Experience life in Italy’s southern region of Apulia, where views of the sparkling Adriatic Sea vie with picture-perfect towns for your attention. Spend seven nights in seaside Polignano a Mare, and venture out each day to discover the unique character of this region. Marvel at Alberobello’s trulli, conical-roofed limestone homes built without mortar; sassi, ancient cave dwellings in Matera, a 2019 European Capital of Culture; the white hill town of Ostuni; and the baroque city of Lecce. Contrast the seaside lifestyle of Bari and Trani with the inland at a winery and a family-owned olive mill. An exclusive lecture series complements your excursions. On your free day, join a complimentary shuttle to seaside Monopoli or the Greek ruins of Egnazia. This small-group journey features first-class accommodations and an extensive meal plan with wine at dinner. There is no supplement for solo travelers.
Depart gateway city
Appropriate in-flight meal service
AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Bari, Italy. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: BRI.
Bari, Italy/Polignano a Mare
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner
Arrive at Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage.
After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.
Transfer to Polignano a Mare and check in to the Hotel Covo dei Saraceni. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.
Gather with your fellow travelers and enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel this evening.
Bari/Polignano a Mare
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Enjoy an American-style buffet breakfast at your hotel each morning.
Enrichment: The History, Agriculture and Beauty of Apulia. Apulia has been tempting travelers since the ancient Greeks first glimpsed its rugged coastal beauty. Study the enduring influence of the region’s diverse cultural inheritance on architecture, food and languages, and learn how the rocky terrain produces thriving olive groves and vineyards.
Discovery: Beautiful Bari. The ancient seaport of Bari boasts narrow lanes and a pretty harbor with colorful boats bobbing on their moors. Visit the historic port, and wander the tight tangle of medieval streets in the city’s Old Town. Admire the carved Apulian-Romanesque portal of the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola, which houses the relics of Bari’s patron saint, St. Nicholas. Inside is a marble Episcopal throne and striking mosaic floor. Traverse the seafront promenade where exhilarating views are revealed with each turn. Stroll the renowned Murat quarter. This modern heart of the city is laid out in a rectangular grid-plan and was designed by Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in- law. Sit down and savor a lunch of local fare.
Discovery: Walking Tour of Polignano a Mare. Discover why this vibrant fishing village, which rises from limestone cliffs molded by the Adriatic, makes the ideal base for exploration of the region. Pass through the Porta Vecchia gate to the stroll the cobbled streets of Old Town, fragrant with flowering plants and freshly baked goods. Along the way, peek inside the workshops of local artisans, and experience the warm hospitality of local residents.
This evening, gather at the hotel and visit with your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception, followed by dinner.
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Breakfast and lunch
Discovery: Matera — The 2019 European Capital of Culture. Visit the Sassi districts of Matera, a 2019 European Capital of Culture, and witness its dramatic saga of rebirth. Initially gouged out by troglodytic nomads, these rock-hewn cave dwellings were carved from limestone tufa, and some showcase intricate, ornate façades. Honeycombed throughout the Sassi are more than 100 rock churches decorated with delicate frescoes carved between the 8th-13th centuries by monks seeking refuge from the Byzantine Empire. The caves provided homes to the people of Matera until the 1950s, when the population was rehoused. By the 1980s, people began returning and the Sassi became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. Savor southern Italian cuisine during lunch in Matera.
Free Time: Enjoy some free time in Matera to make your own discoveries in this captivating city.
Enrichment: The History and Architecture of Lecce and Ostuni. Explore southern Italy’s rich architectural heritage, focusing on Lecce, “The Florence of the South,” and Ostuni, the “White City.” Learn about the local stone used in Lecce’s architectural development and how Ostuni’s practice of uniformly whitewashing their buildings can be traced back to the plague of the 17th century.
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Breakfast and dinner
Discovery: Barocco Leccese and The White Town of Ostuni. Witness Lecce’s florid baroque architecture carved from honey-colored stone by 17th-century architects. More fanciful than typical baroque, the voluptuous caryatids, whimsical garlands, fruit, crests and lyrical scrolls comprising Lecce baroque are a treat for the eyes. Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce and admire the elaborate façade, rose window and intricately carved capitals. Walk to the center of the Piazza Sant’ Oronzo to see the Roman Column crowned with a bronze statue of St. Oronzo, the first bishop of Lecce appointed by St. Paul in A.D. 57. Next to the column, the shallow rows of seats within the elliptical Roman amphitheater date from Emperor Hadrian’s era and once held 20,000 spectators.
Free Time: Enjoy leisure time in Lecce. Relax in the Piazza Duomo, or step into one of Lecce’s many shops, restaurants and boutiques.
Continue to Ostuni where gleaming, whitewashed buildings cascade over the side of its hilltop perch. Get lost in the labyrinthine passages of the Old Town, visit the magnificent cathedral, and walk atop the ancient city walls for wonderful vistas of olive groves and the sea.
Back in Polignano a Mare this evening, gather for dinner at a local restaurant. Pulgian cuisine is a tasty medley of Mediterranean flavors, where menus are crafted with homegrown flavors and family heirloom recipes. Meals may be based around homemade orecchiette, focaccia and crusty breads, sheep cheeses, and specialties made from freshly caught fish and locally sourced meat. Seasonal vegetables, such as fava beans, artichokes, tomatoes, beans, peppers, onions and courgettes, enhance the simple dishes.
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Breakfast and lunch
Discovery: Trulli Fascinating Alberobello. Unusual dome-shaped buildings dot the Apulian countryside, but it is in the enchanting city of Alberobello where you find the largest concentration of the mysterious dwellings known as trulli.
Found nowhere else in the world, these whitewashed limestone structures are pieced together without mortar, their pointed fieldstone roofs painted with primitive Christian and pagan symbols. More than 1,000 trulli cluster Alberobello’s cobblestone streets, which are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The origins of the trulli remain a mystery, but legends abound linking them to ancient Greece as well as theorizing their creation as a 15th-century tax dodge.
Discovery: Locorotondo and Martina Franca. Travel through the Valle d’Itria to the municipality of Locorotondo to visit I Pàstini. This family-owned vineyard grows white grape varietals such as Verdeca, Bianco d’Alessano and Fiano Minutolo. Enjoy a tour of the property, and learn how the Carapelli family combines traditional wine-making techniques with more modern practices. See the property’s new cellar, ancient farmhouse and vineyards. Then enjoy a tasting of wine made from Puglian white grapes, and enjoy the peaceful ambience of this countryside retreat over a light lunch.
After lunch, continue to Martina Franca, the largest town in the Valle d’Itria. Located in the heart of Apulia, Martina Franca was once a fully walled city. Today, many of the original towers and gates still exist though many were removed or renovated for roads. In the Old Town, walk under the Porto Santo Stefano — one of the town’s remaining Renaissance and baroque gates — into the Piazza Roma. See the 17th-century Palazzo Ducale and the honey-colored Basilica di San Martino, which features sculptures by Stafano da Putignano and Giuseppe Sammartino.
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Breakfast and lunch
Discovery: Trani. Explore the historic seaport of Trani. Known for its Moscato di Trani wine and savory figs, this fishing town is home to a 13th-century fort and a cathedral nestled in the harbor of the Adriatic. The village’s white limestone cathedral was dedicated to Saint Nicolas the Pilgrim. Take note of the distinguishing Norman houses, a typically English Romanesque style of architecture. Medieval Trani also had one of the largest Jewish populations in southern Italy and was a Knight’s Templar site.
Enrichment: Meet the People and Olive Mill Outing. Visit a family-run olive mill in Bisceglie for a guided tour, and learn about the fascinating history and cultivation process of olives. Enjoy the smooth, sweet smells and buttery flavors of these regional specialties. Following lunch at the olive mill, gather with some employees or owners of the mill for an open-forum discussion about their life in Italy.
Enrichment: Contemporary Italy. In 2011, Italy celebrated the 150th anniversary of its unification as a single state. Compare the rich cultural heritage and slow-paced lifestyle of southern Apulia with its northern neighbors.
Polignano a Mare
Hotel Covo dei Saraceni, Breakfast and dinner
Free time: Your final day in Italy is free to spend at leisure, or you may choose to head outside of Polignano a Mare via provided transportation to one of the two options listed below.
Choose between the following included excursions:
Travel to the seaside to explore the narrow lanes of charming Monopoli. Visit the harbor full of
fishing boats and friendly fishermen tending to their lines, and amble along the Lungomare sea-front promenade. The Old Town offers a cache of appealing highlights, including a cathedral with a 196-foot- high bell tower, and the Charles V Castle. Please note that a guide is not included.
Witness the ancient Roman city of Gnathia, known for its pottery production during the Bronze
Age. The fascinating ruins of the city still have remains of shrines, an amphitheater, shop houses and a forum, as well as the remnants of underground storage bins, circular kilns and rain well channels. Examples of the ancient pottery can be found at the on-site museum. Please note that entrance fee and a guide are not included.
Tonight, share your favorite experiences with your fellow travelers as you gather for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.
Depart for gateway city
Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service
After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.
Meet Your Trip Host
Cindy A. Schipani is the Merwin H. Waterman Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Business Law at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She has served as President of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business and is a past recipient of the Louis and Myrtle Moskowitz Research Professorship in Law and Business. Professor Schipani received her J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law. She has held visiting appointments at the University of Michigan Law School, University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the University of Sydney Faculty of Law as a Parsons Fellow and Flinders University of South Australia as a Distinguished International Visitor. Professor Schipani has also spent a year on the faculty of the University of Hawaii School of Law. Before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, she served as a Law Clerk for Justice Charles L. Levin of the Michigan Supreme Court. She has also practiced law with two major commercial law firms, Mayer, Brown in Chicago and Dickinson Wright in Detroit.
Professor Schipani’s primary research interests are in corporate governance, with a focus on the relationship among directors, officers, shareholders and other stakeholders and pathways for women to obtain positions of organizational leadership. Her research includes consideration of specific issues confronting directors of financial institutions, analysis of the corporate fiduciary duties of care and loyalty, issues of liability for environmental violations and ethical links between corporate governance and sustainable peace. She has published over 40 journal articles and a book and receives numerous of invitations to present her research nationally and internationally, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and throughout Europe. She has earned many awards for her work including over 15 conference paper awards, the Academy of Legal Studies in Business National Award for Excellence and its Holmes-Cardozo Research Award, the Ross School of Business Contribution to Research Environment Award, and the University of Michigan Sarah Goddard Power Award and its Outstanding Research Mentor Award.
By participating in an Alumni Association of University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.