Southern Italy by bike, from Matera to Lecce
Go on a cultural and gastronomic bike trip through Puglia and let yourself be charmed by its picturesque beauty. Large olive groves, grain fields and vineyards are part of this sunny route.
You are on the heel of the Italian boot, between the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea, starting from Matera. This Italian region invites you to admire beautiful whitewashed villas in the hills and to cross picturesque places where time seems to stand still.
Your cycling vacation in Puglia ends in Lecce, known as the "Florence of the South" in the Salento region.
Highlights of the trip :
- Alberobello and Martina Franca
- The Itria Valley
- The vineyards
Day 1: Arrival in Matera
You will be welcomed in Matera for a briefing about the bike trip in Puglia. You will have the opportunity to get to know the guide.
Welcome dinner and overnight in Matera.
Day 2: Matera to Putignano/Castellana (60 km)
Today's ride takes you to Putignano.
After riding through the countryside around Matera, you arrive at Gioia del Colle. The town is famous for its Fior di latte mozzarella (made only with cow's milk) and for its burrata. After a break, get on your bike to reach Putignano. This town has become famous for its picturesque carnival.
Once there, we recommend a walk through its beautiful historic center, once protected by powerful walls with three doors: Porta Barsento (towards Alberobello), Porta Nuova (towards Castellana) and Porta Grande (towards Noci - Goia del Colle).
Day 3: Around Putignano: Conversano, Castellana and Polignano a mare (64 km)
- short hike option (45 km)
- longer hike option, including Monopoli (82 km).
Today's stage takes you to some of the towns south-east of Bari, such as Polignano a Mare. Here you can taste the typical octopus sandwich and enjoy a good swim. Conversano is known for the production of cherries. In spring you can see the cherry trees in bloom, and in early summer you can taste the cherries. If you go in autumn, it is the fig trees that you will find. You finish at Castellana Grotte, where you can visit amazing caves, a complex of underground cavities of karstic origin.
Day 4: From Putignano to Alberobello / Locorotondo (35 km/45 Km)
The route takes you to the area known as Valle D'Itria.
The first stop is Noci, which is probably the least known and least touristy of the towns in the Itria Valley, but worth a visit and a coffee break. Small hills lead you to Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 thanks to its 1,500 "Trulli" (typical houses with conical roofs).
Day 5: Around Alberobello/ Locorotondo (45km/32 km)
This day invites you to discover the Itria Valley by bike. You leave Alberobello to reach Martina Franca. Less touristic than Alberobello, it has kept a unique charm. The old town is surrounded by stone walls with baroque doors, leading to the main square. You can admire and visit the Ducal Palace and taste the famous capocollo of Martina Franca, a Slow Food Presidium.
You will leave Martina Franca and drive through the slightly hilly countryside towards the botanical conservatory "Pomona". It is a true sanctuary of biodiversity with hundreds of fruit trees from all over the Mediterranean (including an amazing collection of over 400 varieties of figs).
The next stop is Locorotondo, which has been designated as one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy". It is famous for its architecture and its wine, white and slightly sparkling. Strolling through the picturesque old town, you can admire the architecture of the "cummerse": rectangular buildings with sloping roofs made of chiancarelle. Leaving Locorotondo through vineyards dotted with trulli, you will finish the stage in Alberobello.
Day 6: From Alberobello / Locorotondo to Manduria (70/60 km)
The longest stretch of the trip takes you to Manduria, crossing the border between the Valle d'Itria and Salento. You will notice the change of landscape that surrounds you during your journey. Passing through Martina Franca, you will cycle along a short stretch of the Aqueduct Cycleway, a path that runs along the Apulian aqueduct (which brings water from Campania to Salento).
You will continue your bike tour to Ceglie Messapica, known for its bread, which you can taste in one of the oldest bakeries of the city, located in the old town. In Francavilla Fontana you can visit the Basilica Minore of the Holy Rosary and the Palazzo Argentina. Then stop in Oria, the "city of witches" and Erchie. You will spend the night in a farmhouse or in a B&B in the Avetrana countryside.
Day 7: Manduria to Lecce (60 km)
On this last day, you will reach the "Florence of the South": the city of Lecce. On the way, you will pass through the fascinating ghost town of Monteruga, built in the 1920s and completely abandoned in the 1980s. This is the region of "Salice Salentino", whose vineyards produce a DOCG wine that is very popular throughout the world.
You will pass through some typical small villages where, all year round, you will find the squares filled with elderly residents, hats pulled down against the sun, discussing politics and agriculture. Here, time seems to stand still. Later in the afternoon, you will reach your final destination, the city of Lecce.
Day 8: Departure from Lecce
Your cycling trip in Italy ends after breakfast.