Arrive Bari, drive to the lovely harbour city of Trani.
Drive north to the attractive Norman Church of San Leonardo di Siponto has some very fine Romanesque carving. The castle at Manfredonia, named after its 13th century Swabian founder, houses a remarkable collection of Daunian Iron Age stelae with sculptured images of warriors, women and ships. Monte Sant’Angelo, site of one of the most ancient Christian shrines in Italy, the cave sanctuary of the Archangel Michael, high on the Gargano plateau.
The 13th century Castel del Monte, spectacular hunting lodge of the Emperor Frederick II; Canosa which, unlike most Apulian cities, remained loyal to Rome in the Hannibalic War. We see the tomb of the crusader Bohemond, a gem of Apulian romanesque. On to Cannae, scene of Hannibal’s victory over the Romans. Visit the medieval village on the hill above the battlefield and follow from this viewpoint the battle tactics recorded by Polybius and Livy.Return via Barletta to see the colossal statue of a late Roman Emperor, recovered from the sea in the late Middle Ages, the largest bronze statue to survive from the ancient world.
Visit Trani’s magnificent Norman cathedral, thought by many to be the finest in Apulia. Building began in 1096, incorporating the previous Byzantine church as the crypt of the cathedral. Drive to Gravina, where Alastair Small has spent many years excavating the Roman and Iron Age settlement (not at present accessible to tourists). The name records the fact that the city grew up on the edge of a deep ravine. Visit the museum in the town to see some of the finds, and the frescoes in the Byzantine tradition from the rock-cut church ofSan Vito Vecchio. Visit the museum of Gioia del Colle en route to our next hotel near Martina Franca.
To Alberobello, famous (and much-visited) for its trulli, pepper-pot houses with corbelled roofs the stones of which gradually taper inwards to a capstone. They are typical of the region, but Alberobello has the largest concentration - over 1000 houses, including a church. Visit Massafra to see two of the medieval rock-cut churches, decorated with frescoes in the Byzantine tradition, characteristic of this part of Italy. Continue to Taranto, to visit the superb museum, only recently re-opened after renovation.
Whole day in Lecce, the best-preserved Baroque city in the Mediterranean, visiting churches, the museum and the amphitheatre of the Roman city of Lupiae. When Lecce became part of the Kingdom of Naples, it took on a new cultural identity as the ‘Apulian Athens’. Charles V gave Lecce a castle and massive circuit of walls to defend it against Turkish pirates. From the 16th to 18th centuries, this protection enabled the development of the ‘Lecce Baroque’, characterised by exuberant carving. On to our excellent hotel in Lecce.
On to the pretty seaside town of Otranto, to see the Byzantine church of San Pietro with fine frescoes of the 10th century, and the Norman cathedral with mosaic floor depicting biblical stories. The massive Aragonese castle was built as a bastion against the Turks, who had captured Otranto in 1480 and massacred many of its inhabitants. Return to Lecce for some free time in this beautiful Baroque town.
Return flight from Brindisi.
- Flights - Scheduled flights from London to Bari, Brindisi to London, both via Rome or Milan
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Guide Lecturer - Professor Alastair Small. Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 29 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them
- Tour Manager - Lois Ferguson (May 13). We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient
- Meals - All meals included (dinners with wine), except lunch Days 1 & 8
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme
- Field Notes
3 nights in a handsome former convent in Trani;
2 nights in a hotel near Martina Franca;
2 nights in a stately converted palazzo in baroque Lecce, now a prestigious 5* hotel.
|Mon 27th - Mon 3rd Jun 2013 with Professor Alastair Small
||Singles: Last one