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 Gioia del Colle - 35 km
In the morning, take the time to visit the historical center of Matera, as today's stage is short. The landscape of the Murgia area is characterized by rolling hills with cereal crops or pastures. The destination of the day is Gioia del Colle, known for its mozzarella and burrata. It is time to taste it before visiting its 12th century castle.
In the afternoon, a wine tasting is planned at the producers or a tasting of local products of our friend Cosimo, in the center of the city!
Day 3: from Gioia del Colle to Locorotondo - 35 km
Leaving Gioia del Colle, you enter the Itria Valley, characterized by the unique architecture of the trulli, those stone buildings with conical roofs.
The first stop is in Noci, where - through the narrow streets of the historic center - you can bask in the sunshine reflected on its whitewashed roofs. In the town square, which is always very lively, you can buy almonds and dried figs, which you can taste during the trip.
Drive through the famous town of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, thanks to its 1,500 trulli. In the afternoon, you arrive in Locorotondo, named one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy" for its architecture and its famous white and slightly sparkling wine. Walking through the picturesque old town, you can admire the architecture of the "cummerse": the rectangular buildings with sloping roofs made of chiancarelle.
Day 4: The surroundings of Locorotondo - 35 km
This day is dedicated to the discovery of the Itria Valley. The first stop is Martina Franca. Less touristy than Alberobello, it has retained its somewhat decadent charm, with its baroque palaces consumed by time in a maze of alleys that lead to the main square, where the Palazzo Ducale is located. Martina is famous for its capocollo.
After leaving Martina Franca, you drive through a slightly hilly countryside, towards the botanical conservatory "Pomona". It is a real sanctuary of biodiversity with hundreds of fruit trees from all over the Mediterranean (including an extraordinary collection of over 400 varieties of figs!)
The next stop is Cisternino, where you can stop for a coffee before getting lost in its fascinating historical center. Passing through vineyards dotted with trulli, you return to Locorotondo.
Day 5: Locorotondo to Manduria - 70 km
The longest stage of the trip will take you to Manduria, crossing the border between the Itria Valley and Salento. You will notice the change of landscape around you during the day.
Passing through Martina Franca, you will cycle along a short section of the "Ciclovia dell'Acquedotto", an itinerary along the Apulian aqueduct. Continue to Ceglie Messapica, a town known for its bread, which you can taste in one of the oldest bakeries in town, located in the old town.
In Francavilla Fontana you can visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Rosario and the Palazzo dell'Argentina. Next stop: Oria, the "city of witches", home to one of the most important Jewish neighborhoods in the area. Arrival in Manduria in the afternoon.
Day 6: The surroundings of Manduria - 45 km
The journey around Manduria leads you to the sea. You will find some of the most beautiful beaches in Puglia and a nature reserve "la Salina dei Monaci" where you can easily observe pink flamingos.
Pedaling along the coast towards the north, you will reach San Pietro in Bevagna, where a beach of crystalline sand - totally deserted in spring and autumn - allows you to sunbathe and perhaps swim in the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea. Back in Manduria, you can visit an ancient archaeological site of the Messapic Age and the Primitivo wine museum. Enjoy a wine tasting of the local wines.
Day 7: Manduria to Lecce - 52 km
On this last day, head to the "Florence of the South": the city of Lecce.
On the way, you will pass through the fascinating ghost town of Monteruga, founded in the 1920s and completely abandoned in the 1980s. This is the region of "Salice Salentino", whose vineyards produce a DOCG wine that is famous all over the world. You pass through small villages where, throughout the year, the squares are full of old residents, hats pulled down against the sun, discussing politics and agriculture. Here, it seems that time has stopped.
Later in the afternoon, you will reach your destination, where a farewell dinner awaits!