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Puglia and Matera Cycling Tour

October 10 - 17, 2019

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

Bordered on two sides by the Ionian and Adriatic seas, Puglia 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.

Rolling through this farmland rich in Greek, Norman and Arab influences feels like a mystical odyssey through time. Start from Savelletri as fig trees, blooming cacti, and herb gardens fill your path with delightful fragrances. 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, bruschetta covered with juicy tomatoes, roasted red peppers and grilled calamari satisfy our palates. Warm hospitality and friendly conversation greet us at every turn.

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.

The program has a spectacular ending in Matera (City of Stones), in the region of Basilicata. 

Not sure if you can do it? Contact us to schedule a call about how demanding the rides are. E-bikes and E-wheels available.

Highlights

  • Two-night stay and a walking tour of Matera where they filmed the remake of the colossal Ben Hur movie with Morgan Freeman and the Passion of Christ
  • Captivating clusters of conical trulli structures
  • Discover the white-washed 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
  • Mozzarella demonstration by a master cheesemaker
  • Guided visit of Egnazia ruins
  • Award-winning Sextantio Hotel 
Dates:

October 10 - October 17, 2019

Prices:

USD 4,195

Private room (single supplement) USD 600

Duration:

8 days (7 nights)

Level:

Active

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The tour was fabulous and we haven’t stopped talking about it. 

Frederique McCarthy Puglia and Matera Plus tour

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Day by Day

[fa icon="plus"] Day 1

Egnazia - 17 mls - Flat

Your guide will meet you at the Bari airport at 12 pm for a transfer to the first hotel (approximately 1 hr). We will gather at the hotel for introductions, bike fitting and a short ride. On this first ride, we pass through ancient olive groves and pedal down to the coast to the Greek ruins of Egnazia, the ancient Messapian town of prehistoric origins. We will enjoy our first dinner together at the hotel restaurant.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 2

Selva di Fasano - Ostuni - 37 mls - Rolling

We will ride to 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. On the way back, we ride by centuries-old olive trees that are like amazing natural sculptures. We'll have a close look at those monumental trees during a visit planned at an olive oil producer. Pass by dry stone walls and more olive groves, and pedal along the coast before going back inland to Selva di Fasano. Dinner is a seafood lover’s delight right by the water.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 3

Alberobello - 28 mls - Rolling

Today's ride makes a stop at the famous grottoes of Castellana (it's a great underground tour but it's not recommended if you are claustrophobic).  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 (conical-shaped houses) can be found. This is a must-see, one of the most emblematic sights in Puglia. A walk through the town is followed by a dinner that will feature the typical, flavorful dishes of the region.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 4

Alberobello - Valle d'Itria -  25 mls - Rolling

Today we ride through a fantasy land of trulli via tiny roads that roll through Valle d’Itria (Itria valley)  to arrive in Locorotondo, where we will have a picnic lunch. We will then continue our ride onto Martina Franca where we’ll get to enjoy some of the best examples of Italian Baroque architecture. Back in Alberobello, you’ll have free time to continue exploring this magical city on your own. Dinner is on your own.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 5

San Basilio - 35 mls - Rolling

Today we say goodbye to Alberobello and pedal to our lunch spot in Mottola, a charming Pugliese town. 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.” In the evening we’ll enjoy an interesting, hands-on mozzarella making demo and an exquisite dinner at the hotel, a restored Ducal villa built in honor of Isabella de’ Medici.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 6

Matera  - 33 mls - Rolling

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 climb to Matera, the city of caves and one of the most extraordinary spots on Earth. 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, and in the afternoon we will discover even more of Matera’s secrets on a guided visit. This evening we will have a pizza dinner and you can choose between regular dough or toasted grain (grano arso) dough - an ancient recipe. Our hotel is a unique site that you will not forget.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 7
Matera - Bradano river Valley - 14 mls - Rolling
 

Today’s ride takes us to the countryside in the fertile Metaponto Valley where we’ll stop at a beautiful organic farm where our host Cinzia will proudly serve vegetables grown on their land. In the afternoon, you can opt to climb back or to take advantage of our van for the ride back to Matera. You will have some spare time for shopping before dinner at I Baccanti with typical Lucanian delicacies (Lucania was the ancient name of Basilicata).

[fa icon="plus"] Day 8
After breakfast, unless you are extending your stay, we’ll provide a transfer to the Bari airport. 

 

What's Included

Bianchi Intenso Ultegra-105

Bianchi Via Nirone SBianchi Via Nirone S

• All accommodations 

• All breakfasts, three lunches, and six dinners


• Two experienced guides to provide local knowledge, support,
and camaraderie.


• Tastings of olive oil, mozzarella, and local specialties



• Guided tour of Matera and Alberobello

• Snacks and drinks for each day’s ride

• Logistical support during the tour and luggage transfer


• Commemorative cycling jersey

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


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

• Bianchi bike rental with Garmin GPS

 

• Airfare
• Pre-tour hotel stays and post-tour hotel stays
• Personal expenses such as laundry and cell phone
• Guide gratuity
• Optional tour extension

Hotels

grotta sextantio webpage

SEXTANTIO GROTTE DELLA CIVITA

Tenuta_Monacelle-1

TENUTA MONACELLE

casata-dimora-staorica-hotel-4-stelle-mottola-taranto-puglia-8

CASA ISABELLA

More Info

Food and Wine

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.

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