Friends In Puglia
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About our workshops

Workshops are five day experiences that provide an immersion in Pugliese culture along with a learning element - either in photography, art or food.

It would not be a Friends in Puglia experience without immersing you in the rhythm of Southern Italian life.  Days are structured but with a relaxed pace, allowing for both discovery and down time.  This facilitates both those who want to spend all day doing art or cooking, and those who want to have part of the day unscheduled. Because of the flexibility, workshops work well both for those traveling alone or with family and friends - there is plenty to do for partners who are not participating in the workshop!

Our group sizes are small - ten people maximum - and we are personally present orchestrating every departure. This ensures our ability to be flexible, provide very personalized instruction, and enable each participant to have the experience they desire.

 

Culinary

 

The Original Farm To Table Experience.

Our culinary workshops are a combination of interactive preparation, wine selection and intimate conversations with local chefs that will leave you with a deep appreciation and understanding of the cuisine and culture of Puglia.

We think it is important to not just learn recipes but understand the building blocks of the cuisine.  That is why we spend equal time in the kitchen preparing food as we do out exploring what makes it so unique - we will make pasta in a small family trattoria, see how olive oil is produced at a centuries-old olive mill, and learn how to make (and eat!) fresh mozzarella.  Each venue and host has been selected to share recipes and traditions unique to each meal.  

It would not be a Friends in Puglia experience without immersing you in the rhythm of Southern Italian life.  Days are structured but with a relaxed pace, allowing for both discovery and down time.

Why Puglia?

Puglia is the breadbasket of Italy with fertile soil, mediterranean sun, surrounded by water on three sides, and over 60 million olive trees. Pugliese cuisine is marked by an abundance of vegetables - grilled and simply dressed with olive oil, or simmered to perfection in pasta sauce.  The region is also known for fresh made mozzarella, burrata and goat cheeses from the rocky inland murgia.  The landscape is dotted with Masserie, fortified farmhouses from the days when pirates roamed the coastlines, where meat, cheeses and vegetables are all produced on site for the ultimate “farm to table” experience.   To top it off, the full flavored tomatoes and peppery olive oils are complemented a juicy, well structured Primitivo wine that traces its lineage from the Phoenicians, while a crisp rose of Negro Amaro goes perfectly with fish eaten al fresco with a view of the sea.

Our Base: Monopoli

The bustling port town of Monopoli is the perfect home base for our workshop.  Staying within the walls of the old city you can relax into a daily routine, wandering the pedestrian streets and alleyways to enjoy an espresso or aperitivo on one of the hidden piazzas, or sitting among the fisherman on the old port.  A two minute walk outside the town walls takes you to the beach with turquoise water, and on your way back home you can stop at one of the best gelaterias in all of Italy (we don’t say that lightly).

A sample day in our culinary workshop:

  • After breakfast, meet to go to a local farmhouse for a tour of the gardens and olive groves, followed by a cooking class by the owner and lunch of what we have created.

  • Afternoon free to explore or just relax at the beach or in the piazza.

  • Early evening aperitivo wine tasting and local cheese pairing with Sommelier.

  • Dinner on your own (if you are still hungry!), we have recommendations and three nights we will all cook and eat dinner together.

What is included:

  • All transportation to and from cooking classes and cultural events.

  • Three lunches and three dinners (beverages & wine included).

  • One aperitivo (wine, light appetizers).

  • Instruction and cultural tours.

  • Support and recommendations to ensure you fully enjoy your time in Puglia.

  • Accommodations are NOT included in the price.

Accommodations:

Accommodations are not included in the price. Why? There is such a variety of accommodations available in the old town of Monopoli and we want to ensure each guest gets what they want and need. Some people prefer an Airbnb with a kitchen, others prefer a five star hotel with a pool . Once you book the workshop we will help you book the right accommodation for you.

Price:

$1800 per person

Dates:

All dates require arrival to Monopoli by 4pm on the Sunday. Workshop ends after breakfast on the Friday.

April 28th - May 3rd, 2019

May 12th - 17th, 2019

September 8th - 13th, 2019

September 22nd - 27th 2019

 

Photography

 

Puglia is the perfect backdrop for taking spectacular photos.

Puglia provides a stunning array of visual inspiration: spectacular ever changing seascapes and dramatic gnarled ancient olive trees; whitewashed villages framed by cerulean skies; baroque architecture and local artisans who are proud to have their crafts photographed.  Illuminating all of it is the rarified light that strikes the landscape differently throughout the day.

In our Photography Workshops you hone your skills while being inspired by the landscapes and people of Puglia.  With world-class instruction and an immersion in the local culture, you improve techniques, produce evocative photos, and have the vacation of a lifetime.

A sample day in our photography workshop:

  • After breakfast, meet for four hours of instruction and shooting.  Location is different every day in order to maximize opportunity to learn on that day’s focus area.

  • Lunch, included, often on location and with a cultural or learning aspect.

  • Afternoons free to continue shooting, explore, or just relax at the beach or in the piazza.

  • Early evening meeting for critique over aperitivo.

  • Dinner on your own, we have recommendations and one night of the week we will all eat dinner together.

What is included:

  • All transportation to and from shooting locations and cultural events.

  • Three lunches and one dinner (beverages & wine included).

  • Four night’s aperitivo (wine, light appetizers).

  • Instruction, critiques, 1:1 session with teacher.

  • Support and recommendations to ensure you fully enjoy your time in Puglia.

  • Accommodations are NOT included for the photography workshop.

Accommodations:

Accommodations are not included in the price. Why? There is such a variety of accommodations available in the old town of Monopoli and we want to ensure each guest gets what they want and need. Some people prefer an Airbnb with a kitchen, others prefer a five star hotel with a pool . Once you book the workshop we will help you book the right accommodation for you.

Instructor:

Marco Odorino is from Puglia, but frequently travels all over Italy and to California to shoot. He has a successful wedding photography business, but his passion and background are broad and his approach to photography is simple: to be present to capture the natural essence of everyday life focussing on details that help make and image unique.  His teaching style is personal, fun and engaging and we are fortunate to have an instructor who has intimate knowledge of the Pugliese landscape and people as well as impeccable english language and teaching skills.

Price:

$1800 per person

Dates:

All dates require arrival to Monopoli by 4pm on the Sunday. Workshop ends after breakfast on the Friday.

May 5th - 10th, 2019

September 15th - 20th, 2019

Equipment and Skill Level:

This is a DSLR photography workshop. Because of the small group size, we can customize to many skill levels, but require at least intermediate knowledge of DSLR. You are welcome to bring your computer, but it is not required.

 

artisan workshop

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From Ancient to Modern

For this workshop we are based in Basilicata, a region that is relatively untouched by tourism and modernization, where traditional methods thrive. In this unique workshop our guide is an exceptional local art historian who shows us the ancient roots of art in the region, as well as introducing us to current day Artisans who teach us how they use local traditions in their craft. We will get hands on and learn their techniques. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and an opportunity to engage in local traditions before they disappear.

Highlights:

  • Spend three nights in Matera and the surrounding countryside. Our guide has exclusive access to ancient cave-churches where we will view art only rarely seen by tourists.

  • Spend time at a painter’s atelier and have aperitivo on his terrace overlooking the valley that inspires his creations.

  • Learn the ancient art of Alta Mura bread making and make bread in the traditional way in a kiln that has been used for centuries.

  • Create a paper mache piece, taught by a famous local artisan who uses the centuries old technique.

What is included:

  • Five nights accommodations with breakfast.

  • All transportation to and from all locations and cultural events.

  • Three lunches and three dinners (beverages & wine included).

  • Professional guide and access to artisan workshops.

  • Support and recommendations to ensure you fully enjoy your time in Puglia.

Price:

$2,250 per person, single occupancy supplement $250.

Dates:

May 19th - 24th, 2019

September 29th - October 4th, 2019