Despite Covid-19 emergency, which continues to make its way with the third wave of the year, the tourist and cultural relationships between Puglia Region and the Republic of Lithuania are increasingly rooted.
In fact, in March, some Lithuanian Tour Operators reached Puglia, through the direct flight Vilnius-Bergamo, taking advantage of a good connection from Bergamo to Bari with the company RYANAIR, in order to organize a series of tours by the end of the year 2021, as well as for the following years – 2022/2023 – of the renowned “Costa dei Trulli”.
In absolute compliance with the new PRIME MINISTERIAL DEGREE (P.M.D.), according to the regulations in force for the containment of the pandemic, the group had the opportunity to visit the charming places belonging to this glimpse of Puglia, as well as, some of the most characteristic large farms of the place.
In order to promote the territory was extremely decisive the presence of the President of the O.T.M., Dr. Loredana Campanelli, together with the constant support of the Consul Saracino and the Ambassador of Puglia Cav. Avv. Nancy Dell’Olio who is a specialized Lawyer in International Law. Moreover in 2014 she was also invested as Dame Of Merit for the Republic of Italy by the President of The Republic, (“this title refers to the first of the National Orders and is intended to “reward merits acquired towards the nation in the field of letters, arts, economics and in the disengagement of public offices and activities carried out for social, philanthropic and humanitarian purposes, as well as for long and reported services in civilian and military careers”). The group, supported by the aforementioned, has been accompanied, during the whole visit, to the “Costa dei Trulli”, moving to the towns of Monopoli, Polignano a Mare, Castellana Grotte, Fasano, Conversano and Alberobello.
The Northern European group particularly appreciate the Historic Centers of the Towns, characterized by tangled alleys and streets paved with the typical Chianche (typical stones of the area); the whitewashed houses and the characteristic flowered balconies, as well as the churches and monuments of various eras.
The Lithuanian Tour Operators, in fact, were hosted in small places, where they were able to enjoy numerous gastronomic itineraries, appreciating some of the representative dishes of the place: taralli, friselle, olives, focaccia, pettole and panzerotti. They also tasted the famous and precious meats of the area, among which stand out: the Gnummareddi, and the meat bombette, characteristics of the place.
Over the course of the days, the delegation moved to the Castellana Caves, which are a complex of underground caves of karst origin, of considerable tourist interest, among the most beautiful and spectacular in Italy. On this occasion, the group met the President of the Caves, Avv. Victur Casulli (Lawyer in Castellana Grotte), who attended for the entire visit.
The Lithuanian Tour Operators visited the site, constantly accompanied by a tour guide who provided all the information in English, and the visit to the Caves, unfolded along a three-kilometer path: a guided excursion, about 70 meters deep, in an astonishing scenery, where caves with fantastic names, canyons, deep abysses, fossils, stalactites, stalagmites, concretions with incredible shapes and surprising colors, have stimulated the imagination of young people and adults.
In Alberobello, Lithuanian tourists admired the peculiarities of the place: the rural landscape characterized by the high use of local stone, and also the trulli, now a UNESCO heritage site, that is, typical and exclusive cone-shaped stone houses.
On the occasion of the visit to the city, the group visited the Trullo Sovrano, one of the largest cone-shaped stone house in Alberobello, seat of the brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament from 1826 to 1837.
Due to the proximity between the localities and the marked tourist interest, the delegation subsequently reached the city of Cisternino, visiting the Old Town, which has a simple and rustic appearance and is included among the hundred most beautiful villages in Italy.
During the tour, the group had the opportunity to meet the Mayor of the city, Dr. Luca Convertini , accompanied by Professor Angelo Semeraro, Councilor for Production Activities, who, with their presence, gave the delegation the opportunity to know and admire the riches of the city.
The delegation, then, made a stop at the city of Conversano, located on the first hills of the Murgia in the south of Bari. Here, the main attraction was the Castle of Conversano, a complex of Norman origin that stands on the highest point of the hill on where the city rises, in a position able to dominate the entire surrounding area up to the sea. The delegation had the opportunity to visit the structure, with a guide who explained the origins of the fortress in English.
In the following days, the group moved to the charming town of Monopoli, which represents, on the Adriatic sea, one of the most active and populous ports in the Region, and whose characteristic Old Town of early medieval origin, overlooks the surrounded sea from high walls. Here, the Lithuanian Tour Operators, constantly accompanied and supported by the availability and expertise in the area of Dr. Loredana Campanelli, were able to visit some of the typical large farms of the place. The Association of Tourism Operators of Monopoli (O.T.M.) in which the aforementioned Dr. Campanelli holds the role of President, was established in 2015, and for years, cooperation between the accommodation facilities has been set as a fundamental objective, in order to optimize the offer of hospitality and related services. The structures affiliated with the Association are located in the metropolitan area of Monopoli, and offer tourists of all ages, the opportunity to spend their holidays in the pursuit of relaxation, discovering this wonderful glimpse of the Region.
This meeting meant that the Apulian territory was promoted in Northern Europe, and, at the same time, it favored the birth of a future collaboration between the Lithuanian and Apulian Tour Operators, in order to promote the Republic of Lithuania also in Puglia. During the visit to the hotels, in fact, the Lithuanian guests did not hesitate, in turn, to entertain those present, introducing them to the “touristic” Lithuania and inviting them to visit it, as soon as the state of emergency, due to Covid 19, will allow this chance.
The first stop was the COUNTRY HOUSE (www.sorellebarnaba.com) which, as the name suggests, is immersed in the countryside of Monopoli. The structure, also gave guests the opportunity to enjoy some of the most evocative experiences in the area: the guided tour from the modern continuous-cycle oil mill to the underground one, with subsequent tasting of products and dishes at km 0 prepared with the owned production oil; or the opportunity to attend a cooking class, learning to prepare typical Apulian products to be tasted in conviviality.
The group then moved to other structures located in the Historic Center of Monopoli a few steps from the sea: the TERRACIELO GUEST HOUSE (www.terracielomonopoli.it), which caught the attention of the Consul Saracino, the Ambassador of Puglia Cav. Avv. Nancy Dell’Olio and the Lithuanian Tour Operators, both for beauty and innovation in the tourism field.
A structure dating back to 1800, with the typical characteristics of a town house, whose name recalls the typicality of the structures of the place to develop in height. Also in a central position, it is located in the heart of the Old Town near the Cathedral Basilica and a few steps from the Porta Vecchia, the sandy cove symbol of the city.
And MASSERIA D’ERCHIA (www.masseriaderchia.it), a B&B located in the splendid setting of the Apulian countryside, which has made the Northern European group go back in time to discover the nature and tradition of the place.
The monumental complex, dating back to the 11th century, is set in twelve hectares of “park of the plain of centuries-old olive trees”, and is located in the Municipality of Monopoli a few steps from the sea and the City Center. Rich in history and tradition, the complex hosts a series of works of art that particularly fascinated the delegation, which was able to discover and immerse themselves in small pieces of history.
And also, CONTRADA DIMORE PUGLIESI (www.lecontrade.net), a new structure in the tourism scene in the Monopoli area – open to the public only this Summer – which has particularly captured the attention of the group due to its strategic position. The dwelling that was visited by the delegation is the one called “DIMORA SAN SALVATORE”, and is a complex with five double bedrooms, totally independent, equipped with all comforts, overlooking the sea. Located, in fact, in the Historic Center of Monopoli, with the typical houses that refer to the ancient village, structured on three floors, the structure has allowed the recovery of the ancient Urban Center, which comes back to life in another form in step with the times. Without forgetting the wonderful view of the Lungomare (i.e. a long walk along the sea) of Monopoli, adjacent to the Old Town of the city, home to the nightlife preferred by young people especially in the Summer, thanks to the presence of numerous clubs, cafes and restaurants.
Confirming this, the guided tour of the Coast, dotted with beautiful sandy coves, which are interspersed with the high cliffs. On this occasion, the group enjoyed one of the most autochthonous experiences: a boat tour along the Coast, organized and offered by the O.T.M. Association of Monopoli, in order to visit some of the representative bathing establishments of the area.
The coast of Monopoli is famous for the wealth of bathing facilities equipped to meet the needs of tourists of all ages. There are numerous beaches on the coast, including: Cala Porta Vecchia, Porto Ghiacciolo, Lido Sabbiadoro, Cala Cozze and Porto Rosso.
Defined as the most “festive” cove in Monopoli, Porto Ghiacciolo ( the word “Ghiacciolo”, in Italian Language reminds to ice, and means very cold), is so called because the water reaches very low temperatures. It is located at the foot of the ancient Santo Stefano Abbey, and has a large expanse of sand that welcomes a sandy bottom with clear, green water. Very popular with young people, especially on weekends, also because it is equipped with a bar, a deckchair rental service and a large parking just before entering the beach.
Of considerable importance, even Lido Sabbiadoro, favored by younger tourists. It represents one of the most exclusive corners of Puglia and rises along the most suggestive Coast of the south-Bari area, the Capitolo. The structure is under construction (in view of the Summer period), clearly respecting all the provisions in force regarding the containment of the pandemic: Wi-fi, maximum distance between umbrellas, restaurant with tasting of typical dishes and tables spaced apart to favor the consumption of meals in total safety.
As soon as the Summer season begins, always in full compliance with the P.M.D. in force, it can also carry out many ancillary activities that the structure makes available to its guests: guided tours by bicycle to the farms located in the areas adjacent to the coast, with related gastronomic itineraries and tasting of oils and wines; cooking class with professional chefs, harvest experiences directly in the olive groves of which the area is rich.. etc.
The visit to Monopoli ended with another of the typical structures of the area, the B&B A-CASTE (www.accaste.it) whose name recalls the local dialect and is synonymous with “feeling at home”, located in an excellent (in the middle of the Historic City Center and a few minutes from the sea). On the occasion of the visit, the Lithuanian Tour Operators, led by the Mayor of the city, Dr. Angelo Annese, together with the Councilor for Tourism of Monopoli, Dr. Cristian Iaia and the President of the O.T.M. of Monopoli, as well as President of the C.N.A. Turismo Metropolitan Area of Bari, the aforementioned Dr. Loredana Campanelli, visited the Historic Center of the Town.
In the following days, the delegation moved to Polignano a Mare to visit other structures of great tourist interest.
The walls and towers that protected the Town of Polignano a Mare in the Middle Ages, now house the ANTICO MONDO HOTEL (www.bebanticomondo.com), a suggestive and elegant structure. The residences offer the most diversified solutions: from the characteristic rooms overlooking the Roman Bridge and in the alleys of the Historic Center, to the exclusive Luxury Suites overlooking the most characteristic glimpse of Polignano a Mare, the beach of Lama Monachile.
The structure gave guests the opportunity to enjoy exciting experiences aimed at discovering Puglia region: cooking class with a professional chef, guided excursions throughout the Apulian territory and finally a pleasant visit to the zoo of Fasano, where the youngest and the animal lovers, enjoyed an unforgettable day, making both pedestrian and vehicle routes, in close contact with animals.
And again the DIMORA SANTO STEFANO (www.santostefano.info), located in the heart of the Historic Center of Polignano a Mare, in the alley of the same name, a few steps from the terrace overlooking the sea, where tourists have stopped to immortalize the view and they benefited from an aperitif with sea view, kindly offered by the structure, full of finger food that recalled the typical dishes of the Apulian cuisine.
Concluding the visit, the group visited the Hotel called CINQUE VITE, an elegant and luxurious structure by the sea in Polignano, located in a 19th century building with white plaster and vaulted ceilings.
The Lithuanian Tour Operators here, have enjoyed some of the most suggestive experiences, offered by the structure: a visit to the picturesque Old Town of Polignano between narrow alleys and balconies overlooking the sea, a trip aboard an Ape Calessino, to visit the more remote places in the Country, cooking lessons to discover the secrets to make the typical dishes of the Apulian tradition and a guided tour to discover the Apulian wine traditions in a local cellar.
The tour then ended, moving to Fasano. Here, the Lithuanian Tour Operators met the Mayor of the city, Avv. Francesco Zaccaria (Lawyer in Fasano), who accompanied them during the visit of all the structures. The delegation, supported by the Mayor of the city, together with the Consul Saracino as well as Dr. Loredana Campanelli, was hosted in two structures equipped with all comforts, completely immersed in nature: MASSERIA SAN MARTINO (www.masseriasanmartino.com), a typical farmhouse dating back to the seventeenth century, located a few kilometers from the sea, in the most spectacular Apulian countryside of the Itria Valley. The various outdoor spaces, have also given the guests the opportunity to spend peaceful days relaxing in the sun both by the pool and in the olive grove; to take long walks, cycling and jogging in the area. To then easily reach, just five minutes away, the wonderful Adriatic Sea with its splendid Coast with equipped bathing establishments, choosing between pebble or sandy beaches, depending on their needs.
And finally, MASSERIA ANCELLA (www.masseriaancella.com), located in the Speziale area, a place immersed in the Apulian countryside among olive and citrus groves. Characterized by a refined and authentic style, the rooms, suites and two trulli of the ancient large farm, retain the typical intimacy of an elegant stay, just a few steps from the sea. Here, guests benefited from a Spa treatment kindly offered by the hotel; a treatment that draws its origins from the time of the ancient Romans and the Greeks. In the splendid setting of an ancient natural cellar, the group conducted Wine Therapy, based on grapes and wine, which have numerous revitalizing properties beneficial for the skin and circulation, able to counteract forms of stress and skin aging.
Furthermore, considering that Lithuanians of high standing practice the sport of golf, they have seven top-level facilities in Lithuania. In the face of this, they wanted to visit three other structures, equipped with all comforts, and milestones of tourism in the area.
MASSERIA TORRE COCCARO (www.masseriatorrecoccaro.com), an ancient farmhouse originally located in a seventeenth-century tower built by the Knights of Malta to protect themselves from the Saracen invasion, from which you can admire the sea. Here, the delegation, accompanied by the Councilor for Tourism Prof. Cinzia Caroli and the Head of the Tourist Office of the city, Dr. Concetta Boggia, was able to practice the aforementioned sport, reaching the SAN DOMENICO GOLF CLUB, an 18-hole golf course championship seat of the last Final of the Challenge tour, located 1 kilometer from the structure.
And finally, BORGO EGNAZIA (www.borgoegnazia.com), the exclusive 5-star Hotel, characterized by traditional Apulian architecture and located in a panoramic position in the Mediterranean scrub. The structure also overlooks the SAN DOMENICO GOLF CLUB, and consists of three areas equipped with all comforts, separate but interconnected with each other (the Court, the Borgo and the Villas).
The structure offers three tennis courts, where the Tour Operators were able to play, and a private bathing beach in Savelletri (about a kilometer and a half from the structure), which the delegation visited.
Obviously, in choosing the hotels that have been visited, it has been kept in mind that the future tourist flows and the holidays that will be organized in Puglia by foreign tourists from the Republic of Lithuania, will be within the reach of all ages; therefore the selection of the structures was carried out carefully, in order to meet the needs of both adult and younger tourists.
Furthermore, the presence of the President of the O.T.M. and President of the CNA Metropolitan Area of Bari, Dr. Loredana Campanelli, who has made available her time as well as her competence and knowledge of the territory, has been of fundamental importance for Lithuanian Tour Operators , who have visited and appreciated this part of our Region. FOR ANY CONNECTION OF TOURIST NATURE,IN FACT, OPERATORS CAN CONTACT THE AFOREMENTIONED AT THE NUMBER: 00393206782093: OR WRITE TO THE EMAIL ADDRESS : [email protected]
All this is further confirmation of the dedication with which the Consulate of Apulia and Basilicata of the Republic of Lithuania has made sure that, in recent years, the distances between Lithuania and Apulia Region have shortened. An example of this, are the numerous twinning formalized by the aforementioned Consular Office, including: the Historic Center of Lecce with the Historic Center of Vilnius, the Rotary Club of Lecce with the Rotary Club of Vilnius and still the Lions International of Copertino with Lions International of Vilnius, as well as the Salento Cultural Institute with the corresponding Cultural Institute in Vilnius and so on…
In confirmation of this, also the constant support of the Ambassador of Puglia, Cav. Avv. Nancy Dell’Olio and Pugliapromozione (Regional Tourism Agency), who recently landed Puglia directly on the online and on-demand streaming platform, Netflix, with the “Somebody Feed Phil” program. It is a travel documentary created by Philip Rosenthal – from whom the program takes its name – which reaches the kitchens of every corner of the planet, narrating the traditions and beauty of lifestyles. The friendship born between the kitchen guru and the Cav. Avv. Nancy dell’Olio, will lead the producer to include the heel of Italy among the places to “visit” in the fifth series of the program scheduled for the fifth edition.
Furthermore, the connections between the two Countries have always been a strength in the tourism sector, and we hope that these connections will increase more and more over the years. Puglia continues to be a very popular destination, and especially in this historical moment, characterized by a stalemate in the sector (due to the Covid-19 emergency), the Diplomatic-Consular Office is committed to developing the traditional activity of assistance of citizens of one’s own country in a foreign country, as well as the development of cultural, commercial and tourist relations in order to promote the Lithuanian territory in Puglia.
The Consul Giuseppe Saracino, has pointed out several times that, although little known, the Republic of Lithuania is a member state of the European Union, bordering to the north with Latvia, to the east with Belarus, to the south with Poland and to the south-west with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast, while to the west it is bathed by the Baltic Sea; and is part of the geopolitical area of the Baltic countries, of which it is the southernmost and most populous state.
The Country’s official language is Lithuanian; 80% of the population knows the English language well and the Lithuanians, of medium-high extraction, know it perfectly; there are also some Russian and Polish minorities. There are any doubts, saying that foreign tourists have no difficulty in communicating well in English during their staying in Lithuania.
The Republic of Lithuania is a young Country, in fact in 2018 it celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first Independence. Small in size and slightly larger than our Central Italy, it hosts a great variety of historical and cultural sites: the capital Vilnius, where the oldest University in Lithuania was founded, led for over two centuries by the Jesuits. From a recent study conducted by the Cultural Section of the Consulate of Puglia and Basilicata of the Republic of Lithuania, in fact, it emerged that Father Salpa, an Italian Jesuit native of Martina Franca (a small town in province of Taranto), had long held the position of Rector of the University; Kaunas, the main industrial center of the nation and again, Klaipėda, which has as its symbol the Meridianas sailing ship, built in 1948.
The Diplomatic-Consular office of Lithuania for the regions of Puglia and Basilicata reiterates its total willingness to promote other similar trips to the latter, in order to further strengthen tourist flows between the two Countries. For any connection with abroad or information of a tourist nature, operators can contact the aforementioned, in this specific case by contacting the Tourist Section directly (email address: [email protected]).