Temptation-of-Eve in the Church of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria
Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Explore the diverse artistic and architectural heritage of Bari, Barletta, Ostuni and Otranto
Visit the Basilica di San Nicola, the south’s first Norman church and a model for many later churches in Puglia
Discover one of southern Italy’s most impressive 15th century narrative fresco cycles, covering every inch of the walls of the Romanesque Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria
“Andrew Spira was the ideal Tour Director – extremely knowledgeable, patient and friendly”
- ACE customer on a previous Art & Architecture of Puglia tour
Nestled in the heel of Italy lies Puglia – or Apulia as it was originally named – the most prosperous region in the south of the country, but surprisingly one of its least visited parts. The diversity of its architectural heritage – Greek, Roman, Romanesque, Norman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque – reflects its multifaceted past and importance on ancient trading and pilgrimage routes.
On our tour of this cosmopolitan region, which borrows elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and the north European Cistercian Gothic, we stay in the charming towns of Andria and Brindisi. From these bases we will discover the art and architecture of the region, starting in the port town of Bari. Here, we will explore the Romanesque Cathedral, Basilica of San Nicola, and Pinacoteca Provinciale, home to a distinguished collection of Old Master paintings, sculptures and 19th century Italian art.
We will enjoy a day excursion to the ‘white city’ of Ostuni and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello, characterised by its dense concentration of trulli – dry stone whitewashed buildings with unusual conical roofs.
In the cathedral of the captivating coastal town of Otranto we will view the 12th century Tree of Life mosaic. This extraordinary floor design contains biblical references alongside signs of the zodiac, references to Greek mythology and even images of King Arthur and the pre-Islamic Persian lion of the Sassanid Empire. On our final day in Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’, our walking tour takes in its piazzas, churches and Roman remains.
Our first three nights will be spent in Andria at the four-star Cristal Palace Hotel and our final three nights in Brindisi at the four-star Hotel Orientale, situated in the heart of the city.
This tour will be led by art historian Andrew Spira, MA, who studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and City University, London. For several years Andrew was a specialist in Byzantine and Russian icons at the Temple Gallery, London, before working as a curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum. He was subsequently Programme Director at Christie’s Education, and has been leading tours to cultural sites across Europe for over 20 years.