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Visiting Italy’s Heel

Toasting Southern Italy on Air Berlin

Toasting to the good business class fare we found on Air Berlin.

Here we go on a road trip to Italy’s heel and beyond. Alan and I are teaming up again with Claudio Fontana of A La Carte Italy Tours  for a trip that will take us through southern Italy all the way to the heel.  You may remember that Claudio drove us around Northern Italy a couple of years ago. Check out the Italy itinerary that Claudio sent us (we just love his descriptions!). He calls it: Down the Heel of the Boot: A Tour to the Bottom of the Italian Peninsula. And once again, this trip is on our own dime so that we can report “real deal” to you.

Day 1 – 22-OCT.  ROME – ABRUZZO NATIONAL PARK 
Leaving Rome, we will drive southeast toward Abruzzo Natinoal Park. But before, we will stop in the small and beautifull town of Subiaco where we will visit the middle age downtown and have lunch. Then we will continue to enter the park where we could have an experience in the wildlife as “on the footstep of the wolf” or ”searching for the Bear”

1 night in Abruzzo National Park

Hotel Il Lavatoio ( Castel di Sangro) (hotel is in the old laundry of Castel di Sangro.

DAY 2 – 23-OCT. RODI GARGANICO
The day until afternoon will be dedicated to trek in the wildlife continuing what we began the day before searching for wolf or bear; then back to the car driving down to the beginning of Puglia region in one of the most beautiful seas in Italy: the Gargano where in Rodi we will have our base for the next two days.  

3 nights in Rodi Garganico 

Hotel: Edificio 15 house Elite

DAY 3 24-OCT. GARGANOThe Gargano area is one of the most beautiful and well preserved in Italy in matter of nature and landscape. Today will be dedicated to visit many of the small villages along the coast and the interior with its “foresta umbra” in the Gargano National Park.

DAY 4 – 25-OCT. TREMITI ISLANDS
The Adriatic sea in Italy is not known as the best sea, except this area, the area of the Gargano and of the Tremiti Islands. In the Tremiti were found settlement of human being of the stone age and they deserve a tour. We will dedicate the ENTIRE day. In the night back to Rodi.

DAY 5 – 26-OCT.  MANFREDONIA -FOGGIA – SANTA MARGHERITA DI SAVOIA – TRANI
Leaving Rodi and the Gargano subregion we will drive south stopping in Manfredonia, in Foggia which is one of the 6 provinces of the region. Then we will continue along the coast stopping in Santa Margherita di Savoia with its “saline” salt produced from the sea and Trani—all important locations of the area with a lot of history and things to be see.

2 nights in Trani

Hotel: Palazzo Paciotti (Trani)

DAY 7 – 28 OCT.  CASTELLANA GROTTE – CEGLIE MESSAPICA – OSTUNI
The Caves of Castellana Grotte are one of the most beautiful places in Italy and being in the area and not visiting them would be a terrible mistake. We will continue in Ceglie where we could visit the ruins of a civilization which was here before the Greeks and the Romans and then we will reach Ostuni, which is one of the capitals of the baroque in Puglia. In the evening we will reach Alberobello. This is a unique place where all houses are constructed with a pointed roof in stones.

1 night in Alberobello

Trullimania (Alberobello)

DAY 8 – 29-OCT.  MANDURIA – LECCE – GALLIPOLI
Today we will visit Alberobello’s famous “Trulli” and then drive south on the heel of  Italy passing through Manduria which is very famous for its very fine and “powerful” wines, Lecce, a beautiful baroque town and Gallipoli, a nice resort at the sea where we will be based for three days.

3 nights in Gallipoli.

Palazzo Mosco Inn (Gallipoli)

DAY 9 – 30-OCT. S. MARIA DI LEUCA – OTRANTO – GALATINA
We are really at the end of Italy, in the most eastern part – Albania is just 60 miles over the Adriatic sea. We will drive to Santa Maria di Leuca the southernmost part of Puglia region and the border between the Adriatic sea and the Jonio Sea. We will explore Otranto with its “Otranto canal.” It is the nearest part of Italy to the Balkans and Albania and known as the “white town” for its white limestone painted houses. Of course we will visit Galatina famous for white Galatina wine and red Negroamaro wine.

DAY 10 – 31-OCT.
Today we will dedicate all day to visiting the Jonio coast with Porto Ceresio, and Taranto.

DAY 11 – 1-NOV.  BACK TO ROME: MATERA – PADULA – SALERNO
On the way back to the north we will pass through Basilicata region, stopping in Matera with its “Sassi”—a Unesco monument and set of Mel Gibson’s movie “Passion.” Then we will reach Padula with its beautiful “Certosa” and finally in Campania region, Salerno where we will spend the night.

1 night in Salerno area.

Barone B&B (Salerno)

DAY 12 – 2NOV.  TO CIVITAVECCHIA HARBOUR
Cassino or Fiumicino
We will try to make the best of this last day, stopping somewhere on an itinerary of 200 miles to reach Civitavecchia and the port for your cruise.

So what do you think of our Italy itinerary? Want to keep up with us? We’ll be posting photos on the Visiting Italy’s Heel Pinterest board and photos and updates at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook, Instagram and on Donna’s Twitter account.

Want to see more details about our incredible trip through Southern Italy? Check out our entire Italian Heel experience day by day!

Have you visited any of the destinations on our trip? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

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