They say that Salento is the Italian California: sun, sea, relax, dines on the beach, late night dancing. Slow life and wild nightlife. Happiness ! Is that true? Yes, true....but.... But there's another Puglia because the region is vast, plural.... It stretches from the sink of caves that plunge into the underworld to the heights of the sanctuaries, from small sunny towns to wide parks inspiring freedom.
(from the guide “Puglia and Basilicata”, Luca Iaccarino)
Your day by day program
Arrival in Matera. Famous for its ‘Sassi’ (cave dwellings), UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. Overnight in Matera.
In the morning you will meet our representative for the briefing and delivery of your roadbook and GPS (optional). You leave Matera walking through a spectacular passage excavated in the rock, from where you can admire the extraordinary and ancient beauty of the Sassi, UNESCO World Heritage Site. For some kilometres you walk on a scenic path along the rim of the Matera ravine (in Italian: gravina), a deep canyon dotted with cave dwellings and rupestrian churches. Passing through the plains, the olive groves and the vast expanses of wheat fields, you arrive at Montescaglioso.
Overnight in Montescaglioso.
(Distance: 18,8 km; elevation: 442 m; terrain:gravel/paved; time: 5h)
Walking down the hill on a panoramic path through the woods, you leave Montescaglioso and its wonderful Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo behind you. In this stage, you cross a gentle and surprising landscape, characterised by rolling hills covered with wheat fields and interspersed with small pine or oak groves and Mediterranean shrub. A series of paths winds through this landscape up to the harsh area of the ravines.
Overnight in Ginosa.
(Distance: 14,3 km; elevation: 303 m; terrain: gravel/paved; time: 4 h)
From Ginosa, the hike continues towards Laterza. You explore a couple of astonishing rupestrian villages, known as Il Casale and Rivolta, characterized by a lot of cave dwellings arranged on multiple levels and connected with each other by staircases and pathways. The two villages were inhabited until the first half of the 20th century and preserve old and recent evidence of human life. The walk continues towards Laterza on the ravine bed, in a wild and timeless landscape
where the hand of nature and the hand of man have blended together since prehistoric times. Overnight in Laterza.
(Distance: 13,8 km; elevation: 223 m; terrain: gravel/paved; Time: 4h)
Start from Laterza, a town renowned for its maiolica and bread. For several kilometers, you walk down a striking path along the rim of the Laterza ravine, one of the largest ravines in Europe with its walls higher than 200 meters; an authentic naturalistic paradise that reveals breathtaking landscapes and views at every step. Then, from the MonteCamplo natural reserve, dominated by the Macedonian oak, the pubescent oak, the kermes oak, the holm oak and the Aleppo
pine, a series of roads and paths lead you to Castellaneta, perched on the edge of a ravine; the Castellaneta ravine, 145m deep and about 300m wide, is in fact one of the largest and most spectacular ravines in Puglia.
Overnight in Castellaneta.
(Distance: 24 km; elevation: 457 m; terrain:gravel/paved; Time: 4h)
The tour goes on towards Palagianello. After some kilometres,you find on the way the rupestrian church of San Nicola, an impressive picture gallery of Apulian popular sacred art in the Middle Ages. An old tratturo (sheep track) goes up through an area full of rupestrian settlements, including the village of Casalrotto, made up of a few hundred caves carved into the rock on both sides of the ravine, and the church of Sant’Angelo, the only rupestrian church in Italy arranged on two floors. You climb up to the top of the hill on which Mottola stands.
Overnight in Mottola.
(Distance: 16,5; elevation: 374 m; terrain: gravel/paved; time: 4/5h)
The stage starts from Mottola, known as ‘The Ionian Spy’ because of its position on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Taranto and the mountains of Calabria. Walking down at the foot of the hill, you come across the rupestrian church of San Gregorio, which preserves some frescoes, most notably a majestic Christ Pantocrator. A long path winding through ancient olive trees lets you leave the town and enter the silent countryside, where cultivated fields alternate with Mediterranean scrub. Then, you reach Massafra, one of the capitals of the rupestrian civilization in Italy, known for this reason as the ‘Italian Thebaid’. The town is in fact situated between two ravines, San Marco and Madonna della Scala, dotted with caves and underground environments that preserve extraordinary evidence of the life that man has led there for thousands of years. Overnight in Massafra.
(Distance: 18,7 km; elevation: 143 m; terrain: gravel/paved; time: 5h)
Leaving Massafra, you go towards Masseria Amastuola, an old masseria (fortified farm) dating back to the 15th century, surrounded by a charming vineyard-garden designed by the famous landscape architect Fernando Caruncho. Walking down a path on the bed of the Triglie ravine, through the typical thick vegetation of the Mediterranean scrub and the rupestrian villages of San Cipriano and San Michele, you arrive at Crispiano.
Overnight in Crispiano.
(Distance: 17,5 km; elevation: 374 m; terrain:gravel/paved; time: 4/5h)
The hike starts from Crispiano, known as ‘the town of 100 masserie’, which marks the border between the Valle d’Itria and the Terra delle Gravine. The first stop on the way to Martina Franca is Bosco delle Pianelle, a large wood that is one of the most important and largest green lungs in Puglia. The wood is situated in a doline, called Gravina del Vuolo, and it is mostly made up of holm oaks, with some specimens of remarkable size. The second stop is the Natural Reserve of
Eastern Murge. The itinerary goes along Masseria Galeone, which hosts the Murgese horse breeding centre and the Museum dedicated to this beautiful native horse breed.
Overnight in Martina Franca.
(Distance: 27,4 km; elevation: 462 m;terrain: gravel/paved; time: 7/8h)
Martina Franca, Baroque gem of the Valle d’itria, is your starting point today. The route runs on paths and small roads characterized by the typical dry-stone walls and surrounded by a rural landscape consisting of wheat fields, olive groves, vineyards and masserie. Walking through the paths of Bosco Selva, what remains of a larger oak wood that once covered a considerable part of the area, you reach Alberobello, the renowned ‘Capital of Trulli’, UNESCO World Heritage
Site since 1996. Its old town is in fact entirely made up of these unique buildings.
Overnight in Alberobello.
(Distance: 19 km; elevation: 234 m;terrain: gravel/paved; time: 5h)
End of trip after breakfast.
Every day, all year.
- Nights in 2 and 3-star hotels.
- From 2
- Between 4 and 5 hours per day with average elevations.
- We will take care of your luggage every day.
- Mid-season departures: 01st Jun-14th Jul / 24th Aug - 22nd Sept : 50€
- High-season departures: 23rd March - 1st April / 15th Jul - 23rd Aug / 23rd Dec - 7th Jan : 120€
- Bed & Breakfast service
- 10 nights accomodation
- Luggage transport service
- 1 Download per person to the appwith information material, tracks andtips on what to see and restaurants
- Eco-bag with: bottle of water,apulian snacks, energy drink
- Health and luggage insurance
- Telephone assistance
- GPS rental
- Transfer from/to airport
- Lunch and dinner
- Tourist taxes
- Everything not mentioned as"Included".