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Small Group  |  Off the Beaten Path  | Authentic & Immersive



5 - 7 total






May 25 - June 2,


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



  • Who are these trips for?
    From solo travelers to groups of friends, our small groups of 7 travelers are made of all ages (above 18) and enjoy becoming a little community as we slurp through plates of pasta and laugh trying to pronounce Italian words. Our guests understand that travel in Italy can hold unexpected surprises and they’re up for going with the flow, trusting that we know the best place to be at any moment. They’re open-minded, love trying new things, and are accustomed to toeing the boundaries of their comfort zone for the rewarding experiences that lay just outside it. Our trips attract those who appreciate creativity and the arts, nature, meeting locals, and seeing things outside the guidebook that might not be luxurious but are authentic and genuine. All ages above 18 are welcome and we encourage the cross-generational exchange that occurs. A strong effort is made to make everyone feel part of the group no matter what age, sex, gender, sexual preference, or hair-do! Our off-the-beaten-path, immersive and laid-back travel style isn’t for everyone. If you're not sure let's chat about it!
  • How are Creative Edge Travel trips different from other tours?
    In comparing countless other trips, the #1 thing we have that others don't is our people-focused approach to bring you into the lives of locals. Imagine lingering over a homecooked meal in a local family's home with sweeping views and meaningful conversation about both the beauty and the challenges within their daily lives. We go beyond the typical tourist sites to create experiences around the passions of our local friends and add our own creative edge to assure it’s something meaningful and special. We don’t just plan trips, we design special moments around people. In addition, we lead a maximum of 6 trips per year. That means, for example, that a local who hosts a dinner during the trip does it only twice a year instead of twice a week like other tour companies. In this way, the experience remains coming from a place of passion and cultural exchange rather than simply a job. We also invite our local friends to join us here and there along the way so that travelers have an opportunity to interact with locals in a casual setting instead of always having them up on a pedestal.
  • What's included?
    Inclusions depend on your specific trip and you should check the trip details for an accurate listing. However, the following items are generally included with the cost of the trip: ​ -All accommodations incl all taxes & fees -Meals as listed in your trip documents, there will always be some meals not included (we believe scoping out your own hole-in-the-wall is part of the experience!) -Wine at included lunches and dinners -Arrival/Departure transportation & private driver for the duration of the trip -All activities, workshops, and visits -Tips for Guides and Drivers -24/7 Trip Leader -Professional Flight Booking Assistance -Carbon Footprint Offset -Pre-Trip Prep: Culture and language lessons (optional), arrival/departure advice, packing tips, and additional resources to fully connect with what you'll experience on the trip!
  • What's not included?
    Exclusions depend on your specific trip and you should check the trip details for an accurate listing. However, the following are generally not included with the cost of the trip. ​ ​Flights (We can help you find the best flights for your trip dates, free of charge!) Some meals (We believe scoping out your own hole-in-the-wall is part of the experience.) Incidental expenses (Air conditioning may cost extra but it is unlikely that it will be needed.) Mandatory travel insurance Optional guide, driver, and hotel gratuity
  • What are the accommodations like?
    The B&B's we partner with are comfortable but you shouldn’t expect the same standards you’re used to back home. For example, air conditioning is not standard in Italy and may be an extra charge. We look for accommodations that offer something special- an artistic flair, really unique history, family-feel, or a breathtaking setting, for example. ​ If you're traveling on your own, you'll have a single room to yourself (no sharing). If you're traveling with someone, you'll have a double bed to share. We’ve worked hard to pick unique accommodations that have a creative vibe and something special about them. We know you'll love them!
  • Where is the meeting point and how do I get there?
    Please check you trip specifics. Generally, we'll provide 2 - 3 transfers throughout the day from the airport to our first B&B and return you to the airport in the morning on the day of departure.
  • What is the cost of the trip?
    Please check your particular trip for pricing. ​ Prices are per person and in USD, unless expressed otherwise.
  • How much is needed to secure my spot?
    You don't need to pay the total cost of the trip up front. However, when you sign up for the trip, you have to pay a deposit to secure your spot. The remainder is due 60 days before trip start date and can be scheduled in 2 payments.
  • How do I register?
    To register for a trip, all you need to do is apply by filling out a simple form. We'll then have a chat so we can be sure the trip is a good fit for you and to answer any questions you may have. Once approved, we will send you the link where you can register and pay your deposit to secure your spot!
  • I have to cancel the trip. Will I get a refund?
    Our trips are carefully budgeted for 7 participants. This means we have to adhere to a strict Cancellation Policy in order to maintain cost effectiveness for everyone. However, we require you to purchase travel insurance in an effort to provide some protection from potential losses should you need to cancel*. COVID-19 Amendment If you or Creative Edge Travel cancel your trip due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Italy or in your home country: *If you booked a custom trip, you can change trip dates within one year, permitted that the itinerary we've planned doesn't change. Otherwise additional planning fees will apply. ​ **If you booked a custom trip, the planning fee is non-refundable. If you cancel for any reason other than what is listed above, your cancellation will be subject to the full Terms & Conditions. Here's a synopsis: *If you booked a custom trip, you can change trip dates within one year, permitted that the itinerary we've planned doesn't change. Otherwise additional planning fees will apply.​ **There is a cancellation fee up to $300. If any non-refundable elements were booked for your trip, those amounts will be deducted from your refund. If you booked a custom trip or added an extension to a group trip, the Custom Trip Planning Fee is non-refundable. *It is up to you to make sure your travel insurance policy includes trip cancellation coverage. Click here for Travel Insurance info.
  • How much money do you suggest we bring for the things that aren't included?
    The amount of money you bring to cover expenses that aren't included in the cost of the trip is totally up to you. To give you an idea, a sandwich is about 3 - 6 euros while a plate of pasta is about 7 - 15 euros. If you add an appetizer, wine, and dessert, you're looking at 35 - 45 euros per person. Tipping is not mandatory nor expected in Italy.
  • Do you book flights?
    We have a flight expert who can search the best fare for you and book them, free of charge.
  • Do you sell travel insurance?
    We do not sell travel insurance. We recommend you contact our partners at VisitorsCoverage who will be happy to help you compare plans and find what you need. Please click here for our guidance on travel insurance!
  • Do I need a visa to visit Italy?
    The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport but it's very important that you check before you travel. ​ U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa. Participants must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond date of departure from the Schengen area and at least two blank pages. You'll need to send us a scan of your passport 60 days before departure. Participants should check the Department of State website for up-to-date travel information and advisories.
  • I don't speak Italian, how can I connect with locals?"
    We do not require participants to be able to speak Italian as exchanges with locals often happen in more subtle ways than just verbally. However, before the trip, we will be sending you resources related to Italian language and culture to help you get the basics under your belt. You are not required to study Italian before your trip, but it will help you have a more meaningful experience. Our trip leader will be there 24/7 to communicate with locals, should you need it. In addition, most of our partners speak English!
  • Do you have suggested list of items for us to bring?
    What you should pack depends on the season and region you'll be visiting. Your trip leader will send you suggestions before your trip. You can check out our blog posts about packing: How to Pack for a Spring Trip to Tuscany How to Organize Your Suitcase for Stress-Free Travel
  • Can the itinerary change from what I've booked?
    Your itinerary is a base itinerary, which is subject to minor changes due to closure, festivals, weather, or unexpected events. Additionally, the itinerary is prepared well in advance, and at times there are unexpected closures for various reasons that require us to alter the plans. In the end, our goal is always to bring our guests unique experiences, and when substitutions happen, they are always wonderful!
  • How do your trips support positive change in the world?
    At Creative Edge Travel, we believe in the power of cultural experiences to transform lives. That's why we donate a portion of our proceeds to Global Glimpse. Global Glimpse is a non-profit organization that helps diverse high school students complete community projects in the developing world. Read about them here. ​ We also believe our impact on this earth should be light. At checkout, we offer the option to offset your carbon footprint through the Nature Conservancy's carbon offset program, helping fund forest conservation, improved forest management or reforestation projects that produce measurable climate benefits.

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 $3899 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 25 - June 2, 2024

Sold Out!

Starting from $3899 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!

Click below to schedule a call!

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