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Welcome to Puglia!  We always love to see the excited, smiling faces of our travelers as they emerge from baggage claim, ready for our 10-day adventure! This is our FIRST summer tour and the first time we’re bringing travelers to these regions – Puglia, Basilicata and the Amalfi Coast. And for some, this isn’t our first time traveling together – we have three returning travelers, two of whom have brought their families with them this time around!

Our tour starts with meeting our group at the Bari airport as they arrive throughout the day, and then make the short transfer to Conversano, our home for the first three days. Conversano is a small medieval town in Puglia which is bustling with local activity, but uncluttered by tourists.

Those arriving earlier in the day had the morning and afternoon to explore town, take a siesta, or even enjoy a spa treatment before gathering in our hotel’s courtyard for a group welcome. Our host hotel brought in a local olive oil producer for a tasting of his products and our first culinary lesson of the trip! Not only was the olive oil delicious, but we learned how the small regional differences in microclimate and terroir can make a huge difference in how these products are made.

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We followed up the tasting with a dinner at the hotel, incorporating some of the typical regional dishes and it couldn’t have been a better kickoff for a culinary tour, as it was quite a feast!! Nonstop plates of antipasti arriving – swordfish 20140620_203445carpaccio, zucchini flower fritters, burrata, seafood salad, and a flan of caciocavallo (a young provolone) which was a favorite….also prompting an early favorite quote of the trip: “I’d rather be a young provolone than an old mozzarella.” That is sure to be on a t-shirt soon! These were followed by a pasta course, and then a secondo – or protein course – and dessert.

Our first meal together was full of lively chatter, ‘small world’ discoveries, and reconnecting – a wonderful first evening to start off La Passeggiata!

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