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 to 70 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 and Grotte de Castellana (61 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 / Martina Franca (35km / 41km / 45km)
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 to Manduria (70 km/60 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 leave Martina Franca to drive through gently rolling countryside on a short section of the aqueduct cycleway, towards the "Pomona" botanical conservatory. This is a veritable sanctuary of biodiversity, with hundreds of fruit trees from all over the Mediterranean (including an astonishing collection of over 400 varieties of fig).
You then head for Ceglie Messapica, a town famous for its bread, which you can sample in one of the old bakeries in the town center.
In Francavilla Montana, you'll visit the Basilica Minore of the Most Holy Rosary, or Matrix Cathedral, and the Palazzo Argentina.
Next stop is Oria, the town of witches! You then cross Erchie before ending your stopover on a farm in the Avetrana countryside.
Day 6: Around Manduria (45 km)
The longest section of the journey takes you to Manduria, crossing the border between Valle d'Itria and Salento. You'll notice the change of scenery around you as you travel along the seafront, with the dunes of Torre Colimena. You'll have the chance to visit the Salina dei Monaci and watch the birds.
You reach San Pietro in Bevagna and the crystal-clear Sandy beach. After a dip in the Ionian Sea, drive to Manduria, the ancient archaeological site of Messapica and the primitive museum.
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.