Small Group  |  Off the Beaten Path  | Authentic & Immersive



5 - 7 total






2022: MAY 21-29

2023: MAY 20-28

You’ve never experienced a trip like this! Mingling with locals at every turn, losing yourself in cliff-clung villages, listening to stories soaked with tradition, and tasting recipes handed down for generations–prepare to discover the Secrets of Southern Italy!


For immersion-seekers who crave to connect with the genuine culture and leave the crowds behind, the gorgeous facade of Puglia hides an ancient history that pulls you into the core of this magical region. Here in the heel of the boot, we’ll experience authentic places still wild with mystery and alive with tradition!




the art of gelato-making from a family that has done it for over 100 years.



folk music and dancing in the countryside.



on a boat to hidden beaches and sea caves.


on seafood just steps from where it was caught.


elders and listen to their life stories.


mouth-watering recipes at a traditional farmhouse masseria.

Step into Italy as if you're a Local.


  • Bari (Arrival and Departure Airport)

  • Polignano (3 nights)

  • Monte Sant'Angelo (2 nights)

  • Peschici (3 nights)




Monte Sant'Angelo



Let's Get This Party Started

After a long journey, we'll meet at Bari Airport and head to our first base; the charming seaside town of Polignano! Here you can relax at our B&B (located in the beautiful historic center) or wander the village which is known for its winding, cobblestone streets and incredible sea views. In the evening, we'll have a welcome aperitivo to get to know each other, followed by a group dinner in a special seafood restaurant!

Monopoli and Cheese Farm

Lead by our charming local guide, we'll get lost in the hidden sidestreets of this unique town with white-washed buildings and a fascinating history. You'll then have free time to find lunch and wander. In the afternoon we're headed to a cheese farm where we'll taste freshly-made cheese, visit the farm, and step inside a "trullo" (a traditional cone-shaped home). Enjoy free time and dinner on your own this evening at our base in Polignano.

Keep Calm and Dance Pizzica

This morning you are free to wander and fully explore Polignano. Restaurants, cafes, local boutiques, artisans, beaches, seaside cliffs, gelato, and endless seafood- you'll fall in love with this stunning village! In the evening we'll head to a "masseria" (traditional farmhouse) where we'll be eating like true Italians! First though, we'll get our hands dirty with our friend and award-winning chef, Anna, to learn the secrets to Pugliese recipes and make some pasta by hand. Finally, we'll enjoy every bite seated in the open air as the sun sets. Just as you think it can't get any better, a live "pizzica" folk band will arrive to dance us into the night!

Seaside to Mountaintop

Today we'll drive to our second home base in Monte Sant'Angelo, part of Gargano National Park. Enjoy the view of red poppies along the way and if you're lucky, you may also spot flamingos (yes, actual pink flamingos live in the salt flats along the way)! After a drive up scenic and winding roads, we'll have a guided walk in Monte Sant'Angelo. Perched at 2,600 feet above sea level, this is one of the oldest places of worship in Christendom with a protective castle looming above. After the tour, we'll check into our B&B next to the ancient sanctuary and you'll be free to enjoy the amazing views and piazzas full of locals.

Do Not Disturb: Beach Bliss

Today we're heading to one of Puglia's best kept secrets; a beautiful, secluded beach that will take your breath with its tall white cliffs and calm blue water. After a picnic lunch of traditional products selected and prepared by a local, you can relax, catch up on some reading, take a dip, sketch, or do some journaling...this place is waiting to be soaked up and bookmarked as your new "happy place"!

Abandoned Abbey Hike

Tie up your shoelaces because today we're going to discover a magical place- but first, a hike into Gargano National Park (1 hour walk up with breaks, 45 mins down)! Along the hike, you'll get lost in the amazing array of flowers as the Gargano area is home to around 2,200 types of flora, a paradise of bio-diversity! You'll soon arrive in an opening where an arched, stone structure still stands after 1,600 years- an abbey that began as a site for a pagan cult that worshiped Jupiter! Walk amongst the vast ruins as you marvel at the structure, the architectural style, and what is left today. To reward ourselves after all that exercise, we'll linger over a homemade multi-course lunch at the most authentic countryside farm in the area. Afterwards we'll continue to our third (and last) base. Situated by the sea and cliffs, with amazing gelato, kind locals, & a beautiful beach, the village of Peschici is a special spot in the "spur" of Italy's boot. Pro Tip: Make use of our B&B's panoramic terrace!

Gelato Workshop

This morning we'll learn the secrets to making THE best gelato from a family that has done it for over 100 years.. We'll satisfy our sweet tooth and curious minds! Have the afternoon free to try a restaurant with a great view of the beach or plant yourself directly in the sand with a good book! Later this evening, we'll regroup and visit an original "trabucco", a fishing structure made of wood and ropes. This particular one has been there for over 80 years. End this amazing day with a sunset seafood dinner in an open air restaurant by the sea (they often buy their fish straight from the trabucco next door)!

Crusin' the Coast

In the morning, we'll meet our captain and board our own private boat for an adventure along the stunning coast of Gargano! To top it off, we'll enjoy a fresh seafood lunch at a restaurant tucked away on a small hidden beach!

Ciao! (+ Matera Extension Trip Option)

A presto! (See you again soon!) Haven't had enough yet? Continue on with us for 4 more days in unforgettable Matera (May 30 - June 2)!

Add our Mysteries of Matera trip for an extended stay!



Slower-paced & stress-free travel

Unique activities sourced from locals from the region and our extensive research in the area

Exclusive group of 7 like-minded travelers

Plenty of free time to do your own thing

Explore places your friends have never been to

Thoughtfully crafted for genuine connection with locals


8 nights' accommodation in a private room at 3 hotels (Polignano, Monte S. Angelo, Peschici)


All Activities

Welcome Aperitivo & Walk in Polignano

Private Tour of Monopoli

Artisan Studio Visit

Mozzarella, Olive Oil, &/or Wine Workshop at a Masseria

Cooking Class

Private concert of traditional folk music at a Masseria

Private Tour of Monte Sant’Angelo

Beach Picnic

Guided Hike to an Abandoned Abbey in the Foresta Umbra

Visit to a traditional Farm 

Gelato Workshop

Private Boat Tour along the Gargano Coast

Visit to a historic trabucco

...and more!

All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners including wine

Carbon Footprint Offset: Trees will be planted to offset the environmental impact of your trip!

Transportation + Private Driver

Flight Expert to research and book flights

Arrival/Departure Transfers from Bari Airport

Trip Leader fluent in English and Italian

Driver & guide gratuity

From $3199 USD per person

Our travelers want to leave the crowded tourist paths behind, without spending weeks researching. They want to connect with locals, but don't have years to perfect a new language. And while they love back roads and hidden villages, they're not up for the hassle and risk of driving a rental.


Our travelers are warm. They’re curious. And they want to see Italy with open hearts, open minds, and without the growl of a giant tour bus announcing their arrival. They are immersion seekers who want to step into the everyday life of authentic Italy!


Sound like you?

  • This trip involves walking on uneven ground for multiple hours, and a 1.5 hour hike (each way) without bathrooms (lots of bushes though!).

  • Please note that you'll need to carry your own luggage up and down stairs at hotels and across cobblestone.

  • The longest drive will be a little over 3 hours, with breaks.

  • Wifi is available in all locations but connection may be weak.

  • Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated if you let us know well in advance.

Our travelers are generally 35 - 55 years old but we also get adventurers into their 70's or 80's!

The Important Details

Active travelers who want to access authentic

Italy without the logistics.

Who is this trip for?


MAY 21 - 29, 2022

Starting from $3199 USD per person

Mysteries of Matera No Dates.jpg

4-Day Extension Option

Can't get enough? Extend your trip for 4 days

in Matera, the cave city carved from stone!


My Creative Edge trip was like no other. Small group travel is the way to go! No huge buses! Just unique experiences that you would never get in a large travel group. It felt like a friend was showing me around to her local friends places. Was the best trip I have ever done!!

-Robin Paulus, California

Secrets of Southern Italy + Mysteries of Matera, May 2019


We experienced the most amazing time and trip through Italy with our tour guide, Sierra. Talking to the Italians and hearing their life stories as they shared their strong love for their city and their country. Matera is the third oldest city in the world and to hear the history of their beginning to now as the generations of the families share their knowledge and their personal experience. I can go on and on. It was an exceptional trip to Italy where we became immersed with the local people who shared so much of their heritage with us besides seeing the cities' historical landmarks. If you want to see Italy in a deeper and personal way, along with the landmarks, I highly recommend you booking Creative Edge Travel with Sierra as your guide.


-Marty Darling, Secrets of Southern Italy + Mysteries of Matera


Experiences based on authentic connection with locals and their home.  

At Creative Edge Travel, we believe every journey should be meaningful. It should teach you about the authentic local culture and a bit about yourself, too. That's why we push the boundaries of the typical Italian tour and add our own creative edge. We design our experiences with individual locals in off-the-beaten-path places to give you a culturally-immersive adventure. Each activity is an opportunity to learn about both the beauty and the challenges of everyday life in Italy. Whether it's exploring a village with a local grandpa as he shares his stories growing up there, or learning traditional music and dance at a historic masseria, expect a deeper travel experience.


 Want more details? We love to talk about our trips!

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