CAA Croatia/Italy Trip: October 2-11, 2020

From Dubrovnik to Apulia: Venetian Trade Routes
and the Norman Empire in the Mediterranean

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Join fellow Chase alumni in October 2020 to explore former 13th century Venetian trade cities in Croatia and Montenegro before crossing the Adriatic–the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean– to Italy to visit Apulia (also known as Puglia). The escorted trip, organized by Wolfgang Fenkart-Froeschl, will feature exquisite architecture, remarkable historic sites, marvelous food and wine, and, of course, the best of company!


The trip should be a revelation to those of us who need to brush up on our history of the 13th century...how many of us know the legacy of Frederick IIKing of Sicily from 1198, King of Germany from 1212, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 and King of Jerusalem from 1225? Under his rule, art, architecture, literature and science flourished in Southern Italy. For a couple of decades, Apulia (now known as Puglia) was the cradle of the world–a melting pot of different cultures and along with Venice, a starting point for Crusaders sailing to the Holy Land.


ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS


Friday, October 2nd: WELCOME TO DUBROVNIK

We will meet for an afternoon welcome drink at the hotel where we'll spend our first three nights: the 5-star beachfront More Hotel and Resort, just two miles north of Dubrovnik. (You are responsible for your own transfer from Dubrovnik Airport; the ride is along beautiful coastline.)

 

We will then visit the historic center of Dubrovnik and walk through the narrow pedestrian streets of this medieval town. (Game of Thrones fans may recognize it as "King's Landing", capital of the Seven Kingdoms!) We will pass through the Pile Gate (left) to stroll over Stradun, the main street, to reach the town hall and the harbor.  We will have dinner in the Old Town.

 

 

Saturday, October 3rd: PICTURESQUE KOTOR / MONTENEGRO
In the morning we travel south and east to cross the border to Montenegro, one of Europe's youngest independent countries. We will visit the old Mediterranean port of Kotor (left), which is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period. It is located on the Bay of Kotor, one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea. (Some have called it the southern-most fjord in Europe, but it is a ria, a submerged river canyon.) Together with the nearby limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen, Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive landscape.

Driving along the shores of the Bay, we reach picturesque Perast, which was completely restored a few years ago, maintaining its old walls made of shining white Istrian marble. We will have a light lunch in a restaurant overlooking the sea before returning to our hotel north of Dubrovnik. Dinner will be on the hotel terrace, with gorgeous views of the shore and the sea.
 
 
 
Sunday, October 4th: WINELAND PELJSESAC AND KORCULA ISLAND

In the morning we drive north, passing the old town of Mali Ston with its castle walls winding up the top of a hill. We drive on to the Peljesac Peninsula, with its sumptuous landscape of olive trees, fig trees and vineyards. The further we drive, the more we see forests turn into rugged landscape. When we reach Orebic, we take a short boat ride to the island of Korcula (right), the "green island“ of Dalmatia. We'll walk through the Old Town of Korcula, which is almost surrounded by the sea and was a bastion during the 15th and 16th century in the conflicts with the Turks over the supremacy over this part of the Mediterranean. The main city gate, the Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace all date from this period. We'll have a light lunch in Korcula. In the afternoon we return by boat to the Peljesac Peninsula and to Mali Ston for dinner. (Mali Ston is known for its amazing seafood, especially oysters.) After dinner, we return to our hotel.


Monday, October 5th: DUBROVNIK AND FERRY TO ITALY

Take your time in the morning for a leisurely breakfast on the hotel terrace overlooking the sea, for a swim in the sea or in the pool or for an invigorating walk on the pedestrian path in front of the hotel all along the coastline. Lunch is in the stunning restaurant of our hotel.

In the afternoon we'll go back to the Old Town of Dubrovnik and walk through the narrow streets. We will visit a major church, an art gallery and the oldest Sephardic synagogue in continual use.  We'll have time to stroll around the main shopping street, the Boulevard, before we board our overnight ferry to Bari in Apulia, Italy. We will have dinner and sleep aboard the ferry. (Note that our bus will also board the ferry, so you may want to leave your main bag on the bus and pack a smaller tote for what you need overnight.)
 
 
Tuesday, October 6th: OLD BARI AND BAROQUE LECCE
Arrive in Bari in the morning and walk on the old city walls from the main square to one of the most famous churches of this region: the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Nicholas (right), dating back to the Norman domination of Apulia in the 12th century. The church holds the relics of Saint Nicholas and is an important pilgrimage destination for both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. The other outstanding building in the Old Town of Bari is the Cathedral of San Sabino.  
 
We'll make time for our first Italian caffé espresso!
 
Then we'll drive further south on the scenic coastline motorway, passing Ostuni to reach the tiny historic town of Ceglie Messapica for lunch in a lovely intimate restaurant featuring local specialities.
 
After lunch, we drive to our hotel for one night in Lecce, called the "Florence of the South" because of its rich Baroque architectural array. We'll have time to relax and time for a first stroll on the beautiful pedestrian streets of the old town. Close to our hotel is the main square, dedicated to Sant'Onofrio, the patron saint of Lecce. A statue of the saint (right) stands on one of two columns used to mark the end of the first-ever paved street in the antique Roman world: the Via Appia or Appian Way.
 
After dinner in a Lecce restaurant, we will visit the Piazzo del Duomo, one of the main squares in town, featuring Lecce's cathedral, clocktower and Archbishop's Palace. This square with its dramatically illuminated buildings is worthy of an opera set!
 
 
 
 
 
Wednesday, October 7th: SALENTO COUNTRYSIDE AND OTRANTO
In the morning, we visit the Basilica of Santa Croce, one of the most outstanding examples of the baroque period in Lecce. Then we'll drive south of Lecce through the Salento region, famous for its olive trees as well as for its rocky and picturesque coastline. We reach Castro and drive north along the coastline through the thermal bath town of Santa Cesarea Terme and to the fortified Otranto, the most easterly point of the Italian mainland. We will visit the Castle of Otranto (namesake of Horace Walpole's novel, generally acknowledged to be the first gothic novel)  and then Otranto Cathedral, consecrated in 1088 and famous for its mosaic floor dating back to the 12th century (detail, right).
 
After lunch in Otranto, we drive to the 5-star hotel near Monopoli where we will stay for the next four nights: the Masseria Il Melograno, an exquisite former farmhouse once owned by a 17th century olive oil baron. Take a walk among the olive trees, many of which are 300 years and older, or swim in the outdoor or indoor pool. Dinner is at the hotel restaurant, where Chef Vito says, "If it's not in season, it is not on the menu."
 
Thursday, October 8th: FREDERICK II'S CASTEL DEL MONTE AND TRANI

Our day begins with a visit to the extraordinary 13th century Castel del Monte of Frederick II (left). The castle was built presumingly as a hunting lodge. With its octagonal shape on top of a hill, it is the landmark building of Apulia. From the castle one can see both the nearby sea and the Cathedral of Trani. We're then headed to Trani's picturesque harbor for lunch at an exclusive restaurant known for its outstandíng fish.

 

After lunch we head back to our hotel to relax. In the evening, we'll meet for some local specialty finger foods and wine in the Masseria's olive oil mill.

 

Friday, October 9th: POLIGNANO A MARE, MONOPOLI AND OLIVE OIL TASTING 

In the morning, walk through the little town of Polignano a mare, which is built on rock projecting beetling 70 feet over the sea. The entire town is a pedestrian area with little handicraft shops, bars and stunning vistas. Then we're off to Monopoli (right), a very untouristy fisherman’s town with a handsome main square inside the old city walls. We'll have lunch in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon we visit an olive oil farmhouse and taste some of this "Apulian gold", after which you will never again just buy "best olive oil“, but seek Coratina or Leccino oiive oil or oil from Termite di Bitetto olives. Well oiled (!), we head back to our hotel and have time to relax before dinner at the Masseria Il Melograno.

 

Saturday, October 10th:

TRULLI HOUSES IN ALBEROBELLO AND THE WHITE CITIES OF PUGLIA

We take a day trip to see the unique "trulli" houses (left) in the town of Alberobello: whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs. Then we head for the whitewashed towns that dot the heel of Puglia, visiting the narrow streets inside the old town of Locorotondo
and Martina Franca, the city of a Duke. From the Duke‘s Palace (right) there is the pedestrian area leading to the impressive Basilica di San Martino. We have lunch in the town before returning to our Masseria for our last dinner together.

 

Sunday, October 11th: DEPARTURE

Spend time in the Masseria until your flight back from Bari or Brindisi (Salento Airport).

Transfer to the airport according to your departure time.

 

OUR HOTELS

DUBROVNIK: 5-STAR MORE HOTEL AND RESORT

All our rooms have a sea view and air conditioning. Each room has a private bathroom with marble elements and a bathtub. Wellness & Beauty More consists of the fitness centre and Hydro tub.
Restaurant Tramuntana offers local Dalmatian dishes based on the best selection of Adriatic sea food. Cave Bar More, located in a natural cave split into three levels beneath the hotel, features a spectacular setting where you can relax with a wide choice of beverages and snacks. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. A path that stretches along the entire peninsula and passes right next to the property is ideal for walking and relaxing by the sea.Three overnight stays

 

FERRY DUBROVNIK - BARI

This is our only choice for geting from Dubrovnik to the other side of the Adriatic coast. Please do not expect cruise ship comfort, but normal and clean 2-bedded cabins. Dinner and breakfast are served in the restaurant. You'll get a nice view of the coastline when arriving in Bari! One overnight stay

 

LECCE: 4-STAR SUITE HOTEL SANTA CHIARA

Suite Santa Chiara is a boutique hotel in the historical center of Lecce, right next to the Santa Chiara church and a five-minute walk to the cathedral or the Sant‘Onofrio square. From the roof garden on the fourth floor you can not only enjoy a great view but also a good drink. Rooms are very elegant and nicely decorated with soothing tones. All rooms have air conditioning, minibar, in-room safe and free WiFi. One overnight stay


MONOPOLI: 5-STAR MASSERIA IL MELOGRANO

Masserieas are fortified country houses owned by the olive oil barons dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Masseria Il Melograno is one of the finest of its kind. Guests are welcome to use the outside pool, the indoor pool with Spa and Fitness area as well as to stroll around the immense gardens and property. All rooms are very spacious with air conditioning, minibar, in-room safe, free WiFi and all amenities of a hotel of this kind. Four overnight stays

 
 
 

 

  Pricing, Registration and Other Information


WE'RE SOLD OUT!!
 

We will begin a waiting list. Please write to jablonkt@aol.com if you want to be on it.  
 
You must be a dues-paying CAA member to register for the trip and may bring one non-member guest. We have 20 rooms, for 35 or 36  people (depending on how many singles).
 
Please click here for waiver and small print. Each participant (as in two waivers per couple) must sign a waiver and return it to us after registering.
 

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Participants should be able to walk up to half a mile, often on hilly or cobblestoned streets.

 

PRICING
Double (two individuals): €5.840 / $6,375

Single: €3.420 / $3,735
 

Included in the price:

► excursions in comfortable tour coach
(minimum 43-seater) with AC / heating
► eight overnight stays in hotels (seven in exclusive 5-star hotels, one night in a 4-star hotel) and one overnight stay on the ferry to Bari
► full board (17 dinners or lunch / light lunch in selected restaurants), including wine, beer, water
► breakfasts in the hotels and ferry
► wine tasting, olive oil tasting and much more, according to the program
► qualified city guides and tour guide
► all entrance fees
► transfers from / to the airport are not included, but can be arranged upon request
 
REGISTRATION AND DEPOSITS
Deposits must be made by March 15, 2020 (refundable until that date):
Double: €1.170 / $1,275

Single: €685 / $750

 

If you are registering for a couple, please indicate the name of the person with whom you will be traveling under "Comments".
 
If you have trouble registering or paying in dollars, please contact Ken Jablon.
For questions about paying in euros after you are given the bank account information, please contact Wolfgang Fenkart-Fröschl.
 
REGISTER HERE
(You must be logged in to the website to register.)
 
Participants paying in US$ should register and pay by credit card by clicking on the desired room type:
 
Participants paying in euros should register online by clicking below on the desired room type. You will be contacted and given the account number to which you should send payment.

Single Room (€)


Final payment is due by 11 am EST Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

 

REFUNDS

July 1 - September 9: 50% of the price refunded
September 10 - 27: 20% of the price refunded
No refunds after September 27.
 
IS IT APULIA OR PUGLIA?
Apulia is the Latin name for the region, which, according to some topographical experts, derives from the Greek word Iapudes, signifying "those who live on the other side of the Adriatic". Puglia is the modern Italian name, evidently derived from its Latin predecessor. (www.thethinkingtraveller.com)
 

WEATHER

Typical daytime temperatures:

15-25 C / 60-77 F

Typical evening temperatures could go down to 12 C / 55 F.

 

TIME ZONE

Dubrovnik and Bari are in the same time zone as Vienna and Frankfurt, an hour ahead of London and six hours ahead of NYC.

 

PASSPORTS

No Visas are required for travelers from the United States, the UK or EU countries.

 

DRESS CODE

Casual during the day; for dinners, smart casual (jacket, no tie).

 

TOUR GUIDE

Traveling with us will be Austrian Wolfgang Friedl. He opened the tour's operator, Bel-Art Kunst und Musikreisen of Vienna, more than 20 years ago, after studying art history in Naples.
 
____________________________________________
 
LOOK WHO'S COMING
as of 3:45 pm (EST), Sunday, February 16
 
36 participants
SOLD OUT!
 
Robert and Valerie Binney
Paul and Ann Brandow
Jean Marc and Marianne Bara
Vince and Genevieve Dole
Bobby and Kathleen Fabros
Wolfgang and Gerlinde Fenkart-Fröschl
Jim and Mary Fleming
Becky Ford
Bill and Wendy Foulke
Toni Geyelin
Peter and Sigrid Gross
Paul Heller and Ruth Acker
Steve and Betsy Hunter
Claire Irving
Ken and Ann Jablon
Robert Mitchell
Jean Claude Schaeffer
Tony Singleton
Harry and Suzanne Tether
Eberhard and Helga von Wangenheim
John and Denise Ward