The detailed itinerary provides an outline of the proposed daily program. Participants should note that the daily activities described in this itinerary may be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate changes in museum opening hours, flight schedules etc. All meals are included in the tour price and are indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal. All entrance fees and permits are included in the tour price.
Naples - 3 nights
Day 1: Friday 12 October, Arrive Naples
- Arrival transfer from Naples airport for participants taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight
- Welcome Meeting & evening at leisure
Participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will be transferred by private coach to the Eurostar Hotel Excelsior, located in the Naples waterfront precinct. Participants not travelling on this flight should discuss the meeting arrangements with their ASA consultant. Following a welcome meeting, the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax after your flight. (Overnight Naples)
Day 2: Saturday 13 October, Naples
- Naples Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta)
- Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia (Caravaggio’s The Seven Acts of Mercy)
- Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano (Caravaggio’s Martyrdom of St Ursula)
- Teatro di San Carlo
- Welcome Dinner
We begin today by visiting the Duomo of Naples. Naples Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta) is often called the Cattedrale di San Gennaro (St Januarius), after the city’s patron saint. The cathedral houses a vial of his blood that is brought out twice a year; on these occasions the dried blood usually liquefies. If the blood fails to liquefy, disaster will befall Naples. On March 21, 2015, blood in the vial appeared to liquefy during a visit by Pope Francis and was taken as a sign of the saint’s favour; the blood did not liquefy when Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2007.
The Gothic cathedral was commissioned by King Charles I of Anjou (1227-1285). Construction continued under his successor, Charles II (1285-1309) and in the early 14th century under Robert of Anjou (1277-1343). It was constructed on the foundations of two Early Christian basilicas whose remains are visible. Greek and Roman artifacts have also been found beneath the building.
Within, the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro has frescoes by the great Baroque painters Domenichino (1581-1641) and Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647). There are also altarpieces by Domenichino and the great Spanish artist Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). Other masterpieces include an Assumption by Raphael’s teacher Pietro Perugino (1446-1523) and canvasses by the Neapolitan Baroque painter Luca Giordano (1634-1705). The Early Christian baptistery has 4th-century mosaics. The Minutolo Chapel, mentioned in Boccaccio’s Decameron, has 14th-century frescoes. Although later changed, the crypt retains its original portal with sculptures by the medieval Sienese sculptor Tino da Camaino 1280-1337).
We next visit the church of Pio Monte della Misericordia to see a masterpiece by Caravaggio (1571-1610), The Seven Acts of Mercy (1607). This church originally commissioned seven paintings, each depicting a separate merciful act, but Caravaggio combined all the images in one great painting that became the church’s altarpiece. In this wonderful painting, rarely seen by tourists, Caravaggio created a masterful composition, depicting the acts of burying the dead (two men carry a body); visiting the imprisoned and feeding the hungry (caritas Romae, ‘Roman charity’: a woman suckles a prisoner)); sheltering the homeless (a pilgrim asks an innkeeper for lodging); clothing the naked (St Martin clothes a naked beggar); visiting the sick (St Martin comforts a cripple) and refreshing the thirsty (God gives Samson water in the jawbone of an ass). Above, an angel transmits God’s grace that inspires charity.
We next visit the Baroque Palazzo Zavallos Stigliano, (1637-1639) designed by one of Naples’ greatest architects and sculptors, Cosimo Fanzago (1591-1678) for Giovanni Zevallos, Duke of Ostuni. The palace became an important museum in 1989. Its greatest treasure is Caravaggio’s Martyrdom of St Ursula, thought to be his last painting, made for the young Genoese nobleman Marcantonio Doria in 1610. Doria commissioned the work to mark the entry into a nunnery of his stepdaughter, who took the name Sister Ursula.
Our final visit today is to Naples’ wonderful Baroque Teatro di San Carlo (1737), the world’s oldest continuously active opera house and also, in its time, the largest. Its construction was initiated by the Bourbon King Charles VII of Naples, later Charles III of Spain (1716-1788), to replace a smaller theatre. On opening, it was much admired for its architecture, its gold decorations, and the sumptuous blue upholstery (blue and gold being the official colours of the Bourbons). We shall return to our hotel to freshen up for our welcome dinner. (Overnight Naples) BD
Day 3: Sunday 14 October, Naples – Herculaneum – Naples
- National Archaeological Museum, Naples
This morning we visit the National Archaeological Museum, founded by Charles VII of Naples (Charles III of Spain) in the 1750s, very soon after the discovery of Pompeii. This museum holds the majority of paintings, mosaics, sculptures, furniture and other objects found in Pompeii and Herculaneum. It is therefore one of the greatest museums of Roman antiquities in Europe. It is particularly noted for its wonderful Roman painting collection, taken from the walls of Pompeian houses, its famous Farnese collection, and the marvellous bronzes from the Roman Villa of the Papyri.
After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit one of the great treasures of the archaeological world – Herculaneum. Like Pompeii, this Roman seaside town was destroyed in the 79AD eruption of Mt Vesuvius. However, instead of being gradually submerged under a rain of fine ash like its larger counterpart, Herculaneum was quickly submerged by a torrent of boiling mud that spilled over the town when the side of Vesuvius’ crater collapsed. Although the excavated area is much smaller than that of Pompeii, the level of preservation found here is quite extraordinary, with almost pristine streetscapes and fine interiors. Overnight Naples) BLD
Sorrento - 2 nights
Day 4: Monday 15 October, Naples – Oplontis – Sorrento
- Capodimonte Museum, Naples
- Roman villa at Oplontis
This morning we check out of our hotel and drive to the National Museum of Naples. This is housed in the huge Capodimonte Palace (1738) that was built by Charles VII, whose intention was to create the greatest hunting lodge in Europe. Located within a lovely park on a hill overlooking the city, this vast museum houses an extremely important collection of Italian works, including Simone Martini’s Toulouse Altarpiece (c.1317), Masaccio’s Crucifixion (c.1426); Botticelli’s Madonna and Child with Two Angels (1470); Giovanni Bellini’s Transfiguration (1480); Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s The Misanthrop, and Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind (1568) and Raphaels, including his marvellous Portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (c.1511). Among this embarrassment of riches, highlights are Titian’s marvellous Portrait of Pope Paul III (1543), his Pope Paul III and his Grandsons (1546), his Danae (1545) and Caravaggio’s stunning Flagellation (c.1608).
After lunch at a local restaurant we drive to Torre Annunziata, once an outlying village and now a suburb of Naples, to visit the magnificent Roman Villa at Oplontis. This grand ‘maritime’ villa, which may have acted as a model for less grand Pompeiian ‘urban’ houses, was one of many that lined the Bay of Naples, serving as summer retreats for wealthy Romans. It was discovered in the 18th century but only excavated seriously in the 1970s, so that unlike many other sites associated with Vesuvius, it was excavated with great care and precision. It has been meticulously maintained and conserved, and we will encounter beautifully preserved wall paintings and floor mosaics that illustrate the opulent lifestyle of the Roman elite.
We then continue around the coastline to Sorrento, favourite of 18th-century ‘Grand Tourists’, where we will be based for two nights. (Overnight Sorrento) BL
Day 5: Tuesday 16 October, Sorrento – Pompeii – Sorrento
Today we take the local circumvesuviana train to visit the Roman provincial city of Pompeii, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and rediscovered in 1748. The site of Pompeii is huge and its fine state of preservation gives a vivid impression of life in a Graeco-Roman city. We shall visit its forum, baths, amphitheatre, odeon and theatre, and shall pay special attention to the wall paintings in large houses within the city and in the suburban Villa of the Mysteries. The latter has a unique painted room in the so-called ‘second style’ in which people and mythical figures perform the mysteries. The room’s extraordinary perspective places the figures on a stage in front of brilliant red panels; because we identify the red panels with the wall, the figures in front of them seem to occupy, and gesture across, the space in which we stand. (Overnight Sorrento) B
Salerno - 1 night
Day 6: Wednesday 17 October, Sorrento – Amalfi Coast – Salerno
- Amalfi Cathedral & Cloister
- Ravello Cathedral
- Villa Rufolo & Villa Cimbrone, Ravello
This morning we drive along the beautiful Amalfi coast which affords glimpses of charming seaside villages set against the azure Mediterranean. We shall stop to admire views of Positano, a picturesque resort whose white houses and luxuriant gardens descend in steep steps to the sea.
At Amalfi we encounter one of Italy’s most important medieval trading cities. In the 6th century it traded with Byzantium. It later contested control of the seas with the Muslims and then with competing Italian cities like Pisa. Its relationship to Islam was ambivalent. Frequent hostilities did not obviate trade with Muslims and Amalfi enriched itself by exploiting links to the vast Islamic trading empire that stretched from Sicily, Spain and North Africa to India and China. Pious citizens of Amalfi created a hospice for pilgrims in Jerusalem from which grew the Order of the Knights Hospitaller. Amalfitan ships supplied the starving armies of the first Crusade (for a price), and these same ships returned to the city with goods bought from their foes. Here we encounter visual memories of this interaction with Islam in the rich polychrome façade of the cathedral and the interweaving arches of its cloister.
Our next stop, Ravello, was founded by Amalfitan merchants in the 9th century. The source of the town’s wealth, trade with the east, is reflected in the fascinating Arabo-Norman architecture of its wealthy palaces, including the Palazzo Rufolo (11th century), which was occupied by Pope Adrian IV, King Charles of Anjou and Robert the Wise. One of the most important monuments is the cathedral, founded in 1086, where one can admire the Ambo and the Pulpit decorated with Byzantine mosaics, splendid bronze doors (1179) by Barisano da Trani and a museum situated in the crypt. Ravello’s chief glories are two wonderful gardens: Villa Cimbrone with its breathtaking views and Villa Rufolo with its ancient palace and flower-filled gardens that inspired Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. (Overnight Salerno) BD
Trani - 2 nights
Day 7: Thursday 18 October, Salerno – Paestum – Trani
Today we drive to Paestum and then across Italy to Apulia (Puglia). At Paestum we visit a Greek shrine centre with grand Doric temples like the Temple of Neptune (5th century BC), whose excellent condition is matched only by the Temple of Hephaestus (Athens) and the Temple of Concord (Agrigento). We shall explore the temple complex and its museum, which has very rare examples of Greek painting, in particular, the image from the extraordinary so-called Tomb of the Diver (c.480 BC), in which a figure dives across a wall that separates this world to the netherworld. We then drive east across Italy to the lovely old Adriatic port of Trani. (Overnight Trani) B
Day 8: Friday 19 October, Trani – Barletta – Monte Sant’Angelo – Trani
- Colossal Byzantine statue of an emperor, Barletta
- Sanctuary of St Michael the Archangel, Monte Sant’Angelo
- Monte Sant’Angelo Castle
- Trani Cathedral, castle (exterior) and port
Apulia’s low-lying coast is guarded by a line of ports which rose to prominence under the Normans. Many of these had been held previously for a time by the Muslims and, to defend against further incursions, the Normans gave them fortresses and powerful walls. They would also have been staging posts from which the Normans could attack the Balkans, their dream being to conquer the Byzantine Empire. The vulnerability of these cities – their exposure to the Adriatic and the east – necessitated further construction long after the Norman line had ceased, so the original fortresses were regularly modernised.
Today, massive 17th-century citadels still stand watch over their harbours. The Normans bequeathed these cities wonderful cathedrals which derive architecturally from buildings like Saint-Etienne, Caen, in Normandy. The cathedrals are of two types: one is a basilica with galleries and a wooden roof (Trani, Bitonto, Bari), whilst the second type, exemplified in Molfetta, is vaulted with domes. The first style was initiated in the church of San Nicola, Bari, which was built to hold the remains of Saint Nicholas, translated here from Lycia in southern Turkey (1087). San Nicola, patron of sailors, was a very important saint and his church is of suitable grandeur. Closely related in style is Bari cathedral.
Today we first drive to the city of Barletta to view an extraordinary colossal 5th century bronze sculpture of a Byzantine emperor (possibly Valentinian I: r. 364-375), washed up in the harbour from an ancient Byzantine ship wreck in 1309. This monumental portrait sculpture gives some inkling of the monumental riches of medieval Constantinople. Barletta also has a fine 12th-century cathedral, Santa Maria Maggiore, located on the site of a Roman Temple of Neptune and an Early Christian basilica. Its architecture represents a fusion of the Romanesque and Gothic styles. Barletta’s castle was begun by the Normans in the 10th century and added to by Frederick II (1222-1228) and Charles I of Anjou (1227-1285), who built its huge bastions.
We next travel to the small medieval hill town of Monte Sant’Angelo overlooking the Adriatic Sea from the slopes of Monte Gargano. Here we visit the Sanctuary of St Michael the Archangel, where pilgrims visited the cave in which the Archangel appeared to the Bishop of Sipontum in the 5th century, to demand that Christians worship there and promising in return to protect Sipontum from invaders; this is the first documented apparition of St Michael in Western Europe. Monte Sant’Angelo consequently became a staging post for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem. The shrine has a magnificent octagonal tower built in the late 13th century by Frederick II as a watchtower and converted to a bell tower by Charles I of Anjou. Nearby is the 11th century church of S. Maria Maggiore with fragmentary remains of Byzantine frescos and beautifully carved capitals. A ruined castle once dominated the town. Built in the 9th century it was expanded by the Normans and Frederick II, who used it to house his mistress Bianca Lancia, whose ghost is said to haunt the ruins!
We spend the rest of the afternoon in Trani, visiting Trani Cathedral which stands on a point protecting the entrance of the city’s harbour; its location is one of the most splendid in Italy. Its tall Romanesque bell tower obviously doubled as a watch tower and beacon. The cathedral has recently been restored. We shall visit its crypt which, like those of most Apulian churches, is located under the east end. Trani’s crypt, however, is much large than most. It predates the cathedral and determined the location and size of the transept above. After this visit, there will be time to explore the picturesque little port and town. (Overnight Trani) BL
Bari - 2 nights
Day 9: Saturday 20 October, Trani – Canosa – Castel del Monte – Bari
- Canosa Cathedral & Tomb of Bohemond
- Dauni Hypogea, Canosa
- Frederick II’s Castle, Castel del Monte
Today we visit Canosa and its Cathedral of San Sabino (founded 7th-8th c.). The cathedral was built by the Lombards in the 7th-8th centuries, and underwent extensive restoration following an earthquake in 1851. Situated near the right transept is the fascinating Mausoleum of Bohemond, Prince of Antioch (1054-1111), who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. This little building, which shows remarkable similarities to buildings of antiquity, is surmounted by a polygonal drum topped by a hemispherical dome.
Canosa di Puglia is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Italy – archaeologists have dated the human presence here to the 7th millennium BC. Hidden under its streets, and entered through later buildings, are a number of hypogea – pagan tomb complexes built by the local Dauni tribe. We will tour some of these, discovering the diversity of their architecture, style and decoration.
One of the most magnificent palace fortresses of the Middle Ages is Castel del Monte (c.1250). The German Emperor Frederick II, ‘Stupor Mundi’, held sovereignty over vast territories from the old Norman regnum in South Italy and Sicily through northern Italy to his family domains in Germany. In order to control such extensive territories, he built a line of castles through them, of which Castel del Monte is the supreme example. This massive castle has a keep of octagonal plan with eight octagonal towers at its angles. Scholars have suggested that its sophisticated geometry derives from Islamic science and that it relates to architecture as far away as Iran. Castel del Monte, used also as an imperial hunting lodge, was the setting for lavish banquets at which Frederick exhibited his power and influence. (Overnight Bari) BL
Day 10: Sunday 21 October, Bari
- Bari Cathedral
- San Nicola, Bari
- Afternoon at leisure
Bari, capital of Apulia, is a sophisticated southern metropolis. Like the other ports of the coast, its gridded 19th century city abuts the old town with its white houses and weaving streets. Here we visit the fortress (exterior), San Nicola and Bari Cathedral. You will see how the great range of coastal cathedrals develop from San Nicola, which has fine Romanesque interior furnishings. The church was built when the remains of the patron saint of sailors was brought to the city from Southern Turkey.
The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy strolling through the streets of the old town and along the waterfront. (Overnight Bari) B
Savelletri di Fasano - 2 nights
Day 11: Monday 22 October, Bari – Alberobello – tour of local masserie – Cisternino – Savelletri di Fasano
- Tour of Alberobello
- Tour of the ‘Cultural Landscapes of Apulia’ with a visit to a local olive oil cooperative & winery
- Wine tasting in Cisternino
This morning we tour the Valle d’Itria, a valley which could be imagined as a large, diffuse city made up of scattered buildings – extraordinary cone-roofed, whitewashed, beehive houses called trulli. We begin by exploring Alberobello, whose trulli make it perhaps the strangest and most picturesque town in Italy. Its unique, cone-shaped houses are typical of an ancient construction method seen throughout the Mediterranean world and the Middle East; perhaps the most famous example of these tholoi is the so-called ‘Treasury of Atreus’ at Mycenae. Alberobello’s trulli were built for a specific purpose. In the 18th century when Apulia was ruled by Spain, the kingdom calculated taxes to be imposed on local landlords by counting the number of peasant houses on their lands. To avoid taxes, local aristocrats forced their dependents to live in cone-shaped houses with stone plugs at their peaks. Remove the plug and the house collapsed – and the tax collector would see only ruins. Trulli also have strange symbolic decorations painted on them which remind one that this region was favoured by the mystical brotherhood of the Rosicrucians during the Middle Ages.
We next drive through the Apulian countryside with its vast olive groves, viewing the distinctive whitewashed fortified farm houses called masserie. Most of these date from the 16th and 17th centuries when, despite Christian victory at the naval Battle of Lepanto in the Adriatic (1571), the inhabitants of the exposed Apulian coastline feared Ottoman attacks or plunder by North African pirates. Many of these quaint, whitewashed manor houses are dominated by towers and have fanciful decoration designed to announce the status of their owners. We shall visit an olive oil press (Apulia is one of the greatest olive oil producing districts of the world) and taste other local produce over lunch at a local masseria.
In the late afternoon we visit the medieval village of Cisternino, located on the high plains of the Murge, surrounded by fertile fields of olive groves and vineyards. Here we visit its historic centre characterised by its white-washed 16th- and 17th-century buildings and taste some locally produced wines.
We stay the next two nights in one of the finest masserie in Apulia, the Masseria Torre Coccaro, which has been converted to a luxury hotel. Despite its distinctive conversion, it is still very much a working estate. In the late afternoon there will be time to explore the masseria before dining together to enjoy the traditions and distinctive flavours of the southern Italian kitchen. (Overnight Savelletri di Fasano) BD
Day 12: Tuesday 23 October, Savelletri di Fasano – Martina Franca – Savelletri di Fasano
- Village of Martina Franca
Southern Italy has two kinds of towns, medieval trading cities along the coast, and inland towns high on escarpments far from the sea. The latter developed as refuges from coastal attacks by the Arabs, Turks and pirates. Martina Franca was founded in the 10th century when refugees from the Muslim devastation of Taranto built a village on Monte S. Martino, a high lying slope of the Murgia hills. The town prospered and from the later Middle Ages Martina attracted many noble and merchant families, who built over 20 elegant palaces and more than 15 churches in its historic centre. Before the reunification of Italy (1861) Martina Franca was walled, with 24 towers and four gates. With 19th-century progress some of these towers were dismantled and access roads punched through the walls. Its four Renaissance and Baroque gates nevertheless survive. Today it is famous for its Baroque buildings like Palazzos Panelli, Blasi and Motolese, all enhanced by loggias decorated with wrought iron. In the Piazza Roma is located the impressive 17th century Palazzo Ducale. The town’s 18th Rococo Basilica of San Martin is dedicated to its patron saint, Martin of Tours (4th c. AD). It has an intricate façade and a portal decorated with a high-relief sculpture of St. Martin ministering to the poor. The interior has rich polychrome marble altars.
After lunchtime at leisure in Martina Franca we return for a relaxing afternoon at leisure in Masseria Torre Coccaro. There is much to do here. You may like to explore the working farm or enjoy pampering in its very sophisticated salon. The lovely public rooms of the masseria are a fine place just to read and talk. We shall eat a delicious evening meal at Torre Cocaro’s dining room. (Overnight Savelletri di Fasano) BLD
Lecce - 3 nights
Day 13: Wednesday 24 October, Savelletri di Fasano – Taranto – Lecce
- National Archaeological Museum in Taranto
Today we drive to Taranto (pop. 200,154), a coastal city on the Ionian Sea that was founded by Spartan Greeks (706 BC) who established their acropolis, now Taranto’s historic centre, on a peninsula. The Spartans called their city Taras after the mythical hero Taras, son of Poseidon. The Romans linked the city to Rome by extending the Appian Way (to Brindisi) and called it Tarentum. The city’s present historic core follows a plan set out when the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus Phocas rebuilt it after Muslims had razed it in 927 AD. In the past, upon being bitten by the large local Wolf Spider, Lycosa tarentula, citizens would promptly do a long, vigorous dance to sweat the venom out of their pores. This frenetic dance became known as the Tarantella.
During the 4th century BC Taras was the centre of a thriving Greek pottery industry. Anonymous artists now named the Iliupersis Painter, the Lycurgus Painter, the Gioia del Colle Painter, the Darius Painter, the Underworld Painter, and the White Sakkos Painter, fashioned volute kraters, loutrophoroi, paterai, oinochoai, lekythoi, fish plates; they specialized in elaborate mortuary vessels. The decoration on these vessels was red figure with overpainting (sovradipinto) in white, pink, yellow and maroon slips. Taranto’s few Greek remains include part of the ancient city wall, two temple columns (6th c. BC) and tombs. We are here, however, to visit its magnificent National Archaeological Museum that displays exhibits from the Prehistoric, Greek, Roman and Early Middle Ages, including fine South Italian pottery.
We have an evening meal together in Taranto before driving to the lovely Baroque city of Lecce. (Overnight Lecce) BL
Day 14: Thursday 25 October, Lecce – Galatina – Gallipoli – Otranto – Lecce
- Basilica of St Catherine of Alexandria, Galatina
- Ruined castle, Otranto (exterior)
- Otranto Cathedral
This morning we visit the beautiful frescoed Romanesque / Gothic church of St Catherine of Alexandria in Galatina. Its typically Apulian Romanesque façade has a porch with a sculpted lintel depicting Christ and the Apostles. Behind the façade is a fine 13th-century Italian Gothic church whose interior is covered with magnificent frescoes by Tuscan artists working in the style of Giotto. The extremely ambitious cycle depicts scenes right through from Genesis to Revelation.
We next drive to the coastal town of Gallipoli, located by the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of the Salentina Peninsula. The pretty old town is located on a limestone island, linked to the mainland by a 16th century bridge. Originally a Greek colony, it became a Roman municipium. In late antiquity it was sacked by the Vandals and the Goths and rebuilt by the Byzantines. It was conquered by the Normans and, in 1268, besieged by Charles I of Anjou. By 1300, it came under the feudal rule of the principality of Taranto. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies began the construction of its port, which in the 18th century became the largest olive oil exporter in the Mediterranean. We shall have time at leisure to eat lunch on Gallipoli’s waterfront.
This afternoon we drive down to the very heel of Italy to Otranto, a medieval city that guarded the mouth of the Adriatic, the narrow Strait of Otranto. It was probably founded by Greeks from Taranto and competed with Brindisi as a major Roman port. It became one of Byzantium’s main cities after its conquest of Italy in the 6th century. In 1070, it fell to Robert Guiscard. Otranto was taken by the Ottoman Turks in 1480. It was held for a year until liberated by Alfonso V of Aragon, who built a fine castle there. The Castle of Otranto was depicted in Horace Walpole’s novel of the same name. We shall visit the fortress and Romanesque cathedral (1080), which has an extremely rare medieval mosaic floor (1163-1165). This huge mosaic depicts scenes from the Old Testament and chivalric cycles, as well as figures from medieval bestiaries, arranged alongside a ‘tree of life’, showing human experience from the Fall to salvation. (Overnight Lecce) BL
Day 15: Friday 26 October, Lecce
- Piazza del Duomo, Lecce
- Santa Croce, Lecce (exterior)
- Prefecture, Lecce (exterior)
- Afternoon at leisure
- Farewell Dinner
Lecce is a glorious ‘planned’ city, masterpiece of Baroque urban design. This morning we will explore its distinctive Baroque architecture which was beloved of Sacheverell Sitwell (Southern Baroque Revisited). Lecce is like a Baroque stage set, its centre a fascinating orchestration of highly decorated façades in golden Leccan stone. Among many churches and palaces we shall view the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Prefecture, both of which have extremely ornate façades. The great interior of the Basilica also has one of the most sumptuous of Leccan Baroque decorative schemes and the Prefecture, which was originally a convent, is one of a number of palaces you will encounter here.
The afternoon will be at leisure to relax and further explore this charming and dynamic town. This evening we will gather again for a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of our Southern Italian journey. (Overnight Lecce) BD
Day 16: Saturday 27 October, Lecce – Brindisi Airport
- Airport transfer from Lecce to Brindisi Airport for those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight
Participants taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight will be transferred to Brindisi airport in the morning. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your stay in Italy. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B