Puglia & Beyond Culinary Tour

A week-long food lover's tour of Southern Italy

September 20-26, 2020

September 27- October 3, 2020

New Tuscany Tour Video

NEW TOUR for 2020! Southern Italy is a hot destination and we are thrilled to offer this very special tour in the early fall from September 20 to 26, 2020 as well as September 27- October 3. We have limited availability on these cooking tours. Please contact us by email or call 917-602-1519 to reserve your spots!

This unique week-long culinary vacation offers a rare chance to explore the breathtaking landscapes, amazing food, and bold wines of southern Italy's Puglia and Basilicata regions... This tour will take us to the heart of Puglia, where we'll stay at a newly renovated 18th century Masseria, a family-owned agricultural estate that specializes in wine and olive oil production. We'll cook together in the estate's kitchen every morning, lunch al fresco, perhaps swim in the private pool before exploring nearby towns like Alberobello, Carovigno, Altamura, and Polignano a Mare and enjoying dinner at the region's finest restaurants. We'll even foray into nearby Basilicata and visit the stunning town of Matera, now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

There will be an olive oil tasting, a wine tasting, a visit to a bakery with a wood-burning oven, and the opportunity to meet local chefs and food artisans. We'll visit a dairy where we can see how southern Italy's most famous cheeses (Mozzarella, Burrata, Stracciatella, Caciocavallo, and more) are made first-hand, and an organic gelateria to learn all about (and taste plenty of!) traditional gelato.

All activities, meals with wine, and cooking classes are included as part of the tour cost once you arrive at the estate. The estate is conveniently located 30 minutes from the Bari airport, making travel from other regions easy.

We have had the pleasure of taking many people on cooking tours since 2004. Read their testimonials here.

If you want to receive early exclusive notifications (one week before the rest of our mailing list subscribers) about other tours to Italy we are planning for 2021 and beyond, if you are interested in a customized tour for groups of 8 people or more, or if you have questions about our tours, please fill out the culinary tours early access form.

Our aim is to immerse tour participants fully in the regional cuisine, savor local specialties, meet food artisans, and learn authentic Italian cooking at our daily hands-on cooking classes. We focus on visiting smaller destinations, eschewing large tourist centers in favor of small gems where one can really feel part of the fabric of Italian life.

Our hands-on cooking lessons at the estate will be led by tour hosts Micol Negrin and Dino De Angelis, and will touch on every aspect of Italian cuisine: antipasti, fresh pasta (gnocchi, tagliatelle, and more), risotto, fish and meat, vegetables, handmade bread and focaccia, and classic desserts.


  • $3,950 per person based on double occupancy
  • A very limited number of single occupancy supplements is available for an additional $750 per person. NOTE: Since many of the rooms have two separate beds, friends traveling together can comfortably share a room and book as double occupancy.

Our philosophy is that once you arrive at the estate by your own means, everything is included: every meal with wine, transportation to and from the various sites, tastings, and all activities we will be enjoying as a group.

Price includes:

  • 6 nights stay at the estate
  • all breakfasts, all lunches, all dinners
  • room with its own en-suite bathroom
  • 4 hands-on cooking classes at the estate
  • access to the estate's gym
  • wine with all lunches and dinners
  • wine tasting
  • olive oil tasting and visit of traditional olive mill
  • visit of local bakery specialized in the breads of Puglia (taralli, focaccia, and more)
  • gelato-making class at a local gelateria
  • cheesemaking class at an organic dairy
  • all organized group activities
  • transportation by private bus within the tour to towns such as Altamura, Matera, Polignano a Mare, and more
  • recipes
  • Rustico Cooking apron

The Masseria (agricultural estate) is located 30 minutes from Bari by car. The decor is elegantly rustic, with stone walls and wood beams on ceilings. Our group will occupy 12 deluxe rooms, each equipped with wi-fi, television, private bath, and mini refrigerator. The estate has a gym and private outdoor pool. (Fun fact: The estate's owner, Giovanni, has a vast collection of antique scales, ranging from tiny medicinal scales to huge scales for weighing animals, and these are showcased throughout the property, adding to the quaint charm of this very beautifully appointed masseria.)

Cost does not include airfare and ground transportation for your arrival at the estate on the first day of the tour, and transportation from the estate to your next destination at the end of the tour. We are happy to suggest a car service that can arrange for pick up and drop off as requested (the Bari airport is closest, about 30 minutes away, and connecting flights to Rome or Milan are available). We strongly encourage trip insurance.

A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to reserve. Final payment is due three months prior to the start of the tour at the latest. Deposits and final payments are non-refundable.

Tour Overview & Reservation Details

This is going to be one amazing week! The majority of people who take tours with us spend a couple of days in their city of arrival in Italy - whether Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice or other - and then join us when the tour starts. This is a good way to plan your trip, since it will give you a day or two to beat the jet lag (depending on what time zone you are coming from). Some folks will be driving, others flying in to nearby airports, others taking the train.

Keep in mind that the estate is just 30 minutes by car from the Bari airport and 20 minutes away from the Bari train station. We can help you get to and from the estate by suggesting a car service that will pick you up at the airport or train station upon your arrival, and drop you off there on the last day of the tour.

Check in is at 4 pm the first day of the tour, and after you settle into your private room, we'll start off with a welcome reception: a little wine, some finger foods to nibble on, and the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers; this will be followed by a welcome dinner at the estate; the masseria is known for its regional cuisine, featuring their own vegetables, private label olive oil and wine in most of their preparations.

The next morning, we'll enjoy our first hands-on cooking lesson in the estate's kitchen, followed by lunch, an afternoon of sightseeing and culinary discovery, and dinner in a nearby town.

This will be the pace of our week together: cooking in the mornings, lunching together, and discovering Puglia and Basilicata by private bus in the afternoons. We'll include wine tastings, olive oil tastings, encounters with local food artisans, and more on our daily itineraries, so every day will bring a new adventure. We are working on a visit to a cheese making factory so we can see first-hand how southern Italy's famous cheeses are made, and a gelato tasting; we'll keep you posted!

Since we'll be exploring small medieval towns, there will be some walking involved, including some stairs or moderate hills; we suggest comfortable walking shoes.

Getting to the Estate:

The estate is located on the outskirts of the small town of Rutigliano in the province of Bari, Puglia. We can help you get to and from the estate by suggesting a car service that will pick you up or drop you off at the Bari airport, or at the Bari or Rutigliano train station.

Traveling by car from major cities to the estate:

  • From Bari airport: 30 min. (15 miles)
  • From Bari train station: 20 min. (12 miles)
  • From Rutigliano train station: 7 min. (2 miles)
  • From Rome: 5 h. (275 miles)
  • From Naples: 3 h. (170 miles)

Traveling by train to Bari station:

  • From Florence: 1 transfer, 5 h 30 min.
  • From Rome: direct, 4 h.
  • From Milan: 1 transfer, 7 h.
  • From Venice: direct, 7 h 30 min.
  • From Naples: 1 transfer, 3 h 51 min.

(keep in mind that the Bari train station is 30 minutes away from the estate by car).

Hands-on Cooking Classes at the Estate:

Italian food is extremely varied and deeply regional. From making fresh pasta by hand to kneading focaccia dough, roasting and braising meats, poaching fish, whipping up amazing desserts, and more, each class at the estate will focus on key Italian culinary techniques and will culminate in a full Italian meal. By week's end, you'll have perfected many essential culinary skills and learned dozens of Italian dishes.

Restaurant Dinners:

Puglia and Basilicata are famous for their extensive repertoire of semolina pastas, breads, and focaccias; an abundant use of cultivated and wild vegetables, a delectable array of fresh farmhouse cow's milk cheeses, robust meat preparations, simple fish dishes, and Greek-influenced desserts. We have selected restaurants in nearby medieval towns where you can enjoy a taste of the local cuisine. Some restaurants will be elegant, others cozy, but all will provide us with a memorable gastronomic experience. The only prerequisite is to bring your appetite, because the meals will be generous and wine is always included!

Dietary Restrictions:

Please note that due to the nature of the hands-on cooking classes (intended to provide a breadth of knowledge and perfect a wide range of skills), as well as the group nature of the regional dinners we will be experiencing at local restaurants, there will be no way to accommodate gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free requirements.

Waiver & Medical Form:

We ask that all tour participants complete a waiver and release form as well as a medical form for their own safety. Any medical information shared will be kept absolutely confidential and will be used only to facilitate communication with medical personnel in the case of an unforeseen medical emergency while in Italy; please rest assured that this is the ONLY purpose of the medical form. All paperwork will need to be completed and returned with final payment three months prior to the start of the tour at the latest to secure your spot(s).

Deposit & Final Payment:

A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to reserve. Final payment is due three months prior to the start of the tour at the latest. Deposits and final payments are non-refundable.

Price is subject to change as a result of international currency fluctuations that may affect the cost of air/land/sea transportation, hotels, or other related services.

Refunds: In the event that we must cancel a trip, you will be given a full refund of all deposits and payments. We do not give refunds of deposits or final payments for tours that commence as scheduled, including for unused portions of the tour. We do give credit for cancellations as noted below.

Cancellation Credit: In the event you cancel your tour for any reason, we allow credit for payments (but not deposits) in the following way:

  • 100% credit for future tours given with 90 days notice.
  • 60% credit for future tours given with notice of 60 to 89 days.
  • 30% credit for future tours given with notice of 30 to 59 days.
  • No credit given for cancellation less than 30 days prior to start date of the tour.
  • No credit for the reservation deposit.
  • All cancellation credits are good for two years from the start date of the originally scheduled tour.

There are two ways to make the reservation deposit payment for the tours - you can use the paypal buttons below and the payment will be processed instantly. There is a 3% surcharge if you choose this option to cover for credit card fees ($1030 per spot). You can also pay by check in which case there is no surcharge ($1000 per spot). If you choose this option please contact us by email and we will send you all information including the payment address (which is different from the Rustico Cooking address in Manhattan...)

One Room Left! Puglia Tour Reservation Deposit for September 20-26, 2020 ($1030 per spot including credit card surcharge)

NEW Puglia Tour Reservation Deposit for September 27-October 2, 2020 ($1030 per spot including credit card surcharge)

If you want to receive early exclusive notifications (one week before the rest of our mailing list subscribers) about the tours to Italy we are planning in the future, if you are interested in a customized tour for groups of 8 people or more, or if you have questions about our tours, please fill out the culinary tours early access form. You can also email us at micol@rusticocooking.com if you have any questions.

Follow us on twitter and facebook for news, special offers and promotions...