CAA Italy Trip–Naples to Apulia:
October 6-15, 2022
Art, History and Culinary Highlights in Southern Italy
After a couple of pandemic-caused postponements, the trip is set – fingers crossed – with a new itinerary and new dates. Because of the uncertainty of the ferry schedule between Croatia and Italy, and the time that would be lost with Covid testing requirements at national borders if we visited three countries, we will not include Croatia and Montenegro as originally planned. We have added days in Naples–ah, Napoli!–before we explore Apulia (also known as Puglia, the "heel" of Italy's "boot").
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 II–King 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 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.
Thursday, October 6: WELCOME TO NAPLES
- Individual arrival at Naples Airport or train station. Transfer to PALAZZO ALABARDIERI (left), our 4-star hotel where we will stay for three nights, in the very heart of Naples,
- Meet at the hotel to get itineraries, name badges, etc., before an afternoon walk through the pedestrian areas close to our hotel and to Piazza Plebiscito, the main square with the Royal Palace. Walk to the famous Opera House Teatro San Carlo and through the 19th century Galleria Umberto.
- Take a first glance over the bay of Naples and to the volcanic Mount Vesuvius.
- Welcome drink in the most traditional café of Naples, The Gambrinus, with its stucco-covered walls and ceiling.
- Dinner in a traditional restaurant close to our hotel.
Friday, October 7
NAPLES' OLD TOWN & SPECTACULAR PANORAMIC VIEW OVER THE CITY
- In the morning, we take a short bus ride to the Old Town of Naples to the Cathedral, with the chapel of the patron saint of the city, San Gennaro. The locals traditionally believe that San Gennaro saved Naples from the many eruptions of Mount Vesuvius.
- From the Cathedral, we walk through the narrow back streets of the Old Town, lined with churches, workshops of traditional craftsmen (with the typical Christmas creches and statues made of clay), bars and tiny restaurants.
- We visit the gothic Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore before strolling over to the lively Piazza San Domenico Maggiore.
- For lunch we drive up to the Vomero Hill overlooking the city of Naples and enjoy some of the best pizza and antipasti in town. Be fully immersed in the Neapolitan way of life in this restaurant frequented by locals.
- In the afternoon our private bus takes us to some of the best viewing points over the city, passing some of the most beautiful residential areas with great panoramic views over the entire Gulf of Naples.
- In the evening, enjoy a glass of wine and light dinner in Enoteca Belledonne, right next to our hotel. Naples‘ Saturday Night Fever at its best (even on a Friday night)!
Saturday, October 8
ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM AND POMPEII
- In the morning, visit the National Archeological Museum of Naples, with the most important artifacts found in the city of Pompeii, which was covered by masses of ashes and pumice from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24 in the year 79 AD. See the most important sections of the museum, including the collection of floor mosaics found inside the Roman houses, fresco paintings taken off the walls and household objects, as well as some famous bronze statues that once stood in gardens and courtyards. One section of the museum is dedicated to the huge antique marble statues of the 16th century Farnese Collection.
- From the museum, we will drive 40 minutes to Pompeii itself and its excavations. After a lunch (our main meal of the day), we will walk through the ancient city to see remains of the thermal area, forum square and theater, as well as some of the most fascinating houses excavated since the rediscovery of Pompeii in the 17th century.
- We return to our hotel in Naples before going out to dinner.
Sunday, October 9
FROM SALERNO TO THE CAVE TOWN OF MATERA AND TO APULIA
- We leave Naples in the morning and drive south along the Gulf of Naples to the Gulf of Salerno and the city of Salerno. Short walk to the Romanesque cathedral and through the narrow streets of the old town.
- After crossing the plain of Battipaglia and the Sele River, we cross the Lucanian Apennine Mountains in the Basilicata region.
- We reach the region of Apulia and the beautiful baroque town of Lecce, where we will spend one night in the 5-star RISORGIMENTO.
- After checking into our hotel and dinner nearby, we’ll take a short walk to the cathedral. Passing a sumptous entrance gate, all of a sudden there is the square with the cathedral, the clock tower and the Bishop‘s Palace, illuminated as though in a fairy tale
Monday, October 10
OTRANTO AND THE SALENTO PENINSULA
- After a short walking tour through Lecce and a visit to the famous baroque Basilica of Santa Croce, we drive south into the Peninsula of Salento to reach the fortified city of Otranto (subject of Horace Walpole’s novel, The Castle of Otranto). The Strait of Otranto was once of importance to traders, as it connects the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It was subject to an Ottoman invasion and played a role in the Napoleonic War and both World Wars.
- Stroll through the narrow streets of Otranto, with its nice shops, and stop for lunch in a lovely restaurant.
- In the afternoon, we drive north, passing the city of Brindisi before reaching our luxurious and historic 5-star resort hotel, MASSERIA IL MELOGRANO, close to Monopoli, where we will spend our last five nights.
- Relax in this beautiful resort, surrounded by its garden and majestic olive trees.
- In the evening, we meet for some local finger food specialities and wine in the olive oil mill of the Masseria.
Tuesday, October 11
BARI AND POLIGNANO A MARE
- In the morning, we visit the city of Bari and take a walk from the main square on the old city walls to one of the most famous churches of this Italian region: the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Nicholas , 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.
- Time for a light lunch in one of the many nice bars in the old town.
- In the afternoon we reach the little town of Polignano a mare, which is built on an almost beetling rock at 70 feet over the sea. The entire town is a pedestrian area with little handicraft shops, bars and stunning views.
- We return to our Masseria hotel and have time to relax in the beautiful Relais. Take a walk through the olive trees garden (many of the trees are 300 years and older) or have a swim in the pool (outdoor or indoor).
- We have dinner in the beautiful restaurant of our hotel.
Wednesday, October 12
FREDERICK II‘s CASTEL DEL MONTE AND TRANI
- Visit the extraordinary Castel del Monte of Frederick II, dating back to the 13th century. The castle was presumably built as a hunting lodge. With its octagonal shape on top of a hill, it is the landmark building of Apulia.
- From the castle we can see the Cathedral of Trani in the nearby seaside town of Trani, our destination for an outstandíng and exclusive fish restaurant in the picturesque fishing harbor.
- Back to our hotel in the afternoon, with time to relax in our luxurious Masseria.
- Enjoy a light dinner and local wine in our hotel.
Thursday, October 13
THE CAVE CITY OF MATERA
- One of the most fascinating cities on the border between the region of Apulia and Basilicata is the city of Matera. The houses and churches of the old town lie hidden in a canyon and are dug into the rocks. After years of degradation, this old town has come back to life with restaurants and small shops inside these old cave houses. Many of the cave house residents are from families that have owned these cave houses for generations.
- Lunch in a beautiful cave restaurant in the old town.
- In the afternoon, we return to our hotel with time to relax.
- Light dinner in the beautiful restaurant of our hotel.
Friday, October 14
TRULLI HOUSES IN ALBEROBELLO AND THE WHITE CITIES OF PUGLIA
- Day trip to the unique tip-roofed houses in the town of Alberobello. On to the rural white town of Locorotondo with its narrow streets inside the old town.
- We then stop off for a light lunch in Martina Franca, which has a particularly well conserved old town surrounded by stone walls with prominent Baroque gates leading to piazzas and narrow, winding streets. Piazza Roma is the largest square in the old town, with a green space in the center of a largely triangular grass pattern, facing the 17th-century Palazzo Ducale.
- We return to the Masseria for our Farewell Dinner.
Saturday, October 15
- Time at your disposal in the Masseria until your flight back from Bari.
- Transfer (several departure times) to the airport, according to your departure time.
Hotels, Cost & Registration
NAPLES: **** PALAZZO ALABARDIERI (three nights)
The Hotel Palazzo Alabardieri lies in the real heart of Naples and in the liveliest and most residential area of the city. Nevertheless all rooms are extremely quiet as the hotel is built around an inner court. A nice hall, a beautiful breakfast area and elegant furnishing welcome the guests.
All rooms are very comfortable, air-conditioned and nicely furnished, with safes for valuables and a minibar.
LECCE: ***** RISORGIMENTO (one night). This hotel opened three years ago and is the best and most elegant place to stay in Lecce. All rooms have air conditioning, a safe for valuables and nice furnishings. The hotel has a beautiful rooftop terrace and is located in the very heart of Lecce, surrounded by lively pedestrian areas, restaurants and bars. This makes it the perfect place for our one-night stay in Lecce in order to see the unforgattable illumination of the central square with the cathedral, clocktower and Bishop‘s Palace.
MONOPOLI: ***** MASSERIA IL MELOGRANO (five nights)
A „Masseria“ is a fortified country house owned by the „olive oil barons“ dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Surrounded by a huge estate with majestic old olive trees, Masseria Il Melograno is one of the finest of its kind. Guests are welcome to use the outside and indoor pools, spa and fitness area, as well as stroll around the expansive gardens and property. All rooms are very spacy with air condition / heating, minibar, value-safe and all amenities of a hotel of this kind … Very good restaurant and breakfast.
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
- transfers and excursions in comfortable tour coach with AC / heating
- 9 overnight stays in exclusive 4*- to 5*- Hotels
- full board, including drinks (15 dinners or lunch / light lunch in selected restaurants;
breakfast in the hotel)
- wine tasting, olive oil tasting and much more, according to the program
- qualified city guides and tour guide
- all entrance fees
PRICE (Land Only)
You must be a CAA member to register (and can bring one guest).
Deposits are refundable until June 6, 2022.
Balance is due September 6, 2022.
Double (for two): €6,240 / $6,580
Single: €3,700 / $3,900
Deposit to hold reservation:
Double (for two): €1,200 / $1,275
Single: € 700 / $ 750
Additional night before tour start at Hotel Palazzo Alabardieri in Naples:
Double room (for two) € 230 / $ 245
Double room for single use € 180 / $ 190
If interested, please contact Wolfgang Friedl, our tour guide, at email@example.com.
Click here for "The Small Print".
If you are interested in participating, please contact
Andrea Axelrod (firstname.lastname@example.org).
[26 as of Sunday, September 25 @ 1 pm EST]
Jean Marc and Marianne Bara (2)
Paul and Ann Brandow (2)
Janin and Diane Campos (2)
Wolfgang and Gerlinde Fenkart-Froeschl (2)
Toni Geyelin (1) (w/Irving)
Claire Irving (1) (w/Geyelin)
Ken and Ann Jablon (2)
Robert Jackson and Michèle-Schutz Bowler (2)
Kathy and Mike Jiang (2)
Robert Mitchell (1)
Craig Moore (1)
Tom and Marianne Reifenheiser (2)
Ed and Mary Tan (2)
Harry and Suzanne Tether (2)
Eberhard von Wangenheim (1)
Jeanne Warner (1)
Meet Your Tour Guide, Wolfgang Friedl
I studied Tourism Managment at the Vienna University of Economics and Business as well as Art History, and Roman Archaeology, first at the University of Naples, then at the Vienna University. In 1996 I founded my Tour Operator company „BEL-ART“, specializing in art and music tours as well as enogastronomical tours.
Please be sure that on this tour from Naples to Apulia you will get so much more then I could ever describe in our brochure and itinerary! The choice of food and wines in our restaurants will follow local traditions. My stories will cover history, art history, local traditions, southern Italian way of life, explanations about local wine tradition, olive oil production, musical heritage, local language dialects and so much more …
I am really lookíng forward to showing you the best of Southern Italy and giving you and your friends lifetime memories!
BEL-ART Tour Operator
1190 Vienna / Austria
T +43 1 4406900