Italy-Puglia

  • "Stepping Among Sacred Stones" Tour
  • 01-09 October 2011
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Arrive in Brindisi and begin the journey in Lecce, the site of the Greek Messapi settlement which became an important center of the Roman Empire and during the Middle Ages, also a hub for learning. 

From Lecce continue to Corglione d’Otranto, a central location for  visiting the megalithic sites of the Salentine area.

100_1113.JPGBegin with  Carpignano, (located on the ancient Via Traiana-Costantiniana) an important settlement for the Byzantine "Basiliani" monks. In Carpignano, visit the Byzantine crypt with its antique frescoes and several important menhirs and monoliths.

Closeby, marvel at the “Zollino Monolith” directly fixed onto a cliff with a height of approximately 4.3 meters and a menhir believed to have had a funeral function in memory those deceased and of noble origin.

Also in the area view “neviere” (underground vaults that held snow to preserve food during the warm summers), "specchie" (stone mounds and elements of worship that are shrouded by legends related to the presence of the Saracens and the Turks)and underground mills. 

IMG_0663.JPGThe “Garden of the Megaliths” with its numerous menhirs and dolmens are testimony to human existence and sacred sites since the Bronze Age.  The “pietrefitte” (solar axis stone alignments) with sacred symbol engravings, the crypt of San Salvatore (one of the most interesting examples of rock structures and symbolism) and the Frantoio Ipogeo (an ancient underground olive-oil press) are all sites along the journey.

Deer cave.jpgAlso in the area is the “Grotta dei Cervi” (Deer Cave), one of the most intense, complex and mysterious examples of prehistoric cave painting (post-Paleolithic period) in Europe. The cave paintings exude mysticism, mythology and sacred symbolism (such as the sacred deer), while the cave itself has areas that are deemed to be areas of worship and ancient shamanism.

Along the coast, visit Otranto, one of the first Greek colonies in Italy. A port town and thriving as an embarkation point for the crusades, the town’s economy was later destroyed by the Turks during the war with the Venetians in the late 1400’s and left with a population of only a few hundred after a bout with malaria.

The old town center is charming with its brightly colored houses encompassed within the walled fortifications overlooking the south bank of the harbor. A castle built by the Aragonese in the center of town stands watch over the port. Cobble-stoned lanes add to the charm and typical handicrafts made of terra cotta and leccese stone areplentiful. 

South of Corgliano d'Otranto in the very southern tip of Puglia, visit the “Specchia Anna Maria”, the “Menhir Norman”, Neolithic temples, the “Specchia Silva” and other “neviere”, mehirs and prehistoric sites.  

Before arriving in Alberobello, visit megalithic geoglyphs at megalitihic sacred sites, Neolithic menhir alignments, pre-Messapic villages, Neolithic rock carvings, underground mills and dolmens including the famous “Placa” dolmen.

100_1202.JPGAlberobello is the “trulli” capital where the cone-shaped white buildings crowd the narrow streets. The small town has been made a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unusual districts.

The “trullo is a small dwelling built from the local limestone, with dry-stone walls and a characteristic conical roof. The buildings are usually square and have very thick stone walls, constructed without mortar. The thickness strengthens the structure and also helps regulate the internal temperature. The roof is actually a dome, as you can see when you enter one of the buildings, but is almost invariably built up on top into a cone shape, topped with a spire. There is generally a central room, with additional living spaces in arched alcoves.

100_1207.JPGResidential “trulli”are smartly whitewashed, and their roofs are often decorated with fanciful painted symbols believed to have spiritual significance.

From Alberobello head west to Altamura, a city which lies on the Murge Plateau. The city links its birth to the mythical disembarkation of the escaping Trojans who landed on the Adriatic Italian coast. During the journey from the motherland, which was unfortunately destroyed and lost, the population commanded by a friend of Enea (Aeneas) called Antellus, was thought to have founded a city and given start to a new populous and civilization. It is here where the Trojan Antello settled and founded the city. A further mythical story of Altamura cites Althea, Queen of the Myrmidons (Myrmidones), a mythological Greek population who disembarked on the Adriatic coast.

The presence of man on the territory however, dates much further back and is lost in history as testified by the famous retrieval of a calcified “Altamura Man” in the limestone grotto of Lamalunga, believed to have lived 300,000 years ago. View the “Altamura Man” through special camera set into the grotto where he lies as well as the Dinosaur Caves in Pontrelli. This is one of the richest fossil deposits in the world dating back to the Cretaceous period (about 70 million years old).

Matera.jpgContinue on to enchanting Matera located in the Basilicata region of Italy. Matera is a unique example of a cultural tradition and civilization which stretches back to the Neolithic age. The old city was created out of a rocky ravine. The numerous natural caves in Matera were the first houses of the Neolithic inhabitants of the region, who transformed the natural landscape into new forms of architecture.

Caves are carved out one above the other and arranged in a seemingly chaotic way until it is realized that the caves are really a labyrinth of houses. The roof of one house may appear as a road, a stairway, a garden or as the floor of yet another house. Walking through the old city, many chimneys sprout out of the road, and you find yourself walking on the roofs of other

Temple I.jpgAlso visit Metaponto, a city founded by the Miceni. The "Palatine Boards" (also known as the "Palatine Columns” or "Mesole") are the ruins of the ancient city with the remains of a Doric Temple (end sec. VI BC) dedicated to Hera. The area is a rich necropolis including in the small locality of Crucinia with its burial sarcophagus.

Egizia.jpgEnd the journey with a visit to the ruins of Egnazia. The long history of Egnazia stretches back at least as far as the Bronze Age of the 16th century B.C.  From the coastal section of the acropolis, much of the old port and town has been lost to the sea, but the old defensive wall perched precariously on the waters edge still stands.  Much of what can be seen today is from the Roman era. Visit to the museum and the ruins, then return to Alberobello for the night. Depart from Brindisi.

  • $1,636
  • per person in double occupancy
  • minimum 18 participants
  • Price is indicative of EURO/dollar exchange rate. Fixed tour price is 1105,00 Euros. Includes on-site transpersonal psychologist to assist tour participants to obtain the maximum spiritual experience, English-speaking guides, entrance fees, accommodations, breakfast daily. 50% deposit required to book.
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