We will meet you at the Polignano a Mare train station at a predetermined time. If you choose, we can provide optional shuttles from and to the Bari or Brindisi airport or train station for an additional fee. We will transfer you to your first accommodation and you will have a briefing and we will custom fit you to your bikes. We will provide you with exceptional maps and route notes to help you navigate your way along the countryside and find special hidden gems to stop, explore, and dine. Your lodging is in the beautiful cliff top town of Poligano a Mare. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening, but we recommend you take a stroll around town to sample the famous ice-cream and granite of Polignano!
Day 2: Cycling: Polignano-San Vito –Conversano –Turi loop Approx 60km
For your first ride, you will embark on a charming route along stunning the Adriatic coastline from Polignano a Mare to the picturesque village of San Vito, with its multi-coloured boats moored up in the tiny port, You will continue through the olive groves to the sleepy, beautiful town of Conversano, set in the hills with its rambling alleyways and sun-baked piazza dominated by the Norman castle and Romanesque cathedral. Our journey then takes us up to Turi, the cherry capital of Southern Italy – if you are here in May you can enjoy an abundance of fresh ruby cherries to help you on your ride. To finish there is a gorgeous descent looking out across the Adriatic Sea and back into vibrant Polignano, wow what a day!
Day 3: Cycling: Polignano-Castellana Grotte-Putignano-Alberobello Approx 60km
Today, you will leave Polignano and climb to the stunning cave complex of Castellana Grotte. Tours in English are held at 11am and are well worth the time to see the intricate stalactites and stalacmites. From Castellana you pedal through rolling countryside savouring the sweet aroma of mint that grows by the roadside and stop to enjoy the little towns of Putignano and Noci, with their characteristic whitewashed houses and narrow alleyways. Our destination is Alberobello with its plethora of unique trulli houses, the most famous architectural symbol for which this region is known. Here your lodging for the night is in your very own trullo so you can enjoy the magical experience of sleeping under the iconic cones.
Day 4: Cycling: Alberobello-Locorotondo-Martina Franca-Ceglie Messapica approx 50km
Before leaving Alberobello, take some time to taste a few local products or maybe visit the museo del territorio to discover the history of this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our cycling today takes us deep into the Itria Valley to visit stunning Locorotondo – nicknamed “città del vino” for its excellent dry white spumante (sparkling) wine made from local Verdeca grapes. Here in Locorotondo, meander the atmospheric alleyways bedecked with geraniums and citrus plants. Continue on to Martina Franca – a must-see town for its marvellously intact historic centre, beautiful Baroque architecture, and stunning palazzi; a jewel splendidly positioned on the hillside with wonderful panoramic views across the Itria Valley. From here we head to Ceglie Messapica, your home for the next two nights. This town is famed for its gastronomy and has a charming historical center that you are bound to in love with! Dinner included.
Day 5: Cycling: Ceglie Messapica-Ostuni-Carovigno loop approx 42Km
Today you embark on a circular bike ride to Carovigno and the famous “White City” of Ostuni. This ride will take you along rolling country roads lined with ancient stone walls within the fertile Itria Valley. Along the ride, we recommend you stop at the sanctuary of St. Maria del Belvedere, a beautiful historic landmark that must be viewed. When you arrive in Ostuni you can explore the beautiful white cobbles of the old town and enjoy a delicious lunch in one of the town’s many excellent restaurants. Don’t leave without visiting the elegant 14th century Cathedral! From Ostuni we ride back to Ceglie Messapica, where your rich day will surely be rewarded with a final night’s rest at the Masseria.
Day 6: Cycling: Ceglie Messapica-Cisternino-Eganzia-Monopoli Approx 55km with and additional loop of 35km
As you progress to Cisternino, one of the most lovely and chic hilltop towns in Puglia, you will soak in sweeping views of the Itria Valley below and see firsthand why this town is starting to gain some serious international repute. After progressing over some rolling hills to the edge of the plateau, you will enjoy panoramic views of the Adriatic coastline and the lower fertile plains. From here we head through the tiny towns until we reach the outskirts of Monopoli and your accommodation for the night, the family owned Tenuta Chianchizza. A further optional loop takes you back to the coast and to the fascinating Bronze Age and Roman Ruins of Egnazia. Dinner is included tonight.
After breakfast, you will depart for your flight home or next destination.
Your adventure begins in the UNESCO site of Matera, the city of artists. Only recently seen by foreign eyes after a period of abandonment, Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the fascinating “Sassi”. The sassi have been restored in recent times and are now used as shops, homes, restaurants, and hotels. Discover the intriguing secrets and stories of this extraordinary town as you walk around and explore the area. Our Italian representative will meet you for a bike fitting and tour orientation.
Day 2: San Giuliano Loop 45km/28mi and Montescaglioso Loop 60km/37mi
Today you have two options. The San Giuliano is the shorter where you head to the San Giuliano oasis, under the protection of the Italian branch of the World Wildlife Foundation. The preserve covers about 1000 hectares and includes the San Giuliano Dam (which was built in the 1950s and was Basilicata’s first artificial basin) as well as the Bradano River Ravine.
The other option is to Montescaglioso. The route leads to Montescaglioso, home of a powerful and prestigious abbey which once controlled a huge swath of surrounding land. The major climb into Montescaglioso is worth it for the opportunity to visit this enchanting little village where time seems to have
stopped. The ride back to Matera can be challenging.
Day 3: Cycling: Matera – Alberobello (70km)
Your ride today takes in stark terrain, with wide open spaces and lots of farm land. After approx. 15km you will leave the region of Basilicata and enter Puglia. The route takes you through Gioia del Colle where we can visit the impressive Norman Castle which dates back to the 9th century. Alternatively you can bike to a prestigious winery. From there you head towards Noci, a well-heeled town known for its mushroom festival. As you head deeper into the area known as the Itria Valley you will arrive at the Trulli Capital, Alberobello and check into your next lodging.
Day 4: Cycling: Alberobello-Locorotondo-Martina Franca- Pezze di Greco approx. 45 km
This route goes deep into the Itria Valley and includes some the oldest and most beautifully “trullo” countryside in the whole of Puglia. This morning, approximately 7km outside of Alberobello you can stop at a local farm for an insider’s look at burrata cheese-making. This fresh cheese is the wildly indulgent cousin of mozzarella cheese and is native to Puglia. During your visit you will have the opportunity to sample the cheese made this morning – you will never taste fresher than this! Afterwards you will head straight to Martina Franca for lunch – a must-see town for its marvelously intact historic center, beautiful Baroque architecture, and stunning palazzi; a jewel splendidly positioned on the hillside with wonderful panoramic views across the Itria Valley. You will spend 2 nights at this special Masseria.
Day 5: Cycling: Savelletri-Cisternino-Ostuni loop (62km)
Today you can choose to make this a rest day or ride a loop. If you choose to ride, the morning begins with a lovely climb into the chic and beautiful hilltop town of Cisternino, where you will enjoy sweeping views of the Itria Valley. You will have time for a coffee or gelato to recharge your batteries before continuing your lovely ride along the ridge to La Città Bianca (the white city) of Ostuni, a stunning hilltop jewel with breathtaking sea views. In Ostuni, you will have many options for a delicious lunch including the opportunity to sample one of many preparations of the ubiquitous orecchiette (little ear- shaped) pasta.
Day 6: Cycling: Squinzano-Otranto (70km)
After a lovely last breakfast at Masseria Salamina you will head to Fasano station and get the train to Squinzano, the starting point for an amazing day of cycling through the stark and contrasting beauty of the Salento area, home to Puglia’s best wines. With the warm sun overhead and the sea almost always in view, this is one of the coolest days to be on a bike! You can stop for a swim at one of the amazing beaches along the route before hopping back on our bikes and continuing your journey. You can also stop in the famous castle city of Acaya for a walk around and local lunch. Your destination is the ancient city of Otranto, a must-see that’s one part beach resort, one part Middle Eastern, many parts Italian, and every part enjoyable!
Day 7: Cycling: Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca (55 km)
Breathtaking sea views, natural hot springs, hills, and pine forests make this one of Italy’s most memorable rides. You will ride down to Santa Maria di Leuca, which the Romans called Finnibus terrae (the end of the earth). Here you can stand on the southernmost point of Puglia and gaze out to the inviting sea. We will arrange a shuttle back to the hotel.
Day 8: Cycling: Otranto to Lecce (40 km)
Today, you will head down to the wonderful town of Lecce, known as the Florence of the South. You will find the terrain is mostly flat, passing among endless olive orchards. Your ride will lead you through the small enchanting villages of Borgagne, Melendugno, Castri’ di Lecce e Lizzanello… all villages in which time seems to have stopped. So, be sure to stop and smell the olives. Your final hotel destination, is a special accommodation in Lecce. You will have plenty of time to explore the city in the afternoon.
Day 9: Departure
Tour ends after breakfast. You will depart for your flight home or next destination. We are sure that your time in this region will have changed your life for the better, as it has all of ours!