From the Depths of Gaea to the Peaks of Apollo


Seven days to regenerate between history and nature and four regions to discover, diving into the depths of the earth and re-emerging until we reach the peaks of Apollo: those of Mount Pollino, the mountain located in the National Park of the same name, which for centuries has been rich in medicinal herbs and for this very reason, according to the Greeks, was inhabited by the sun god, protector also of the medical sciences. An itinerary that weaves together characteristic places and that, starting from Bari with its ancient centre, takes us to the centre of the earth in the Caves of Castellanaand then lead us to discover the trulli of Alberobello and the rocky landscape of Gravina. We will admire Matera, appreciating its particular geological conformation, and arrive on the Pollino surrounded by unspoilt nature and immersed in an atmosphere of peace. The villages of Castrovillari and Morano Calabro await us, taking us into a timeless dimension, made up of cobbled streets and small stone houses, where we will enjoy genuine, authentic local gastronomy and rediscover the ancient popular customs that still live on in these places. We will end our tour with a visit to the Certosa di Padula, an imposing architectural complex that spans centuries of history and offers visitors a rich and evocative treasure chest of artistic treasures. A tour designed for adventurous travellers, but also attentive and eager to discover the complex and authentic identity of the territories of Southern Italy.

Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and Campania are waiting for us! Four micro-universes, four territories, four cultures to meet in a single journey to the heart of Southern Italy, amidst natural beauty, ancient villages and traditions to be experienced. We will visit the heart of old Bari amidst squares and alleyways where it is still possible to encounter the traditions of yesteryear, particularly that of handmade pasta. We will explore the Castellana Caves, losing ourselves among the geological sculptures made of stalactites and stalagmites and then re-emerge and walk among the picturesque trulli of Alberobello. We will discover Gravina and its landscapes dotted with mystical rock churches, and visit Matera, Civita, Castrovillari and Morano Calabro: unique villages where stone becomes home, landscape, work of art. We will climb to the peaks of the Pollino where the still wild and unspoilt nature, typical of this area, awaits us, and we will arrive in the Cilento region to admire the monumental Certosa di Padula.


Day 1

Bari and its ancient centre

Our tour begins in Bari, a city that holds within its alleys and along the streets of the port all the essence of a history and tradition that reflects the authentic soul of Apulia. We will stroll to discover the city and its ancient centre, and stop at the famous Basilica of San Nicola, a grandiose example of Apulian Romanesque architecture, the church of San Sabino where the rose window designed on the floor is illuminated (at certain times of the year) by the light of the other rose window, the one sculpted on the façade. We will then cross the 'Strada delle Orecchiette', located at the characteristic Strada Arco Basso, where housewives still make the traditional fresh pasta by hand. After this free city tour, we will dine in a typical Bari trattoria, in a straightforward, old-fashioned setting, where we can sample all the local flavours.
Afternoon: arrival in Bari and accommodation in Hotel Excelsior (Via Petroni 15, near FFSS).
Free time.
Dinner in a local restaurant in Bari Vecchia.

Day 2

Castellana Caves, Gravina and Alberobello

We will begin our day by plunging into the depths of Gea with a visit to the Grotte di Castellana, where, amidst plays of light and shadow, we will enjoy the natural spectacle offered by one of the largest and most evocative hypogeal complexes in Italy. We will then be in Alberobello, the famous town of the trulli, which we will be able to explore freely during the afternoon, in search of the most picturesque views. We will leave, finally, for Gravina, to discover its landscapes dotted with ancient rupestrian churches, mystical caves carved into the stone, which have made the morphology of the area unmistakable. After a free evening we will dine in a local restaurant, savouring the flavours of local gastronomy.
07.30, breakfast.
09.00, departure and visit to the Castellana Caves, full tour.
13.00, departure for Alberobello (BA) and free time.
18.00, departure from Alberobello for Gravina in Puglia (BA) and accommodation in a boutique hotel.
Free time and dinner in a local restaurant

Day 3

Matera and Civita - Charm from the heart of stone

We will visit Matera, the city of stones, a place of peculiar charm whose historical and natural testimonies are set in the territory marked by its characteristic geological conformation. We will set off for Civita, an Arbëreshë village listed by the Touring Club as one of the most beautiful in Italy, where we will stroll around discovering the gijtonie, the typical districts made up of narrow streets, stairways and subways, where we will be able to admire the Comignoli delle Case Kodra, ancient architectural legacies that the Arbëreshë imported from the Balkans on their arrival in Italy at the end of the late Middle Ages. Our day will end with a dinner of traditional flavours in a local restaurant.
07:30 Breakfast
08:30 Departure for Matera and panoramic tour. From the end of the tour by coach.
Free time until 16:30.
16:30 Departure for Civita (CS). Arrival in Civita (CS) scheduled for 18:30.
Accommodation in widespread hotel and free time.
Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 4

On the heights of Apollo

During this day we will get to know the area of the Pollino Massif, which in Greek times was also known as the Mount of Apollo. It was in fact the Greeks who, finding this area rich in medicinal herbs and, for geographical and climatic reasons, bright and sunny, associated the place with the home of the god, a divinity linked to the Sun and medicine. Here we will undertake an excursion immersed in unspoilt landscapes, within a pure ecosystem, which has preserved its natural characteristics over the centuries; we will reach the highest altitudes, where it will be possible to breathe clean air and enjoy a suggestive panorama. At the end of the excursion we will return to Civita, where we will spend a free afternoon enjoying the authentic atmosphere of the village, and then dine in a typical restaurant and return to the hotel.
07:30 Breakfast
08:30 Departure for Colle Impiso, Viggianello (PZ).
09:30 Excursion to the Piani del Pollino.
16:30 Return to Civita, free time and dinner in a typical restaurant

Day 5

Castrovillari and Morano Calabro

We will visit the characteristic village of Castrovillari, strolling through paved alleys, small stone houses and ancient, elegant palaces. We will then follow an itinerary that will take us to the route of the former railway road, now disused, where, following the traces of the old tracks, we will set out along the suggestive Castrovillari/Morano Calabro trekking route, a place immersed in a scenario far removed in time, totally enveloped by the surrounding nature. After this regenerating experience, we will return to Civita and dine in a local restaurant.
07:30 Breakfast
08:30 Departure for Castrovillari (CS).
09:00 Visit to the historical centre of Castrovillari and trekking Castrovillari/Morano C.
(CS) along former railway route.
15:00 Return to Civita (departure from Morano C.), free time and dinner in a typical restaurant.

Day 6

Pollino Park

We will spend an intense day trekking in Italy's largest national park: the Pollino Park, of which we will hike the of Lucania, near Viggianello. Here we will embark on an excursion along the nature trails that run along the heights of the Pollino massif, until we reach the ancient and verdant beech forests and the centuries-old Loricate pines, trees with an unmistakable shape that have become the symbol of this place of wild and unspoilt landscapes. We will then return to Civita, where a tasty dinner awaits us at a local restaurant.
07:30 Breakfast
08:30 departure for Colle Impiso (Viggianello, PZ)
09:30 excursion to Mount Pollino.
16:30 return to Civita, free time and dinner in a local restaurant.
On this day it is possible for about 10 participants to spend a day at the seaside
from 10:00 to 16:00 in Villapiana Lido.

Day 7

Charterhouse of Padula and End of Tour

We will arrive in Padula, Cilento, to visit the famous Certosa, an architectural jewel with a history that oscillates between the Middle Ages and the Baroque era. We will then head to Salerno, where our journey together will come to an end, but not before exchanging greetings, or rather goodbye, until the next tour!
07:30 Breakfast
08:00 Departure from Civita for Certosa di Padula and visit to the complex
13:00 Departure from Certosa di Padula for Salerno FFSS station
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