Benvenuti (Italian for welcome!) to Puglia, the “heel” of Italy. Also known as the “Vegetable Garden” of the Italian Peninsula, it is a region rich in flavors and history that has seen many empires seize control, from the Greeks to the Romans, Barbarians to Normans, French and Spanish to the present day with the united Italy.
This cycling tour includes the must-to-see places of Puglia, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello. Other highlights include the city of Lecce, famous for its Baroque buildings, the towns of Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, and the quaint villages of Locorotondo, Cisternino and Otranto named one of “the most beautiful villages in Italy” (i borghi più belli d’Italia, a designation established in 2001 with the aim of preserving and maintaining villages of quality heritage).
Puglia is 250 miles long, stretching from north to southeast, and about 40 miles wide. Almost two-thirds are surrounded by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, hence it offers miles of coastline as well as natural reserves and countryside.
True to its nickname, the garden of Italy, you will be amazed by the variety of local recipes featuring fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruits, local fish and meat, mozzarella cheese, homemade pasta and all the simple ingredients of the world famous, UNESCO protected, healthy Mediterranean Diet.
Dotting the countryside are masserie (traditional fortified farms offering accommodation and food). This region is famous for its native grapes such as Negroamaro and Primitivo that you can find in full-bodied earthy reds from the Salento area, and Verdeca and Bianco di Alessano enjoyed in crispy whites from Locorotondo. Olive oil is another distinctive and important ingredient in the Pugliese cuisine, locally produced from trees that, in some cases, are centuries old!
Come get swept away in the Mediterranean magic and warm atmosphere with a full immersion into the local culture. What are you waiting for? Ti aspettiamo! (We are waiting for you!) A presto! (See you soon!)
CYCLING TOUR IN PUGLIA
TOUR DATES AND PRICES
Minimum of 8 participants, maximum of 14, with a maximum guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 8
DATES (7 days)
September 21-27, 2019 | May 23-29, 2020 | October 10-16, 2020
For more info, other dates and availability please contact us.
Per person in double occupancy: from $3,790 to $4,190
(this tour will feature 4-star hotels, renovated masserie and trulli. Tour price will vary depending on group size)
Single Supplement: $690
In addition, we pledge to donate more than 1% of your trip price to food literacy and environmental non profit organizations
- Discover the UNESCO site of the Trulli of Alberobello
- Tastings of regional Slow Food Presidia and visits to local wine, olive oil, biscuit and cheese makers
- Experience the authentic Mediterranean Diet through local traditional cuisine featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients and learn more about local recipes
- Enjoy some of the best reds of Italy, Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes, two indigenous varieties of the Salento area
- Relax in unique, elegant masseria or 4-star hotels distinctively representing the local cultures and traditions
- Delve into history, traditions and culture in this unique area of south of Italy
- Exhilarating rides in the tranquil countryside inland, at times surrounded by century-old olive oil trees or a natural reserve by the sea
Explore by bicycle the UNESCO site of Alberobello in Puglia, and visit with local wine, olive oil, bread and cheese makers. Overnight in renovated farms, locally called masserie offering accommodations and food, and in trulli, typical conic-shape dwellings completely refurbished.
Visit with local wine, olive oil, bread and cheese makers and indulge on the local Mediterranean cuisine for a full immersion intp the southern Italian culture.
Come with us to discover this beautiful region: buon appetito and buon viaggio!
If you prefer to arrive the day before please let us know and we will help you organize your pre night at the same hotel used on tour, and early transfer from Brindisi airport at additional price. This is recommended just to allow you more time to settle in and get ready for the tour.
Cycling Route Info on day 1: Main Route: 22mi/480ft of elevation gain | Extra loop adds: 11mi/180ft
Cycling Route Info on day 2: Main Route 42mi/1100ft | Extra loop adds: 9mi/180ft or more!
Fly to Brindisi Airport and join us for a 45-mins group transfer to our accommodation for the next two nights: a masseria (an old fortified farm offering accommodation and food) in the Salento area. Check in and relax before meeting your guide for a light lunch and introduction to the tour. Later, we enjoy a warm up ride to the medieval village of Acaja with its Spanish fortress, then a walk with the owner around the masseria, which is also an educational farm and olive oil producer.
Highlights here include the World Wildlife Fund managed Natural Reserve of Le Cesine by the sea, the white-washed sea town of Otranto with its Aragonese fortress and the cathedral dating back to 11th C. and the elegant city of Lecce, capital of Salento and famous for its Baroque buildings. In terms of local recipes, be sure not to miss the typical sandwich from Salento area called “puccia” (derived from the word pouch) sliced and stuffed with different local ingredients such as spinach, cheese and cured meat.
Cycling Route Info on day 3: Main Route: 39mi/600ft | Extra loop adds: 13mi/250ft or more!
Cycling Route Info on day 4: Main Route: 46mi/1300ft | Extra loop adds: 14mi/750ft or more!
Today we leave the Salento area, famous for its native grapes such as Negroamaro and Primitivo, which we’ve been enjoying in full-bodied earthy reds, and move inland, arriving at the charmingly walkable town of Mesagne, named for a local tribe, the Messapi, with a castle dating to the 11th century. Mesagne became an important center in Roman times, given its location on the Appian way (one of the most important connections between Rome and southern Italy).
Highlights on these days include a mozzarella-making demo and tasting with a local expert casaro (cheese-maker in Italian), visit to a local winery in Salice Salentino, and our loop ride to the hilltop gem of Ostuni, a collection of whitewashed structures that glitter when the sun strikes them, perched to afford views out over a seemingly endless sea of silvery olive trees and the sparkling Adriatic beyond. Inhabited since the Stone Age, it was built without a plan, as its labyrinthine web of streets clearly illustrates.
Cycling Route Info on day 5: Main Route: 41mi/1950ft | Extra loop adds: 13mi/850ft or more!
Cycling Route Info on day 6: Main Route: 26mi/700ft | Extra loop adds: 14mi/750ft or more!
From Mesagne we ride to picturesque Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site quintessentially representing Puglia with its distinctive conic-shape dwellings called trulli. For two nights, we have the chance to overnight in our own trulli, (accommodation to be confirmed depending on availability) and enjoy a visit of the town museum, which is housed inside a series of conjoined trulli.
Highlights here include the villages of Cisternino and Locorotondo in beautiful Itria Valley, named one of “the most beautiful villages in Italy” (i borghi più belli d’Italia, a designation established in 2001 with the aim of preserving and maintaining villages of quality heritage), which shares Ostuni’s luminous whitewashed, perched position. The name of Locorotondo means “round place” in reference to its circular historic center.
We also stop along the coast at Polignano a Mare to enjoy a private boat ride, exploring the rugged coastline and its grottoes from the pristine blue sea. Then we celebrate over dinner in Alberobello the end of our journey through this charming region in south of Italy.
After breakfast catch our 1-hour group transfer to Bari airport. If you have more time consider to extend your stay in the area. Buon viaggio (“Safe travels” in Italian) and see you soon!
- 6 nights of accommodation in 4-star hotels or masserie and agriturismi
- 6 breakfasts and 2 lunches
- 5 dinners with either a 3- or 4-course menu
- Exploration of Lecce, Alberobello, Otranto, Ostuni, Mesagne, Locorotondo, Polignano a Mare and other quaint Pugliesi villages
- 1 visit and tasting to an olive oil producer
- Exhilarating rides in Salento area, Itria Valley, and Murge Plateau
- 1 cooking demo and 1 private boat ride
- 1 wine tasting and visit to local winemaker
- 1 visit and tasting with a cheese maker
- Specialized Sirrus aluminum hybrid or carbon Bianchi Intenso road bike + Garmin Touring Edge or 820 unit (if you have one, bring yours and we’ll upload the routes onto your unit)
- Comfortable transportation and assistance by 9-seat van for all travel on tour as cited in the itinerary
- Refreshments, snacks, fruits and other local delicacies during our rides
- 2 bilingual, professional Tour Leaders
- First group transfer from Brindisi and last group transfer to Bari airport
- Local taxes and gratuities for luggage porters and restaurant servers during tour
- 4 lunches and 1 dinner on your own
- Alcoholic beverages at group dinners (including wine and spirits)
- Round-trip airfare and expenses to/from the tour
- Trip cancellation, baggage loss or travel delay insurance (this optional coverage is highly recommended and is not provided by Food.Stories.Travel.)
- Gratuities for your Tour Leader
Cristiano Bonino has led tours for North Americans all over Italy for more than thirteen years. Currently, he resides in the Boston area with his American wife. Cristiano likes to say that he has been “hybridizing” over the past three years in the U.S. He mixes the best of the both American and Italian cultures, which he loves, but never forgets his native roots in Turin.
Davide Marchegiano has designed and led tours all over Italy and Europe for the last sixteen years; he loves to teach Italian using games and songs, as well as to bring guests to meet his many friends across his country. Davide was born in Ivrea, in Piedmont and he loves hiking and everything with pedals and wheels: he’s been riding and racing bikes for 30 years.
Andrea Marchesini Who is Andrea Marchesini? A professional drummer? A bicycle mechanic? A Slow Food aficionado? A farmer? A tour guide? All! With family from both South Tyrol and Liguria, he is a mix of two very cultures, German and Northern Italian. He is trilingual, fluent in German, Italian and also English, after years as a musician in New York City. Andrea is in love with his home region of Liguria and dedicated to helping you discover its wonders for yourself. He has led more than 100 tours in the past 15 years all over Italy, and is particularly knowledgeable about the neighboring region of Piedmont that we’ll visit together.
Your itinerary has been meticulously hand-designed by Food.Stories.Travel and his team. We created your adventure around some of our favorite flavors and unforgettable past experiences. Every establishment you visit has been personally vetted, tested and enjoyed.