lecce. Settle into your palatial hotel set in a peaceful garden right in the historic center—a free evening with our suggestions.
Lecce is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting, exuberant and beautiful cities in the entire south of Italy. This ancient city, founded by the Mycenean Greeks, is renowned the world over for its outstanding collection of wildly ostentatious Baroque architecture, a reminder of the city’s golden age between the 16th and 18th centuries. On a private guided walking tour this morning with your certified art guide, you will discover Lecce’s charms and unique corners. You will hear anecdotes and interesting details about Charles V and his campaign against the Turks and about the soft Lecce stone; you will see the remains of the 2nd-century Roman amphitheater, only discovered in the 1920s. And you will visit a papier-mâché “cartapesta” workshop (this tradition dates back 400 years in Lecce!) Conclude your tour of Lecce with a fun, foodie activity- a Pasticciotto Leccese class with a local baker. This delicious, local custard pastry can trace its roots (like so many cultural aspects of Lecce) to the 1700s. You will whip up this shortcrust treat with your hosts, and eat it warm as a teaser before lunch.
While Puglia’s local cuisine is mouthwatering, ultra-fresh, healthy, and life-affirming, it’s also fun to sit down to a creative, Michelin starred meal to contrast, and we have a fabulous lunch in store. Brothers, Co-Owners, and Chefs Floriano and Giovanni Pellegrino run the brilliant Bros restaurant in the heart of historic Lecce. Their imagination, high concept, technique, and hospitality are legendary and their obsession? Vegetables! But meat and seafood lovers will not be disappointed either. Get ready for a fun, culinary rollercoaster, and you will be spoiled by a tasting menu paired with top Puglian wines.
After a supremely gratifying, extended lunch, and before relaxing back at your luxurious oasis palazzo and gardens, you will finish the experience with a typical “Lecce” coffee. This iced coffee with almond milk found in every local cafe and home is linked to Valencia, Spain, and dates back to the 1800’s- a reminder of Southern Italy’s Bourbon Spanish connection. The late afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy the facilities and Lecce town.
Lecce - Monteroni - Galatina - Cutrofiano - Maglie - Otranto - Serrano
You will begin today’s wine experience at the Apollonio Casa Vinicola estate this morning. Marcello and Massimiliano Apollonio are the 4th generation running this highly lauded winery dating back to the 1870s. Admired and appreciated by Three Michelin starred Italian chefs like Massimo Bottura, as well as American Presidents, this company makes a diverse range of wines from several lines. You will taste some of their best wines like Divoto Copertino DOP Rosso Riserva (awarded 90 points by Parker’s Wine Advocate Negroamaro and made with 70%, Montepulciano 30%) and Terragnolo Primitivo Salento IGP Rosso (Gold medal, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, made with 100% Primitivo), as well as their traditional Salice Salentino from the Terre del Grico line (made with Negroamaro 80% and Malvasia Nera 20%).
The Baroque gem of Galatina is next, a beautiful little town with an extraordinary cathedral. Located south of Lecce, this part of Puglia is called the Greek Salentine and retains its Ancient Greek character in its dialect, traditions, and rituals. You will have free time to visit the 14th-century Basilica (St Catherine of Alexandria) whose frescoes are utterly jaw-dropping and some of the most important in Italy. After this inspiring visit and photo opportunity, you will be ready for more wine tasting! Your hosts at L’Astore Masseria will be waiting for you. You will visit their beautiful vaulted wine cellar, called the “cathedral of wine,” and enjoy a private tour. Then sit down to a cheerful, wine-soaked “degustazione” with food pairings. Enjoy treats like Salento pasta from the Stifanelli’s artisan operation with vegetables from the winery’s garden, Altamura bread, garbanzo sformato, regional Taralli crackers, Podolico caciocavallo cheese, and grilled zucchini with mint. Taste their unique, organic wines like Negroamaro old vines 1947 and Jèma Primitivo.
The culinary pleasure continues when you head next to Pastificio Benedetto Cavalieri in Maglie, an award-winning pasta factory dating back to 1918. You will get to participate in a private pasta workshop, and learn about their “Metodo delicato” (delicate methods) and get to taste their organic and biodynamic pasta. Before carrying on to your hotel this evening, we have one last surprise in store. You will visit Otranto, a beautiful coastal town overlooking white sand beaches and with one of the most bewitching old towns. Because there truly is so much to see here, you will have your private guide who will show you the “best of” on an abbreviated, but worthwhile walking tour. Admire the dazzling floor mosaics of the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral; when you gaze at the mysterious castle. Let your imagination take you back to the 1400s when Ottoman armies invaded the town; and be enchanted by the narrow, hilly, cobblestoned streets adorned with flowers and cafes. Watch the sunset in a hidden, panoramic location where we will set up a romantic wine tasting aperitivo for you. This is the life!
Finally, after another exciting day, travel just a few minutes down the road to your next, luxury hotel- a 5-star countryside retreat surrounded by a beautiful organic fig plantation. Free evening to enjoy dinner onsite.
Gallipoli is often called the “Portofino of the south,” albeit more rustic-chic than manicured beauty. This ancient port town was founded by the Greeks in the 3rd century, who called it Kalli Polis, which means “beautiful city.” It is also referred to as the Pearl of the Ionian Coast, and indeed it is a unique and above all, interesting place. Gallipoli (not to be confused with Turkish Gallipoli where the infamous First World War battle took place) has a new and old town, and the historic part located on a limestone island connected to the mainland by a 17th-century bridge simply called the “Ponte Seicentesco.” Colorful fishing boats nestle along the shore under the French Angevin castle.
Due to its past as a wealthy merchant town, there are an almost scandalously high amount of beautiful churches for such a small place. The baroque Basilica Cattedrale di Sant’Agata is the most wondrous with a mind-boggling amount of art and craftsmanship. We have a delightful morning planned for you- a private tour of the old town and its main attractions, followed by a private wine and oyster tasting in the lively fish market. Then you will board your motorboat and enjoy an afternoon scenic sailing trip along the turquoise shoreline. In the late afternoon, enjoy your resort and free time to hit the spa, go for a swim, read by the pool, etc. Depending on the time of year you are visiting, we can fit in a cultural event such as the La Notte Della Taranta summer festival.
Serrano - Guagnano - Sava - Grottaglie - Manduria
Start your day at the family-run Cantele winery set amid the beautiful backdrop of vineyards and ancient olives. After a private tour of the vines and cellars, you will be hosted for a trendy wine-tasting lunch in their Ibiza-style tasting “laboratory” and sip wines on their glorious terrace in the bright sunshine overlooking the relaxing scenery of silver-green olive groves. Your wine flight will include wines like Salice Salentino Riserva Negroamaro, the delicious Teresa Manara Chardonnay (named after the founder’s wife), their oak-aged Primitivo (labeled with both names- Zinfandel/Primitivo) and their zippy Rohesia rosé wine, made with Negroamaro.
There is more wine tasting to come, at high-end Gianfranco Fino. It’s hard to believe this superstar in the vinous world who is referred to as the King of Primitivo and considered to be one of if not the best Puglian winemaker, only started his venture here less than 20 years ago. His exceptional wines are some of the most expensive and exclusive wines from Puglia. At this tiny, cult property, you’ll learn all about his philosophy and taste his refined wines, awarded 90 points plus by Wine Spectator. Switch gears then and get some fresh air in Grottaglie, the most famous town in Puglia for pottery. You will have free time to stretch your legs and hit the workshops and craftsmen’s studios, grab a coffee, get some steps in after a wine-filled morning, etc.
Grottaglie has been famous for its ceramics since medieval times. We highly recommend a short visit to the Ceramics Museum, exploring Grottaglie’s fascinating history, and the marvelous ceramics collection.
In the late afternoon/early evening, then you will arrive at your next hotel, a wine resort set in a castle. Enjoy the hotel’s excellent Michelin starred onsite restaurant tonight. This is a friendly and very atmospheric resort that feels very cozy.
Manduria - Crispiano - Matera
Enjoy a terrific breakfast in the bright, vaulted dining room before heading to the last vineyard on this trip. You will be visiting the ravishing, organic vineyard garden estate of Masseria Amastuola, located in the Terra Delle Gravine Regional Park. Not “just another winery” by any means, Amastuola offers a full sensory experience. You will be escorted by a private guide on a gentle walk through the picturesque vineyards lined with centuries-old gnarled fairytale olive trees and olives. In the middle of the vines, you’ll enjoy an aperitif of their fresh Salento white wines. There is something so special about tasting wine in the vineyard! Continue the tour of the ranch and, at the end of a memorable morning, try five of their best wines paired with five courses of local dishes made with super fresh produce, served al fresco, of course—what a way to conclude your wine tour of Puglia.
After lunch, there is one last incredible town you can’t miss. Matera, located in the adjacent region of Basilicata, is known as the “ La Città dei Sassi” and is a Unesco world heritage site that is featured in many films. Most famously, it was the location used in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” in the 1960s. The historic part of the town straddles a massive network of tufa cave dwellings dating back to paleolithic times, called “Sassi.” These caves were inhabited until the 1950s when the government forcibly relocated the population to the new town due to healthcare concerns. Abandoned for decades, and then in the ’80s, a long period of renovation began, and many are now tastefully renovated into stylish hotels, homes, and artist studios. You will have a private art guide to take you through the mesmerizing layers of history here and show you some of the many hidden gems, compelling viewpoints, and a select few of the Rupestrian Churches.
Afterward, drive back to your resort for one last free evening to reflect on your highlights of this trip and sip on some meditative wines.
Manduria - Bari airport
At your preferred time, your chauffeur will take you on to Bari airport for your outbound flight or your next port of call (train station, etc.). If you want to make the most of your time in Southern Italy, we can build in more touring days for you in Basilicata, Campania, the Amalfi Coast, in Rome, etc.
We hope you had the time of your life on this luxurious food and wine adventure in Puglia!
If you would like us to customize an exclusive luxury tour, contact us and let us know your travel plans. We offer luxury food and wine tours for private groups of a mininium two guests. In addition, all of our private, chauffeured tours are available year-round upon request.
Welcome to Cellar Tours, the premier Luxury Travel Specialist since 2003. Our goal is to provide you with the ultimate food and wine vacation experience, with exclusive Mercedes chauffeured tours that showcase the best of local cuisine and wines.
Our team specializes in crafting bespoke, custom-designed vacations, events, and incentives tailored to your unique tastes and preferences. Travel is not just about seeing new places - it's about creating unforgettable memories and indulging in the finer things in life.
As members of Slow Food, OTAVA (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), we promote sustainable tourism and support local communities. We work closely with top-rated hotels, restaurants, and wineries to provide you with the highest level of service and attention to detail.
Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a corporate retreat, let Cellar Tours be your guide. With our passion for food and wine, extensive knowledge of local culture, and dedication to exceptional customer service, we're confident we can exceed your expectations.
Contact us today to start planning your dream vacation – we can't wait to hear from you!