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June 3rd - June 9th, 2017

September 24th - September 30th, 2017

October 8th - October 14th, 2017

From the stones of Matera to the Adriatic Sea, enjoy the most beautiful riding destination in Southern Italy!

Tour designers: Beppe Salerno                                                                                      

Our Magnifica Tour line-up would not be complete without Puglia. And Matera (though in the bordering region of Basilicata) is luckily within riding distance. We could not leave Matera out, and we didn't. Puglia is bordered on two sides by the Ionian and Adriatic seas, and is a long sliver of land that stretches along the heel of Italy. In between you'll find some of the best riding in all of Italy, along peaceful backroads.

The program has a very dramatic start in Matera (City of Stones). There is nothing like it in Europe. 

Rolling through this farmland rich in Greek, Norman and Arab influences feels like a mystical odyssey through time. We ride through one of the gems of Puglia: the Valle D’Itria. In Alberobello, the trulli region, spin by clusters of fantastic conical dwellings surrounded by enormous, gnarled olive trees. Spicy handmade orecchiette tossed with fresh vegetables, bruschetta covered with juicy tomatoes, roasted red peppers and grilled calamari satisfy our palates. Warm hospitality greet us along the way.

On the second to last day, we cross over the Selva di Fasano highplane and descent to Savelletri, on the Adriatic, as fig trees, blooming cacti, and herb gardens fill our path with delightful fragrances. Our two-night stay at spectacular Masseria San Domenico is the gran finale to your bike journey through Puglia. 

While many regions of Italy boast of having “the best food,” Puglia could humbly claim this title due to using simple preparations that allow the true flavors of the food to stand out. Slow Food has over 300 chapters here (called Presidi) to protect biodiversity and traditional production.

 

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Find Out More
[fa icon="plus"] Highlights
  • Two night stay and a walking tour of Matera where they have just filmed the remake of the colossal Ben Hur movie with Morgan Freeman
  • Captivating clusters of conical trulli structures
  • Discover the whitewashed town of Ostuni and the beaches near the fishing village of Savelletri
  • Spectacular fields of ancient olive trees
  • Savory cuisine: grilled vegetables, handmade pasta and fresh seafood!
  • Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Alberobello & Matera
  • Beautiful countryside riding among the orchards and trulli of Valle d’Itria
  • Premier hotels some of which with spa, swimming pool, and private beach access 
[fa icon="plus"] Tourissimo Experience
  • Guided Walking Tour of Matera, the “City of Stones”
  • Guided Walking Tour of Alberobello with its conical shaped houses
  • Wine tastings and visit to a Valle d’Itria producer
  • Get acquainted with earthy reds that are among the best wines of southern Italy, such as Salice Salentino and Aglianico del Vulture
  • Hands-on cooking in the beautiful setting of a masseria followed by a typical Pugliese dinner
  • Meet a local olive oil expert and learn what it takes to be a Slow Food-awarded producer
  • An unforgettable folkloristic night 
  • Learn about the Mediterranean Diet, which is on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
  • Unique experience to stay in trulli and cave hotel rooms (alternative accommodation upon request)
[fa icon="plus"] Day by Day

icona_squareDay 1

Where: Matera
Terrain:
Ride: 
None
Meals: L, D

Your guide will meet you at the Bari airport at 12pm for a transfer to the first hotel (approximately 1 hr 15 minutes). We will gather at unique hotel Sextantio for introductions, some lunch, and bike prep. UNESCO lists Matera as one of its Official World Heritage sites for its Sassi cave dwellings. In the rock churches, the mystic past is palpable, especially in the crypts of San Nicola and Santa Maria d'Idris, and today you will discover even more of Matera’s secrets on a guided visit. You will have some spare time for shopping before dinner at I Baccanti with typical Lucanian delicacies (Lucania was the ancient name of Basilicata).

Hotel: Sextantio Le Grotte della Civiltà (alternative La Locanda di San Martino)

icona_squareDay 2

Where: Matera
Terrain: Rolling
Ride: 
28 mi or 45 km (longer option available)
Meals: B, L, D

Today’s ride takes us to the countryside in the fertile Metaponto Valley. We reach San Giuliano lake, which is a WWF natural reserve, and have our first stop there. The lake was formed by a dam over the Bradano river, and it was meant for irrigation. The project was part of a larger plan to reclaim land in the Metaponto valley and it was financed through the Marshall plan for European recovery after WWII. In Basilicata, agriculture employs more people than factories (unique case in modern Italy). At lunch, we will have some local organic products at a farmhouse. In the afternoon, you can opt to climb back or to take advantage of our van for the ride back to Matera. This evening we will have a wine tasting at 19ma Buca, a unique wine bar housed in one of Matera’s Caves just under the main square. 

Hotel: Sextantio Le Grotte della Civiltà (alternative La Locanda di San Martino)

Apple_Touch_IconDay 3

Where: Martina Franca
Terrain: Rolling
Ride:
51 mi or 81 km (shorter option available)
Meals: B, L, D

Today we say goodbye to Matera and pedal South-East. We spin along the Murgia plain through a bucolic terrain of rolling fields of grano duro (the wheat used for pasta) and shady oak groves. We enter Puglia, and soon after we stop for lunch in Mottola, a charming Pugliese town, where we’ll have a picnic of fresh local products such as mozzarella and burrata. Mottola is located on a hill above the sea and has a view of the Gulf of Taranto and the green mountains of the high Sila; for this reason the town is also called “the Balcony of Southern Apulia.” Near Martina Franca, we find our way to Villa San Martino, which is a beautiful villa converted into a charming 5 star hotel. You will have the chance to join the locals for a stroll in Martina Franca, which palaces boast a gorgeous example of Baroque architecture. Dinner is in the quaint hotel dining room and will be paired with fine Pugliese wines. 

HotelVilla San Martino 

Apple_Touch_IconDay 4

Where: Selva di Fasano
Terrain: Hilly
Ride:
35 mi or 56 km (shorter and longer options available)
Meals: B, L, D

Today we ride through a fantasy land of conical-shaped houses called trulliWe will have a first stop in Cisternino where we will enjoy a cappuccino overlooking the valley. Valle d’Itria is a fertile, triangle shaped valley between Cisternino, Locorotondo, and Martina Franca. It's a true gem. Via tiny roads, roll through Valle d’Itria to arrive in Locorotondo, where we will have a wine tasting (Locorotondo is also the name of well know white wine). We will then continue on to Alberobello, which takes its name from the forests that once covered the area. Nowadays, this is where more than 1,000 trulli can be found (UNESCO World Heritage Site). This is a must-see, one of the most emblematic sights of Puglia. You will get to appreciate its historical side thanks to a guided walking tour. Lunch is in Alberobello. In the afternoon we visit the award-winning Frantoio Intini, an olive oil press which has embraced the Slow Food movement under the multi-generational management of Pietro Intini. From Alberobello, you will be shuttled to the hotel, unless you don't want to call it the day yet, and prefer to ride the additional 13 miles with 800ft of elevation to conquer. Dinner is at the hotel and it will be followed by a folk music and dance event. Have your cameras ready!

HotelTenuta Monacelle 

Apple_Touch_IconDay 5

Where: Savelletri
Terrain: Rolling
Ride:
38 mi or 61 km (shorter and longer options available)
Meals: B, L, D

We will ride through Ostuni, an area that has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Bike to one of the loveliest towns along the Mediterranean where white houses, piled like sugar cubes against an azure sky, remind you of the Greek Islands. The brightness of its whitewashed houses, set against a sea of stately olive trees, provides a spectacular perspective of this rich seaside farmland. We ride along centuries-old olive trees that are like amazing natural sculptures. Lunch is a seafood lover’s delight right by the water. The hotel is just a few hundred meters from our lunch spot, and you will be back for a free afternoon when you can take advantage of the swimming pool and the spa facility, or head to the private beach. Masseria San Domenico is one of the finest hotels of all of Italy. Its 5Luxury-star standards do not affect the authenticity of its historical location, a fortified farm house with watch tower once used by the Knights of Malta. For dinner we will have a fun and instructive cooking class of typical Pugliese dishes at a nearby masseria (dialect for fortified farm house). 

Hotel: Masseria San Domenico (alternative Borgo Egnazia)

Apple_Touch_IconDay 6

Where: Savelletri
Terrain: Flat
Ride: 
30 mi or 48 km (longer option available)
Meals: B, L, D

On this last ride we pass through ancient olive groves and pedal along the coast to the Greek ruins of Egnazia, the ancient Messapian town of prehistoric origins. Today, you have the option to make it back to hotel for some leisure time along pool side, to enjoy a Spa and Thalassotherapy treatment, or to play a round of golf at San Domenico mediterannean golf course rated among the best in Italy (PGA European Challenge Tour Grand Final). The course is right by the crystalline Adriatic Sea. Of course, you can opt to pedal some more with your guides and to take in as much riding as you wish on a final loop. We will have our last dinner together at the fine hotel restaurant housed in a suggestive dining room with arched volts dating back to the 1700′s.

Hotel: Masseria San Domenico (alternative Borgo Egnazia)

Apple_Touch_IconDay 7

Where: Bari
Terrain: Departure
Ride: 
None
Meals: B

Goodbye! After breakfast, we will arrange a transfer that will take you to the Bari Airport in time for your connecting flights.

[fa icon="plus"] Other Info and Cost

Apple_Touch_IconHow to Get There

Airport/s - Bari Airport (BRI)

Other transportation -  Private transfer by Tourissimo from the airport to the first Hotel. Upon request, guests can be picked-up elsewhere (additional cost).

 

Apple_Touch_IconHow to Depart

Airport/s - Bari Airport (BRI)

Other transportation -  Private transfer by Tourissimo from last hotel to the airport.

 

Apple_Touch_IconTour Level

Recreational/Active/Athletic - Active: 20 to 50 mi a day along rolling terrain. Feel free to use the van for part of the day or on longer climbs.

 

Apple_Touch_IconClimate Data 

In June, temperatures average 17C (62F) low / 26C (78F) max - precipitation probability 4%

In September, temperatures average 14C (57F) low / 25C (77F) max - precipitation probability 5%

In October, temperatures average 14C (57F) low / 23C (73F) max - precipitation probability 13%

 

Apple_Touch_IconTour Program Cost (All-inclusive)

Tour price per person in double room is USD 4,695

Private room surcharge is USD 650

Please contact our office if:

- The tour you are interested in is scheduled to start within 90 days

- You would like to make this tour private 

- You would like to choose your own dates

 

Apple_Touch_IconAll-inclusive Program 

• Bikes equipped with Garmin GPS (choice Bianchi road carbon or hybrid; Ebike for an extra charge)

• Two professional tour guides throughout the program

• All accommodations 

• All breakfasts, all lunches and all dinners

• Wine and beer with meals, coffee, cappuccino, and gelato stops

• Support vehicle during the tour and luggage transfer

• Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of the tour

• All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description

 

Info about food and wine, and Slow Food products

Puglia is predominantly an agricultural region, producing around 40% of Italy's olive oil and a large proportion of its wine (more than any other region in Italy). This essentially agricultural nature influences the region's cuisine. Home cooks and restaurant chefs predominantly use the abundant local produce, such as durum wheat, tomatoes, artichokes, fava beans, fennel, peppers, onions, beef and lamb. In terms of pasta, Puglians pride themselves on their orecchiette, little ear-shaped shells that are still produced by hand on a daily basis by many ladies right in front on their doorsteps. It is usually served with tasty sauces such as meat ragu, broccoli and anchovies, mushrooms or turnip tops. The best pasta is made rigorously from durum wheat flour of the Senatore Cappelli wheat cultivar, one of the local products that Slow Food took under its wing. Puglia's rocky interior is ideal for sheep farming and, in terms of meat, lamb reigns supreme, a trait that Puglia shares with its neighboring region, Basilicata. Feast days are characterized by the fragrance of roasting lamb wafting through the streets and most restaurant menus will feature at least a couple of lamb dishes. Puglia's long coastline and fishing tradition bring large quantities of seafood to the table. Red mullet, octopus, anchovies, gilt-head bream, mussels, sea bass and cuttlefish are featured in many recipes at  seafront restaurants. Puglia and Basilicata's comforting country cuisine is a pure expression of popular traditions and the natural bounty of the land. The most widely grown grape variety is Negroamaro (literally black-bitter). Almost exclusively cultivated in Puglia, Negroamaro is used to produce some of the region’s best wines, including Salice Salentino. The title of most famous grape, however, goes to Primitivo, whose wines are generally high in alcohol content and full in body. The hills around Matera give birth to one of the best reds of the South of Italy: the Aglianico del Vulture. The volcanic soil and the aglianico grape tannins make it perfect for aging. White wines count for less than 20% of the overall production but are gradually growing in importance. Local grapes such as Bombino Bianco, Bianco d’Alessano and Verdeca rub shoulders with international varieties including Chardonnay and Sauvignon to produce some excellent results.

[fa icon="plus"] Hotel Highlights
Masseria San Domenico,  Savelletri (Puglia)

 

Sextantio Le Grotte della Civiltà, Matera (Basilicata)

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