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Jewish Heritage Tour Shores of Light


SHORES OF LIGHT – Jewish Heritage in Southern Italy

In our journey through Puglia, we will trace the footsteps of Jewish settlers in Southern Italy. We will explore the ancient and modern roots of Jewish culture in Puglia – from daily life in the region's medieval Jewish quarters to the harrowing experience of WWII refugees who lived here between 1946 and 1948. Tour includes guided visits led by a Jewish history expert.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW & DOWNLOAD TOUR BROCHURE »


TOUR ITINERARY  { 8 days / 7 nights }

DAY 1 – MAY 6th, 2018: 

ARRIVAL & OSTUNI

Upon arriving at the Brindisi airport, you will be transferred to the scenic town of Ostuni. Called the “white city” for its glistening white stones, Ostuni is a historic town perched atop a hill. Here, you will stay at Hotel La Sommità (5*) in Ostuni’s historic center.  In the afternoon, you will have time to explore Ostuni at leisure. During your welcome dinner, you will journey through regional flavors of Puglia – famous for orecchiette pasta, olive oil, and burrata cheese.

DAY 2 – MAY 7th, 2018:

MANDURIA & LECCE

After breakfast at the hotel, you will check out and depart for the town of Manduria – a small village in Puglia’s Salento region. Here, we will explore the town’s ancient Jewish quarter. During this tour, we will visit the historic synagogue – which became a noble manor in the 17th century.  The original synagogue’s door – embellished with 14 decorative flowers – is visible at the site.  After the visit to Manduria, we will continue on to Lecce – affectionately called “the Florence of the South.” In Lecce, we will overnight at Le Club Boutique Hotel (4* superior). You will enjoy the local flavors of Lecce for dinner.

DAY 3 – MAY 8th, 2018:

SANTA MARIA AL BAGNO, GALLIPOLI & NARDO

During today’s excursions, we will tour the places visited by the women in the documentary film, Shores of Light. The film follows three women from Tel Aviv who return to Puglia to visit where they were born and raised between 1946 and 1948.

You will stroll the stone streets of Puglia’s small towns – including Santa Maria al Bagno, Santa Caterina, Nardò and Gallipoli. The group will be accompanied by a Jewish history expert from the university – who assisted the film maker in researching Puglia’s recent past. Dinner and overnight in Lecce.

In the final years of World War II, numerous Jewish refugees arrived to Puglia from northern and eastern Europe. Having escaped Nazi persecution, the refugees resided in southern Puglia – awaiting the time when they could emigrate to Israel.

The headquarters of emigration were located at Villa Saetta in the town of Santa Maria al Bagno. The “Jewish Municipality” was housed at Villa Persone. Other historic villas in the area – Villa Fonte and Villa Falco — were converted into cafeterias and training schools for the thousands of Jewish refugees.

The refugee community’s Synagogue was housed in a private home on the town square. Refugees were housed in holiday homes, as well as with the local residents of S. Maria al Bagno.  About 2600 refugees were reported in Puglia in 1946, reaching 4000 on May 5, 1948 — the birth of the State of Israel was declared.

DAY 4 – MAY 9th, 2018:

LECCE

After breakfast at the hotel, your morning will be devoted to guided tour through Lecce’s Jewish history. In Lecce, there exist the remains of at least one synagogue near the city’s Duomo. Your visit will include entrance to Lecce’s official Jewish Museum – on site, you will see the underground ruins of the ceremonial miqwé and other traces of the historic Jewish community.  

Following your tour, you will have time at leisure for lunch on your own. Later in the afternoon, you will meander Lecce’s old town – exploring artisan shops, cafes and scrumptious bakeries. In Lecce, you will be surrounded by intricately-carved palaces and buildings –  sculpted in the Baroque period. Authentic dinner and overnight in Lecce.

DAY 5 – MAY 10th, 2018:

LECCE, GALATINA & OTRANTO

Breakfast at the hotel and head to the town of Galatina. Pietro Colonna – a scholar of the Talmud and Cabbalah — was born here in 1460. Galatina's Jewish roots are visible in the town to this day. With an expert guide, you will tour Galatina’s historic Jewish quarter. We will then enjoy a walk through the Botanical Garden.

Next, we will head to the seaside gem of Otranto. Otranto’s Jewish community flourished in the Middle Ages – due to the presence of merchants in this Mediterranean port city. The Jewish community was so prominent here that locals used to say “For out of Bari goes forth the Law and the word of the Lord from Otranto.” Here was housed in addition a library of legal and academic texts in Hebrew. Our group explore the city with an expert guide, following the architectural and cultural traces of Otranto’s Jewish community. In the evening, transfer to Santa Cesarea Terme. You will overnight here at Hotel Masseria Montelauro (4* superior). Authentic dinner with the group in Santa Cesarea.

DAY 6 – MAY 11th, 2018:

SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA & SPECCHIA

Breakfast at the hotel. Today is wholly dedicated to areas depicted in the film, Shores of Light.  We will enjoy guided walks through Santa Cesarea Terme and then explore the towns of Tricase Porto and Santa Maria di Leuca. Once in the southern-most tip of Puglia, you will discover the stunning sea caves of Leuca by boat.  The afternoon will end in Specchia, one of the most picturesque stone villages of Italy. Return to Santa Cesarea Terme for dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 7 – MAY 12th, 2018:

ALBEROBELLO & MATERA

Departure after breakfast for Alberobello – a quaint village famous for the cone-shaped stone homes or “trulli” found here. The town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the architecture that you can find only here. You will have time at leisure to lunch in the town.

Following lunch, we will head to the spectacular mountaintop town of Matera. Matera is known for the naturally occurring stone caves the dot the horizon.  Perched atop a mountain overlooking a rocky gorge, Matera will be painted in golden light at sunset. You will overnight in the luxurious Hotel Sextantio (5*).  The stone rooms here provide comfort all while honoring local materials and architectural traditions. Your closing dinner will be held in an authentic eatery in Matera’s historic center

DAY 8 – MAY 13th, 2018:

BARI DEPARTURE

 After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Bari airport for your departing flights.

+ DAY 1

DAY 1 – MAY 6th, 2018: 

ARRIVAL & OSTUNI

Upon arriving at the Brindisi airport, you will be transferred to the scenic town of Ostuni. Called the “white city” for its glistening white stones, Ostuni is a historic town perched atop a hill. Here, you will stay at Hotel La Sommità (5*) in Ostuni’s historic center.  In the afternoon, you will have time to explore Ostuni at leisure. During your welcome dinner, you will journey through regional flavors of Puglia – famous for orecchiette pasta, olive oil, and burrata cheese.

+ DAY 2

DAY 2 – MAY 7th, 2018:

MANDURIA & LECCE

After breakfast at the hotel, you will check out and depart for the town of Manduria – a small village in Puglia’s Salento region. Here, we will explore the town’s ancient Jewish quarter. During this tour, we will visit the historic synagogue – which became a noble manor in the 17th century.  The original synagogue’s door – embellished with 14 decorative flowers – is visible at the site.  After the visit to Manduria, we will continue on to Lecce – affectionately called “the Florence of the South.” In Lecce, we will overnight at Le Club Boutique Hotel (4* superior). You will enjoy the local flavors of Lecce for dinner.

+ DAY 3

DAY 3 – MAY 8th, 2018:

SANTA MARIA AL BAGNO, GALLIPOLI & NARDO

During today’s excursions, we will tour the places visited by the women in the documentary film, Shores of Light. The film follows three women from Tel Aviv who return to Puglia to visit where they were born and raised between 1946 and 1948.

You will stroll the stone streets of Puglia’s small towns – including Santa Maria al Bagno, Santa Caterina, Nardò and Gallipoli. The group will be accompanied by a Jewish history expert from the university – who assisted the film maker in researching Puglia’s recent past. Dinner and overnight in Lecce.

In the final years of World War II, numerous Jewish refugees arrived to Puglia from northern and eastern Europe. Having escaped Nazi persecution, the refugees resided in southern Puglia – awaiting the time when they could emigrate to Israel.

The headquarters of emigration were located at Villa Saetta in the town of Santa Maria al Bagno. The “Jewish Municipality” was housed at Villa Persone. Other historic villas in the area – Villa Fonte and Villa Falco — were converted into cafeterias and training schools for the thousands of Jewish refugees.

The refugee community’s Synagogue was housed in a private home on the town square. Refugees were housed in holiday homes, as well as with the local residents of S. Maria al Bagno.  About 2600 refugees were reported in Puglia in 1946, reaching 4000 on May 5, 1948 — the birth of the State of Israel was declared.

+ DAY 4

DAY 4 – MAY 9th, 2018:

LECCE

After breakfast at the hotel, your morning will be devoted to guided tour through Lecce’s Jewish history. In Lecce, there exist the remains of at least one synagogue near the city’s Duomo. Your visit will include entrance to Lecce’s official Jewish Museum – on site, you will see the underground ruins of the ceremonial miqwé and other traces of the historic Jewish community.  

Following your tour, you will have time at leisure for lunch on your own. Later in the afternoon, you will meander Lecce’s old town – exploring artisan shops, cafes and scrumptious bakeries. In Lecce, you will be surrounded by intricately-carved palaces and buildings –  sculpted in the Baroque period. Authentic dinner and overnight in Lecce.

+ DAY 5

DAY 5 – MAY 10th, 2018:

LECCE, GALATINA & OTRANTO

Breakfast at the hotel and head to the town of Galatina. Pietro Colonna – a scholar of the Talmud and Cabbalah — was born here in 1460. Galatina's Jewish roots are visible in the town to this day. With an expert guide, you will tour Galatina’s historic Jewish quarter. We will then enjoy a walk through the Botanical Garden.

Next, we will head to the seaside gem of Otranto. Otranto’s Jewish community flourished in the Middle Ages – due to the presence of merchants in this Mediterranean port city. The Jewish community was so prominent here that locals used to say “For out of Bari goes forth the Law and the word of the Lord from Otranto.” Here was housed in addition a library of legal and academic texts in Hebrew. Our group explore the city with an expert guide, following the architectural and cultural traces of Otranto’s Jewish community. In the evening, transfer to Santa Cesarea Terme. You will overnight here at Hotel Masseria Montelauro (4* superior). Authentic dinner with the group in Santa Cesarea.

+ DAY 6

DAY 6 – MAY 11th, 2018:

SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA & SPECCHIA

Breakfast at the hotel. Today is wholly dedicated to areas depicted in the film, Shores of Light.  We will enjoy guided walks through Santa Cesarea Terme and then explore the towns of Tricase Porto and Santa Maria di Leuca. Once in the southern-most tip of Puglia, you will discover the stunning sea caves of Leuca by boat.  The afternoon will end in Specchia, one of the most picturesque stone villages of Italy. Return to Santa Cesarea Terme for dinner and overnight stay.

+ DAY 7

DAY 7 – MAY 12th, 2018:

ALBEROBELLO & MATERA

Departure after breakfast for Alberobello – a quaint village famous for the cone-shaped stone homes or “trulli” found here. The town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the architecture that you can find only here. You will have time at leisure to lunch in the town.

Following lunch, we will head to the spectacular mountaintop town of Matera. Matera is known for the naturally occurring stone caves the dot the horizon.  Perched atop a mountain overlooking a rocky gorge, Matera will be painted in golden light at sunset. You will overnight in the luxurious Hotel Sextantio (5*).  The stone rooms here provide comfort all while honoring local materials and architectural traditions. Your closing dinner will be held in an authentic eatery in Matera’s historic center

+ DAY 8

DAY 8 – MAY 13th, 2018:

BARI DEPARTURE

 After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Bari airport for your departing flights.


Price Per Person: (in shared double room, 2 people per room) USD 6,300.00
Single Supplement: USD 1050.00


INCLUDED:

  • Tour in bus GT 19 – including tolls and driver
  • Tour conductor
  • 5* hotel in Ostuni
  • 4* hotel in Lecce
  • 4* hotel in Otranto
  • 5* hotel de charme in Matera
  • 7 dinners (3 meal courses, drinks excluded)
  • All transfers mentioned in the program
  • Guided visits as per program with Jewish site specialists
  • Local taxes
  • 2 meetings with prof. Fabrizio Lelli, professor of Hebrew of Università del Salento
  • Visits and Museum entrance fees included:
  • Visit of Jewish Lecce guided by Jewish scholar
  • Visit of Santa Caterina guided by Jewish scholar
  • Visit of Galatina e Otranto guided by Jewish scholar
  • Visit of Santa Cesarea Terme, Tricase e Santa Maria di Leuca guided by Jewish scholar
  • Visits of Manduria guided by Jewish scholar
  • Entrance fee Jewish Museum Lecce and underground Lecce
  • Food tastings in Lecce
  • Entrance fee, Museum Santa Caterina
  • Entrance fee, Museum “Frantoio Ipogeo” in Gallipoli
  • Entrance fee, Botanic Garden La Cutura
  • Tour by boat of Leuca’s sea caves
  • Sunset guided visit of Matera

 

NOT INCLUDED

  • Round-trip flights
  • Tips and Museum fees not mentioned
  • Extras and anything not specified in “QUOTE INCLUDES”
  • Drinks