Discover Puglia – Secrets of Southern Italy Experience

Another UNIQUE “Small-Group” Cuisine & Culture Experience

“Being able to identify the unspoiled destination is a useful talent – as far as it goes. The real trick is catching the unspoiled destination at just the right moment, when rumblings of interest have given rise to a comfortable infrastructure for knowing travelers, but the crowds are at least a few years off. That’s Puglia right now.”
Travel & Leisure Magazine

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2025 DATES

– 10 Days / 9 Nights –
Wednesday 21 May 2025 to Friday 30 May 2025

– 4 Final Places Remaining –

€5,920 per person (~$AUD9,700pp*)

€6,710 per person (~$AUD11,000pp*)
(Twin Share – Please refer to note below**)

€6,945 per person (~$AUD11,385pp*)
(Own Room)

Booking Deadline : 01 November 2024

*ALL INCLUSIVE LAND CONTENT: 10 Days / 9 Nights of Luxury accommodation in some of Puglia’s most unique accommodations, Private Luxury Airport Transfer on arrival into Brindisi; two meals daily (as per itinerary); Cuisine & Culture Experiences including hands-on cooking class and Wine Tastings; Meals at some of Puglia’s finest regional restaurants; Escorted Local Transfers, Private Walking Tours of some of Puglia’s most famous & picturesque towns; and the services of two Group Escorts. Excludes international airfares.

**TWIN SHARE TRAVELLERS – For the comfort of our clients travelling with as a Twin Share, we have found that Italy doesn’t always cater well for Twin Bed Rooms, especially in the more unique, boutique properties that we share with our clients. For our “Discover Puglia Experience”, as we want all of our clients to be as comfortable as possible, we have arranged for shared Twin Accomodation for our first stay (Two nights at Patria Palace Hotel in Lecce), who’s rooms are able to comfortably accommodate Twin Beds, with the remaining seven nights boutique accommodations allowing each of you to have your own room. We trust this meets with your understanding! Please don’t hesitate in contacting us should you have any questions.

*($1AUD = 0.61EUR as at 08 June 2024 –


2023 “Discover Puglia – Secrets of Southern Italy – Luxury Cuisine & Culture Experience”

Hi Nico,
Here is our review of our magnificent trip to Puglia.  I’m still dreaming of all those dinners  To say a visit to Puglia is a gastronomical must, is an understatement. 
If you enjoy food, wine and history, together with fabulous and unique accommodation, then you should definitely join this 5 star tour. We were blown away by the amazing food, history and sheer beauty this region had to offer.
Nico and Belinda researched this tour to perfection to give us, and our group members, the most memorable trip of a lifetime. My husband claims he has now eaten the best meal in his life at a small country restaurant found somehow, by Nico. I claim that all of our food and wine in Puglia were the best we have sampled on any tour.  
We can now adamantly say, Italian food and wine is our absolute favourite!
Thank you to Nico and Belinda for the wonderful travel experience you organised for us. This tour and all its highlights, will remain in our memory for a long time to come…Denise & Lindsay
Nico and Belinda were delightful, caring hosts throughout our ten days on the “Discover Puglia Experiences” tour!
My husband and I loved getting to know the wonderful group of people on the tour who we were introduced to initially at very useful briefings before departure. We loved everything about the tour… from the luxury hotels; guided cultural walkabouts of different places; of course the fantastic food, including tasty street treats; and classes conducted by knowledgable locals.
We recommend this tour to anyone seeking to take a relaxing, but deep dive into the beautiful place that is Puglia – its food, culture, history and people!…Munira & Malcolm
Ciao Belinda and Nico,
It will be our pleasure to share with others what a wonderful experience it is to join one of your tours.
Peter and I throughly enjoyed every minute we spent with both of you and the fabulous people that made up our group. The combination of outstanding food, wine, cooking classes and amazing sites and places shared with like minded people was just so unique and special. 
Thank you both so much for the care and effort you put into our trip. It was such fun and I am sure lasting friendships have been made – certainly wonderful memories have been.
Hopefully you are both relaxing and enjoying this glorious weather in Perth before your next wonderful adventure. Gracie mille…Jacquelyn and Peter

“Discover Puglia – Secrets of Southern Italy Experience

Get your sense of adventure and tastebuds ready to explore one of Italy’s best kept secrets – the gastronomic travel destination of magical Puglia, in Southern Italy – on this small group culinary experience, fully escorted by Nico & Belinda Moretti of Cooking Passions Cooking School.

Home to Nico’s family of uncles, aunts, & cousins – who continue to reside just outside of its capital, Bari – Nico shares with you his hidden gems & secrets of one of Italy’s finest off the beaten track culinary regions.
Although virtually undiscovered by overseas visitors for many years, Nico & Belinda have been sharing the delights of Puglia with their clients since 2006 when it was still a secret to many!
Puglia’s charms are that it has yet to see the international crowds of tourists who continue to flock to the likes of Amalfi, Toscana, Northern Italy and the Cinque Terre each time they visit Italy, although this is quickly starting to change.
With articles having been written about Puglia becoming the “next big thing“, such as published in The Financial Review – November 2017 – Puglia on a Plate (Marguerite Winter) and even Anthony Bourdain’s “Explore Parts Unknown” (Bourdain’s Field Notes: Southern Italy – Explore Parts Unknown), and the recent Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy” series, it’s only been in the last few year’s that the secret has been released with Puglia now becoming one of Italy’s hottest and must-visit destinations.
Now is the time to experience the charms and delights of Puglia on our 2025 “Discover Puglia – Secrets of Southern Italy” Luxury Cuisine & Culture Experience, before “our little secret” gets too far!!

Small Group Cuisine & Culture Experiences with Nico & Belinda
Our Cuisine & Culture Experiences are designed so you can do as little or as much as you like, while allowing you plenty of free time to explore and immerse yourselves in the sights, shopping and eating that YOU want to experience (we’ll be happy to provide suggestions from our previous experiences).
We’ve curated & arranged a bespoke adventure with all of the accommodations, land transfers, cooking classes (if you’re not into cooking…you can sit back and relax with a glass or two of Puglian wine!), private guides and most meals, so that all you have to do is pack a bag, a sense of adventure and join us on one of our delicious & exciting culinary journeys.
Join Nico & Belinda of Cooking Passions Cooking School as they escort a small group of only 12 travellers to experience one of the finest culinary destinations in all of Italy!

Cooking Passions “Discover Puglia” Highlights

Puglia – Southern Italy’s Gastronomic Gem

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Puglia is a region not many people outside of Italy might know about, yet on a map it is probably one of the most easily recognizable. Known commonly as “the heel” of the Italian boot, it is the easternmost point of Italy and feels more like Greece, which sits a mere 70 km east, than some of its regional Italian cousins in the north.
What Puglia lacks in recognizability, it more than compensates for as being a food lover’s heaven. Puglia’s cuisine is the quintessential “cucina povera” (peasant cooking) using locally sourced ingredients which reflect the region, prepared extremely “simply”. It’s dishes are the blueprint for the classic “Meditteranean Diet” – fresh vegetables abound in many of the classic Puglian “antipasti” served before meals; extra virgin olive oil is used abundantly; local wild greens (chicory) found mainly in Puglia are served along with legumes (fave); and fresh seafood from along Italy’s longest coastline also deserve a special mention.
The facts of Puglia’s importance for its contribution to Italy’s food culture are staggering:


Day 1 – Wednesday May 21st 2025 – ARRIVAL** / LECCE

**PRE-ARRIVAL – Should you wish to arrive earlier than today’s start to our tour, we can arrange for any additional nights at our hotel. Nico & Belinda will be arriving on Tuesday 20 May 2025, in preparation for each participants arrival.
– Upon your arrival into Brindisi Airport*, for those flying in,  we have arranged for your Private Transfer to our hotel, The Patria Palace Hotel in Lecce, which is a 40 minute drive from Brindisi airport. (* Should you prefer to arrive at Bari Airport, a 2 hour drive from Lecce, we can organise this at an additional cost of 140Euros per car (up to 3 person).
By Plane* – Brindisi & Bari Airports are a popular hub for many European airlines including those flying out of London (Stansted); France, Spain, and Germany who all arrive and depart from Brindisi or Bari. There are also flights available from the major Italian cities of Rome and Firenze.
By Train* – The high-speed Eurostar departs from Rome several times per day for Bari, and it is about a 5 hour ride. The train journey allows you to take in the diverse landscape of southern Italy as you travel along part of the Adriatic Coast, then the vast grain fields of Northern Puglia and into the sprawling hectares of olive oil country of Southern Puglia. From Bari, you can then continue on to Lecce by regional train.
(*Please Note: When securing your return flight or train, please ensure that your departure point is Bari (either Bari Airport or Bari Train Station) as the tour will end in Bari.)
14:00pm – Check in to our Lecce hotel – The Patria Palace Hotel
Lecce – Puglia’s most beautiful city, is also known as the baroque “Florence of Southern Italy”. Lecce’s pink sandstone buildings and charming pedestrian-friendly historic center make for an excellent introduction to our stay in Puglia. Lecce is rightly acclaimed as one of the capitals of the Baroque, a style which here has acquired unrivalled originality and exuberance due to the skills with which local architects and stonemasons worked the soft, malleable pink-tinged local stone, called pietra dorata.
Patria Palace Hotel (Lecce)
OUT HOTEL – The Patria Palace Hotel
The 5-star hotel is tucked away in a secluded piazza which opens onto Lecce’s famously beautiful and ornate Basilica di Santa Croce. The hotel is located in a 18 th century building, austere and linear, abode of the noble family D’Anna-Petrarolo. The building was designed by the famous architect Mauro Manieri who also designed the church of Sant’Irene and the church of Carmine, both in Lecce. After many vicissitudes, it was donated to a religious order and, for many years, had been an important orphanage of the Salento peninsula.
In 1850 the building was purchased by the family of the engineer Giacomo Gridi who opened the first inn for wanderers. It is during this Risorgimental Period, which would lead to the birth of Italy, that the Inn acquires the name of Patria. Now fully restored as a luxury hotel, its 67 rooms are characterised by a unique and elegant style, with views on the town.


18:00pm – Aperitivo Time – We will enjoy pre-dinner drinks (aperitivi) on the hotel’s rooftop terrace, with stunning views over one of Lecce’s architectural marvels – the Basilica di Santa Croce.
19:00pm – Welcome Group dinner as our introduction to Pugliese cuisine which will highlight the quality, goodness and intensity of flavours from the Puglian countryside.

AccommodationThe Patria Palace Lecce

(Included Meals: D)


am – Breakfast at your leisure
10am – Nico & Belinda will take the group on a morning walking tour to visit some of Lecce’s most famous sights including:

Lunch & Afternoon at your leisure – Puglia still maintains its afternoon tradition of family lunch then “una riposa” or little rest or siesta in the afternoon. Many shops will close between 2pm to 4pm, so take the opportunity to either join in the local tradition or to enjoy having the quiet streets of Lecce all to yourself for a few hours.
16:00pm – Puglian Cooking Experience with Chef Gianna Greco –  This evening, under the wonderful tutelage of the formidable Chef Gianna Greco, we will discover the secrets to one of Italy’s finest regional cuisines. We will learn the art of mozzarella cheese making and the secrets to Puglia’s famous creamy burrata cheese with a cooking class led by an artisan cheesemaker (“casaro“).
Try your hand at preparing Puglia’s famous pasta shape “orecchiette” (Little Ears) as well as Puglia’s famous focaccia, or if “hands-on” isn’t for you, sit back and relax with a glass of Puglian wine as you watch dinner being prepared. Once the class is completed, we will enjoy all that we’ve prepared including some other typical Puglian products.

AccommodationThe Patria Palace Lecce

(Included Meals: B,D)

Day 3 – Friday May 23rd 2025 – PUGLIA WINERY & TASTING EXPERIENCE

am – Breakfast at your leisure, before checking out of our hotel at 11am.
11:00am – Group departure to Puglia’s famous Salice Salentino wine region for a visit to the 19th-century winery Masseria Li Veli.

 Masseria Li Veli
Masseria Li Veli was built by the Marquis Antonio de Viti de Marco at the end of the 19th century. The great economist from Lecce created what would become a model of viticulture for the whole of Puglia. In 1999, the Falvo family from Tuscany, who had already written one of the most amazing pages in the history of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vin Santo began the modernisation of the Li Veli property. The Favlo family fell in love with the dream of the great economist and decided to buy and renovate the Masseria and to dream again that ancient dream of the Marquis Antonio De Viti de Marco.

11:30am – Winery visit as well as a tour of the beautiful castle and grounds. We will then indulge in a Private Wine Tasting Lunch within the property with a typical Apulian menu, cooked entirely with fresh and local ingredients by the expert hands of the Masseria’s cook Viviana. Our sommelier will guide us through the best food match with Li Veli wines.

15:00pm – Group transfer to Masseria Cervarolo located in the countryside a short 15 minute drive from the charming medieval town of Ostuni.
Ostuni – Also known as “La Citta Bianca” (The White City) it is definitely one of the most stunning towns of Southern Italy. Clinging onto three hills at the edge of Le Murge, the old centre is a spiral of whitewashed houses with dramatic views towards a sea of olive trees and farther away the blue Mediterranean. Traces remain from it’s first founding in 600BC, but much of what we can see today dates between the 1400s and 1700s, including the magnificent 15th century Gothic cathedral which sits proudly atop the hillside.
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17:00pm – Check in to Masseria Cervarolo. Settle into your room and then relax by the swimming pool (a natural karst sinkhole) which is surrounded by rocks and terraces. Enjoy an aperitivo at the the pool bar or on the grounds of the property before dinner.
Masseria Cervarolo
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Masseria Cervarolo
OUR HOTEL –  Masseria Cervarolo
Masseria Cervarolo is one of Puglia’s fortified farm manor estates (masserie) that dates back to the 16th century. The term “masseria” is the local name for these types of properties, which were fortified due to the continual invasions along the coast by the Saracens and other invading nations.
As soon as one of the many coastal castles (“torre”) raised the alarm of a potential invasion, all the farmers and livestock would move within the walls of the masseria and they would remain for months at a time, relying on produce grown on the property, as well as huge underground storerooms holding reserves of food. As families may be within the walls for many months, the masserie had their own church; olive oil mill; wood-fired ovens; stables; farming equipment and livestock, to carry on a simple agricultural life.
Masseria Cervarolo dates back to the 16th century; it includes the main building, some trulli and a small church built in 1798 and dedicated to Our Lady of Dolours with a baroque altar and various frescoes.
The farmhouse is located on a hill 250m above sea level and 6 km from Ostuni, so that you can enjoy magnificent views over the Itria Valley. The name Cervarolo comes from the Italian “cervo” (deer), as the area was once covered by forests and inhabited by deers.
Masseria Cervarolo
The restoration has carefully preserved the original architectural features and materials of the property, which now combines past and present through the use of modern techniques for energy saving and environmental protection: photovoltaic system, recycling, reduction of air, water and soil pollution, protection of biodiversity in the property areas, local and healthy food.
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Food plays an integral role with any stay at a masseria, and we will have the pleasure of enjoying delicious Puglia dishes for our evening meals within the masseria’s restaurant, catering exclusively for hotel guests.
20:00pm – Group Dinner at the masseria.

Accommodation – Masseria Cervarolo

(Included Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4 – Saturday May 24th 2025 – Puglia Olive Oil Estate Experience and Valle D’Itria Experience – The Land of Trulli 

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am – Breaksfast at your leisure
9:00am – Group departure for our “Puglia Olive Oil Estate Experience” and Puglia’s famed Valle D’Itria. This picturesque part of the region is filled with wooded slopes, vineyards and endless olive groves and the peculiar coned farmhouses of trull scattered across the landscape.
Puglia & Its Olive History – Extra Virgin Puglia Olive Oil, the foundation of the Mediterranean diet, is used basically in each and every recipe of Puglia, playing a prime role amongst all ingredients. Produced from massive secular olive trees, it gives flavour to typical antipasti, first and second dishes, side dishes and even to desserts.
Puglia has around 60 million olive trees. Among those, 5 million are actually monumental, representing the most antique agricultural arboreal existent landscape. The olive tree below is one of Puglia’s oldest trees dating back 3,000 years. Unbelievable, and it is still producing!
Everywhere the eye can see in Puglia, you will see olive trees. Puglia supplies around 40% of olive oil production in Italy (it is the first region for quantity and quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced per year). The Italian heel also provides around 12% of the olive oil production in the whole world. For thousands of years, the green gold of Puglia so called thanks to its golden color and its value ensured sustenance generation after generation.
09:30am – “Puglia Olive Oil Estate Experience” – Dating back to the 1700s, we will visit one of the Puglia’s centuries oil olive estates set on sixty hectares of olive groves, home to centuries-old olive trees. Accompanied by our expert guide we will have the opportunity to visit some monumental olive trees as well as discovering the origins of Puglia’s olive oil production with a visit to an underground oil mill dating back to the Middle Ages to learn the ancient tenchiques of oil production over the centuries.
We will then move to the estate’s modern oil mill where we will learn about the cutting-edge processes used to obtain superior quality olive oils, and learn the differences between extra virgin, virgin, olive oil and “lampante”. We will compare different oils regarding their purity and, as real sommeliers, we will be able to distinguish the organoleptic properties of each one and learn how to define the characteristics of a high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
11:00am – Group Departure to the stunningly beautiful cliffside village of Polignano a Mare and its famous limestone cliffs with incredible views over the Adriatic Sea. As well as it’s spectacular beach and cliffside grottos, Polignano a Mare is the birthplace of Domenico Modugno who’s song “Volare” became world-famous after it’s release 50 years ago, and who’s lyrics proudly stand above Polignano’s charming Main Street of Via Roma. In more recent times, it has also hosted the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event.
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13:30pm – Group departure for our visit to the UNESCO World Heritage village of Alberobello to experience the magical beauty of Puglia’s famous cone-shaped stone houses called “trulli” which you will see scattered across the countryside of the Itria Valley.
Alberobello – Alberobello is the best known village of the Valle d’Itria because the buildings are mostly trulli, 1500 of them. The trulli of Alberobello in particular have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trullo is a unique type of building characteristic of this region, consisting of a cylinder topped by a large cone of local stones put together without any mortar. It is believed that trulli originated as storage sheds built for agricultural implements, then much later became dwelling places, with adjoining buildings added as the families living in them grew. Many trulli are still used and inhabited today, and some of their roofs show big mysterious chalk marks, either to ward off the evil eye or to bless the house.
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15:00pm – Group departure and return to Masseria Cervarolo. Remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. Enjoy some downtime around the masseria’s stunning pool, book a massage, or if you would like to venture out, we can arrange for a chauffeur for you to visit some nearby sights.
20:00pm – Group Dinner at Masseria Cervarolo
Accommodation – Masseria Cervarolo
(Included Meals: B, D)

Day 5 – Sunday May 25th 2025 – Ostuni “The White City” Experience

am – Breakfast at your leisure.
11:30am – Group departure to the nearby picturesque village of Ostuni which has also been declared one of the most beautiful villages of Italy by the National Association of Italian Municipalities.
Join Nico for a guided walk around some of the main sights of the village before taking you own time to enjoy the atmospheric tiny lanes and majestic viewpoints around the old town.
14:00pmGroup Lunch at one of our favourite Ostuni restaurants. Situated in the heart of the village, the restaurant “Osteria del Tempo Perso” is in an ancient cave-like structure dug in the rocks and once used, in the 16th century as a bakers oven. It is both a restaurant specialising in preparing Puglia’s most-loved dishes and a museum with the walls of the eatery’s second dining room hung with old agricultural tools and everyday farming objects.
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16:30pm – Group transfer back to Masseria Cervarolo after lunch, or spend a little more  time exploring the whitewash laneways of Ostuni before returning back to the masseria.
pm – Remainder of the evening at your leisure.
Accommodation – Masseria Cervarolo
(Included Meals: B, L)

Day 6 – Monday May 26th 2025 – Altamura (Italy’s Finest Bread Tradition) & Matera (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

am – Breakfast at your leisure.
09:00am – Check out from Masseria Cervarolo for our group departure for Altamura and Matera.
10:30am – Arrival in the lovely, historic town of Altamura for a tasting of Altamura’s most famous product, Pane di Altamura, and a visit to an an ancient 600 year old wood-fired oven operating since 1391.
Altamura, is particularly famous in Italy and the whole world for its delicious bread: Altamura bread. Pane di Altamura is made of durum wheat flour cultivated in Altamura, it has a round shape and a massive size. It is characterised by an external crust of 3mm in thickness, which guarantees its long lasting, and soft crumb.
Its roots date back to the Roman times, as the Latin Poet Horace wrote about a bread made in this area of Puglia as “pane migliore del mondo” (the best bread of the world). In 2003 Pane di Altamura was granted the first ever DOP status (Protected Designation of Origin) for a baked product across Europe. Among about 1,000 varieties of bread produced in Italy, bread of Altamura is the only one which was given this eminent status.
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12:30pm – After a lunch of the famed Altamura bread, delicious wood-fired focaccia and a few other Puglia specialities, we will continue to the nearby town of Matera, only 30 minutes away in the Province of Basilicata.
13:00pm – Check in to our Matera hotel, one of the city’s newest 4-star luxury properties situated amongst the town’s famous “sassi” and former cave dwellings.
OUR HOTELPianelle Resort (Matera)
Pianelle Resort is situated in Matera’s historical district, just steps from its famous Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches and Piazza San Pietro Caveoso. Only opened in 2022 after a 10-year renovation, this former “cave dwelling” which were common in the Sassi part of Matera, has been transformed into a beautiful 4-star boutique hotel and has 17 individually furnished guestrooms.

Known as “la Citta Sotterranea” (the Subterranean City), it is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte (cave-dwelling) settlements in the Mediterranean region.
The ancient city is steeped in history and is home to the famous Sassi, which in 1993 was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage List. The village dates back over 7000 years with some of the oldest inhabited parts dating back from the Palaeolithic period.
The “sassi“, as they are known, amazingly continued to be inhabited through to the 1960’s until the inhabitants were forcefully relocated by the government due to the breakdown of the dwellings’ complicated ecosystems and lack of sanitary systems.

16:00pm – After we’ve checked into our hotel and had a little relax, we have arranged a Private guided tour of one of the most fascinating towns we have ever visited.
pm – Evening at your leisure. Enjoy an “aperitivo” on the hotels rooftop terrace, enjoy a quiet night out on your own, or we can decide as a group on where and what we would like to enjoy for dinner this evening  at one of Matera’s restaurants.

Accommodation – Pianelle Resort (Matera)

(Included Meals: B, L)


Day 7 – Tuesday Tuesday May 27th 2025 – Castel del Monte – King Frederick II Masterpiece


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am – Breakfast at your leisure.
10:00am – Check out from our hotel for our Group Departure for one of Southern Italy’s most prominent and talked-about landmarks, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Castel del Monte, dating back to Puglia’s 13th century King Frederick II.
Castel del Monte
 Located in the municipality of Andria, Castel del Monte rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region in southern Italy near the Adriatic Sea. It is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture which was completed in 1240. The octagonal form is perfect, its design a harmonious blend of cultural elements from Classical antiquity, Muslim architecture and the Cistercian Gothic of northern Europe.

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13:00pm – Group Lunch is in the small village of Montegrosso, only a few minutes from Castel del Monte, where one of Puglia’s most acclaimed and awarded chefs, Chef Pietro Zito will prepare us a degustation of some of Puglia’s most typical dishes, with most of the produce harvested in the restaurant’s nearby garden.

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Antichi Orecchiete 250x166 Antichi Limoncello Almonds 250x166

17:00pm – Arrival in Bari and check in to our hotel – Dilman Boutique Hotel Bari

BARI is the capital of Puglia and is a beautiful sunny town full of tradition and charm that leans over the Adriatic Sea.
This historic Southern Italian city features a rich collection of architecture and art, testimony of its ancient history, ranging from Roman buildings to Mediaeval churches, from the castle of Frederick II to the elegant buildings in Baroque style.
Along with the later Art nouveau and Decò styles, and not forgetting the Saracen, Byzantine and Norman influences through the ages, they have all contributed to shaping the ancient “Barium”, giving it that unique charm only possible from a skilled blending and overlaying of so many different cultures.

OUR HOTELDilman Luxury (Bari)
Perfectly situated only a few steps from central Bari’s main walking streets filled with branded shops, attractions, cafes, and restaurants and only a short walk to Bari’s historic “Bari Vecchia” (Old Town), the Dilman Luxury hotel is our base to explore this fascinating city.
The Dilman is an exclusive boutique hotel, ideal to live a unique stay experience in Bari. With refined, modern and spacious rooms, forefront design solutions and a vertical garden with more than 300 aromatic plants.
The hotel is situated only a few steps from the posh Murat district, while Bari’s famous walking streets of Via Sparano, Corso Cavour, or Corso Vittorio Emanuele around the hotel offer many branded shops, attractions, cafes, and restaurants.

Evening at your leisure – Visit Bari’s “high street”, Via Sparano, and enjoy an evening passegiata and a spot of shopping with the locals. Once the shops close, enjoy a seaside walk along Bari’s “lungomare” esplanade, the longest seaside promenade in all of Italy, and maybe a pizza with the locals at one of the many pizzerias in town.

Accommodation: Dilman Luxury (Bari)

Included Meals: B, L


Day 9  – Wednesday May 28th 2025  Bari Vecchia Experience

am – Breakfast at your leisure. Enjoy a continental breakfast in the hotel’s modern Wine Bar next door.

9:00 – 11:00am – Join Nico for a short Walking Tour of the historic centre of Bari (Bari Vecchia or “Old Bari”). We will tour the historic centre of Bari (Bari Vecchio) with it’s maze of “medina-like” alleyways that date back to the middle ages. Life continues in the old part of Bari and we will also witness the famous little corner of the area (“La via delle orechiette”) where women continue to hand make orecchiette, out on the street, to be sold for family gatherings.



pm – Afternoon at your leisure. Go for a walk around Bari’s high street or old quarter, stopping for aperitivi at some of the many small bars hidden down the back lanes and piazzas of this magical town.
Evening at your leisure. Join Nico & Belinda at a local pizzeria where we can sample one of Bari’s newest food trends called “Spaghetti alla Assassina” recently introduced to Stanley Tucci in his Puglia episode of “Searching for Italy”!

Accommodation: Dilman Luxury (Bari)

Included Meals: B

Day 10  – Thursday May 29th 2025  Free Day or OPTIONAL visit to Monopoli

am – Breakfast at your leisure.
Today has been set aside as a Free Day for you to do as much or as little as you like for your final day in Puglia.
Do some last minute shopping in Bari’s “High Street” of Via Sparano; enjoy a leisurely walk along Bari’s beautiful “lungomare” on the Adriatic Sea; or for those that would like to venture further afield, join Nico & Belinda for the short 20-minute train trip to one of their other favourite Puglian seaside town – Monopoli.

Located on the Adriatic coast, Monopoli is a vibrant and picturesque town that is full of surprises. The town draws many visitors every year with its authentic atmosphere, classy restaurants, and colourful, lively harbour, making it a great place for a day trip when on a tour of Puglia
The origins of this ancient town date back to the 5th century BC. Due to its unique positioning along the coast, Monopoli has long been a safe haven for travellers, fishermen, pilgrims and hikers. When you visit Monopoli as part of your private tour of Puglia, you will discover an unforgettable town full of historical buildings which reflect the town’s long history, such as the Baroque Cathedral of Our Lady of Madia, the town’s most splendid and important landmark, and the wonderful castle of Charles V, the symbol of the city.
But Monopoli is so much more than its history. The town has a plethora of fine restaurants and stylish bars, some of them overlooking the harbour with its many colourful fishing boats, and is the perfect place to enjoy a unique and tranquil Mediterranean atmosphere.

20:00pm – Final Group dinner at one of our favourite Bari restaurants.

Accommodation: Dilman Luxury (Bari)

(Included Meals: B, D)


Day 10 – Friday May 30th 2025 – Departure – Arrivederci

am – Breakfast at your leisure
10:00am – Following breakfast and checkout, we will say our final “arrivederci” and wish everyone well on the next part of their journeys. We will be available to assist with those that might require help in getting to the Bari Airport or Bari Train Station for your onward travels.

Bari Night Square



To secure your places, please contact Nico Moretti at or +61 424 564 106, and we will forward you a 2025 “Discover Puglia – Secrets of Southern Italy Experience Booking Form” for you to complete to secure your places.
Booking Deadline: 01 November 2024
Booking Deposit: A $AUD2000 per person non-refundable* Booking Deposit  is required to secure a booking for the tour, at the time of your reservation. *We are able to refund your Booking Deposit should a replacement be found for any cancelled places.
Final Payment: Payment in full is required at least 90 days prior to departure (Payment Due : 20 February 2025)
We look forward to hosting you on this very special Discover Puglia – Secrets of Southern Italy Luxury Cuisine & Culture Experience”. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
Grazie mille, Nico & Belinda Moretti

Bari Lungomare Night



Ciao all, Jacquie has so eloquently summed up what we all felt about your Very Special “Cooking & Culture Tour”! 
Our amazing group of people who will be life long friends in my book. Happy to spread the word Nico & Belinda you two are truly a great pair of individuals, who certainly made our world magical. Thank each and everyone of you for being so inclusive with me, I had a ball. Jennifer xx 
Nico and Belinda, Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the Puglia Tour. Your organization and planning made the trip seamless and your knowledge of all the places visited was super impressive!
The accommodation was fantastic and unique, and the experience made us feel very special. The transportation was so comfortable and show cased a great way to see the countryside. The walking tours in the towns you took us to showed us how the locals live, shop and most importantly eat and drink!  Thank you again,  it was a trip we will have fond memories of for a long time…Lori xxx
My Sister and I joined The “Discovery Puglia Experience” In October 2023. The group was small, to keep it intimate enough, enabling our amazing host and guide Nico Moretti to give it a personal touch. Nico’s character and amazing knowledge to all things foodie in Italy, made for the perfect recipe in creating an amazing experience. We explored the old city streets , nibbling on street delicacies along the way! He took us to places off the tourist trodden track to dine and drink delicious meals. The tour offered plenty of options too, so when we needed a little down time we could relax. Highly recommended!…Penny 
Dear Nico and Belinda, I want to say an enthusiastic “thank you” for the recent “Cuisine and Culture” tour in Puglia, Southern Italy.
This was my 5th trip with you over the past 13 years (lucky me!), and each has been a memorable and enriching window on the world through the lens of food, wine and authentic cultural experiences.
After the hordes of people in Rome and the Amalfi Coast, it was refreshing to visit the less touristy region of Puglia, and be immersed in its rich history, beautiful architecture and delectable “cucina povera”.
Your local knowledge and meticulous organisation ensured a smooth, hassle-free trip from pickup in Brindisi to departure in Bari.  Our small group of like-minded travellers provided delightful companionship.
Choosing a highlight is difficult. Was it the amazing wine tasting and lunch at Castello Monaci; the impromptu focaccia picnic at Altamura; the evening stroll around cosmopolitan Bari; or perhaps the tuk tuk tour of beautiful Polignano a Mare? For me, it was Gianna’s cooking class and dinner in the beautiful baroque city of Lecce. My attempts at making orecchiette and burrata were far from perfect, but the infectious effervescence, hospitality and passion of Gianna most definitely were! It’s these personal connections that make your tours unique and unforgettable! Warm regards…Anne
This was our first experience of touring with Nico and Belinda ,and our introduction to this fascinating part of Italy! The experience was well beyond our expectations- with varied and carefully chosen destinations ,excellent accommodation, inspiring guides , and some serious (and hilarious ) cooking classes – and all with a small group of great travel companions, who soon became friends who really enjoyed each other’s company .
We are usually independent travellers, and had never been on an “organised” trip before but will not hesitate to entrust another holiday experience to Nico and Belinda -who are the perfect hosts!…Anne & Michael
2023 “Discover Puglia Experience”
Dear Nico and Belinda, Thank you both for such an amazing tour of the Puglia region. We feel that you highlighted the “best of” and the “must see” attractions perfectly and at just the right pace. The cooking class with the divine Gianna was a personal highlight and your selection of restaurants was outstanding. Cannot wait to join you on another foodie tour, please keep us updated…Stephen and Nick 
“Discover Puglia tour”
This was our second tour with Nico and Belinda, and met all our expectations. Our last tour in 2013 was in Vietnam – a fantastic experience. Puglia is not usually part of the Grand Tour of Italy, and we jumped at the chance of seeing this region in the company of Nico, who has family there. Fascinating country, cuisine and sights with a small friendly like minded group and with Nico to save us attempting phrase book Italian! Remarkable restaurants and food (and wine!), but also plenty of time to do your own thing too. Highly recommended…Steve & Marina  
“Discover Puglia – Southern Italy Tour”
It’s hard to wipe the smile off your face when you think about this tour. To escape the tourist track that you may find yourself on with larger companies, Nico takes you to his forefathers part of Italy and away from the crowds. The accommodation at Masseria Cervarolo was sublime and then off to Ostuni Brindisi for another visual feast. Include these two wonderful places to stay with sojourns to an ancient olive oil estate, an amazing winery, castles, caves….. oh and the cooking classes. There are a couple of inclusive meals that you will definitely enjoy should you decide to take this tour. This was my 4th tour with Nico and Belinda and my wife’s 5th. All are exceptional private affairs where you are among like minded people. There is no expectation to perform with Nico’s tours, if you wish to kick back and have time to yourself, then you do so. Otherwise it’s fun and adventure all the way…Ric & Jill 

Upcoming Classes

Date Time Price Availability
Wednesday 21st May 2025 11am $ pp 4 Places
None of these dates suit you? request a class

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