It is a journey divided into two segments. The first part is dedicated to Puglia, in particular to the territory of the “Salento,” of the D’itria valley, and of the Murgia Appulo-Lucane. The program includes an extension to the neighboring Basilicata region, with Matera. It is a journey designed for tourists that are more attentive to the territory, to relaxation to culture and history. The tour starts and ends in Brindisi, the road to the East since the time of the Caesars. Brindisi, Roman province in the period of the Empire, final destination of the oldest road in Europe, the “Appia” road. And it is in this direction, on the North Western axis that will initially turn the journey, in the territory of the nearby Itria valley. Luxuriant, with its rolling hills, the Mediterranean vegetation, the centuries-old olive trees that saw the passage of the Roman legions, of Frederick II, who lived most of his life in these lands, of the Crusaders who from Brindisi boarded the Holy Land. The Murge, rugged and wild, with the gravine (canyons) among the most important in Italy. Characteristic towns, the White Ostuni, Alberobello, Unesco heritage and then Matera which has its roots in the Palaeolithic and is experiencing one of the most flourishing cultural moments of its history. Fascinated by the landscape with its Norman-Swabian influences, the route reverses, and goes on to South East and will we start to enjoy a territory rich in Hellenistic influences.
We reach now the South-Salento, called “the Greece of Salento,” once the territory of Magna Graecia, with towns where ancient Greek is still spoken and whose name leaves no doubts about its origin. Castrignano dei Greci, Patù, Kalimera. Starting from Lecce with its Baroque architecture, passing through Otranto with the troubled history of the invasions suffered over the centuries, and then Santa Maria di Leuca, “the end of the lands” with its promontory, a watershed between the two seas. This territory that will satisfy the most demanding palates for many reasons, in particular for its food and wine excellence. This land could give birth to native vines such as Primitivo, Aleatico, Nero di Troia, Malvasia, Negramaro, Susumaniello. Tables set with products from the area and the sea, wines, oils, and Greek music will be the right frame of our journey, the end of which, in Brindisi, will be the perfect springboard to jump across the Adriatic and continue with the week in Greece. Our legs will now be tonic and our enthusiasm at the top.
Day 1: Brindisi.
Arrival in Brindisi. Accommodation in hotel. Warming up and bike assembly. In the afternoon you can enter a short bike test tour, reaching a beach for an “inaugural dive.”
Dinner and overnight stay
Day 2: Brindisi – Alberobello
After leaving the hotel, we will travel to the Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto, on partly dirt roads, counted by the European Community as the “Path of Secular Olive Trees.” We will cross the small agricultural village of Serranova, then the town of Carovigno and then reach the hilltop town of Ostuni, known as the “White City,” for the characteristic color of its buildings in Tufo. After a short stop for a visit to the historic center, we will continue towards North West towards the town of Cisternino, then Locorotondo. We have now entered the territory of the Valle d’Itria, with its green hills, its olive groves, and above all the characteristic rural buildings in the shape of “Trullo,” which we can admire along the way. Today’s destination is the town of Alberobello, true homeland of the “Trulli,” whose ancient quarter has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
Dinner and overnight stay
Distance: about 80 km
Day 3: Alberobello-Matera.
Through uncrowded provincial roads, some municipal roads mainly used for agricultural purposes, we will reach, after about 80 km, the marvelous city of Matera, better known as “La città dei Sassi.” It is about its two old neighborhoods, inhabited since the Paleolithic age, made up of rock dwellings carved into the rock. Due to its uniqueness, the city has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and voted for the 2019 European Capital of Culture. To reach it, we will cross part of the Barese and Matera highlands, known as “Murge Pugliesi and Materane,” a karstic area rich in Mediterranean vegetation. Noci, Gioia del Colle, famous for the artisan production of Mozzarelle, will be some of the villages we will meet along the way.
Dinner and overnight stay
Distance: 80 km
Day 4: Martina Franca
A journey of about 80 km, crossing the most rugged part of the “Murge,” on the border between the two regions, Basilicata and Puglia, passing through the famous Gravine di Puglia (deep canyons) will allow us to reach one of the most beautiful villages in the area. Martina Franca, located on a hill about 430 meters above sea level, home to an important Baroque festival, with its charming old town made of white lanes, converging in the main square, once the town’s market.
Distance: 80 km
Day 5: Martina Franca-Lecce.
Today, we will leave the hills of the Itria valley, with its ups and downs, to return to the Adriatic coast, passing through pretty agricultural villages such as Ceglie Messapica, San Michele Salentino. After about 50 km we will reach the Marine Park of Torre Guaceto where we will stop for an unforgettable swim in one of the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic Sea. From here we will move by public transport to Lecce, our final destination of the day. Afternoon at leisure for visiting the city, much appreciated for the Baroque architecture of its historic center.
Distance: about 50 km by bike and 40 by van
Overnight: Hotel, dinner included
Day 6: Lecce-Otranto.
Today’s stage includes the beautiful fortified town of Otranto as its final destination. Much has been written about its vicissitudes, the many assaults from the sea suffered by local populations over the centuries by Bizantini, Turchi, Ottomans. (we recommend reading the book by Italian writer Roberto Cotroneo “Otranto”). From Lecce to reach the destination, we will head towards the Adriatic coast. We will coast the sea southwards, we will meet beautiful places like Torre dell’Orso. Pedaling, we can explore the Orient, where, on the horizon, it is sometimes possible to glimpse the Albanian coasts. The Maritime Lighthouse further east of Italy called the Palascia, one of the five Italian lighthouses protected by the European Community, located south of the town, will signal the end of our bike ride today
Distance: 50 km
Day 7: Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca.
No doubt this is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in Italy. We will travel to fascinating places. In the neighborhood of Porto Badisco there is one of the oldest remains of human settlements in Europe, the famous Grotta dei Cervi. The village of Castro, with its small and characteristic fishing port; the cave of the “zinzulusa”; Tricase with its bridge (ciolo), among the most photographed places on the coast. Finally, the white Santa Maria di Leuca, “finibusterrae,” watershed of the two seas, the Ionian and the Adriatic, our destination today, after about 50 km. From Leuca a van transfer is planned to Brindisi, final destination of the trip. From Brindisi, in the evening we will take a ferry to Greece, for those who want to continue eastwards for the second week of our trip. For those who will stop here, hotel accommodation instead of the ferry boat trip.
Distance: 50 km
Protected Marine Area Torre Guaceto, Serranova Agricultural Village, Carovigno, Ostuni, Locorotondo, Alberobello, Matera, Martina Franca, Lecce, Torre dell'Orso, Otranto, Porto Badisco, Castro, Tricase, Santa Maria di Leuca.
About 500 km (in 6 pedaling stages), mainly asphalt, short stretches of dirt road. Some transfers with support van are planned.
20°C - 30°C (68°F - 86°F).
Mariano Lorefice and another local leader/driver.
We recommend a hybrid bike, mountain bike with road tires or gravel. The bike can be rented in Brindisi for € 150
Required a minimum of 5 persons. With less than 5 persons the cost would increase.
- Accommodations: always in good level hotels
- 7 nights with breakfast, 6 dinners
- 6 lunches such as sandwich, fruit, and water or meals in local restaurants (first course or salad and mineral water)
- Transfers with a support van
- a free dinner, extra drinks, entry to archaeological sites, unplanned visits and possible guide service in archaeological sites.