Salento Handbell Experience
Everyone gathers at the charming Hotel Santa Chiara (located in the historic center of Lecce) for check in. Early arrivals can enjoy an afternoon spritz in the piazza out front or kickstart your experience with some fresh friselle. In the afternoon, we'll pop open some sparkly and talk through the week ahead. Then we'll head to our rehearsal space for the week to warm up the bells, followed by a typical meal at a local restaurant.
Taste of Salento
Sunday morning, we dive into our music before breaking to meet Chef Gianna at the Central Market. Gianna will take us around the market and introduce us to local produce, and we'll pick up a few things to cook for our dinner later. We'll stop to enjoy our "second breakfast" of Lecce's famous pasticiotto at a nearby cafe, followed by lunch on your own before we head back to the tables for the afternoon. In the evening, we head to our Cooking Experience with Chef Gianna, who is a local master chef and sommelier. She'll pour a few bottles of fantastic regional wine and teach us to make typical local dishes. And then we get to eat!
We start the day with ringing, stopping for a stroll through the lovely historic center of Lecce with local guide Rafaella. We'll learn about some of the unique history and culture of the area and visit some of the many important local churches. A mix of rehearsal and free time will fill your afternoon, followed by dinner together. Of course, we can't pass up a break or two for coffee, gelato or uno Spritz!
Art & History
It's back to the rehearsal tables in the morning to make our music ready to perform. Then we'll pop into the downtown art museum to check out their rotating exhibits on our way to lunch together at our favorite pizzeria. In the afternoon, we'll visit the Faggiano Museum, an achaeological museum unearthed by chance during a renovation, and the Biscozzi Private Collection, a delightful modern museum in a beautifully-designed building. Dinner and your evening are on your own to explore the wonderful nighttime vibe of this southern city.
Relax a bit in the morning before we meet our bus for a short ride north of Lecce to visit the stunning hill town of Ostuni where we'll have lunch overlooking the valley at the fabulous Ristorante Gabò. After lunch we head to the town of Alberbello where you'll be able to experience the unique architecture of the Trulli. Back in Lecce, dinner and your evening are on your own.
Today we head to Gallipoli for a stroll along the Gulf of Taranto and then head to the small town of Matino, the highest point on the Salento peninsula. There, our friends and hosts for our first concert will show us their town and introduce us to some interesting local history (bootleg olive oil?). We'll enjoy local cuisine and perform for our new friends!
Water So Blue
Today, we explore the Adriatic coast, truly one of the most beautiful and historic, looking outward toward Greece. This area is an interestinglink between old Greek and Roman cultures, which both were active nearby. We'll have a truly spectacular lunch at a local working farm. In the afternoon we'll spend some time in the city of Otranto, visiting its castle, cathedral and art museum. An evening concert after a bite to eat on your own will end our day before heading back to Lecce.
Shops and Workshops
Saturday is your flex day! After a visit to a local cartapesta (papier-mâché) studio, wander around for retail therapy. Eat one more cone at your favorite gelateria. Do a café crawl to find the best espresso in Lecce. We have an afternoon concert and then our farewell group dinner. Lounge into the evening with friends enjoying the Italian lifestyle!
After breakfast on Sunday, we’ll pack up our stuff and head out. We’ll get everyone off to airports and train stations as necessary and bid farewell to our lovely Pugliese locale. Alla prossima!